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The moment we get on board a cruise ship, just like everywhere else, we are counting on everything going as planned. And, just as things can change suddenly on land, when it comes to a literal floating hotel, moving you from one city to another, one country to another, or sometimes even a continent to another, you can imagine that changes in plans or even itineraries are a real possibility.
While it’s not ideal, and cruise lines certainly do not benefit from changes in itineraries, as they would normally represent a huge cost, but sometimes there is no alternative. Here’s a few reasons why the Captain of your cruise ship may decide to alter the planned schedule of your cruise.
No one, not even Cruise Lines or the most experienced captains, can fully predict how the weather will be in one particular area at a specific time. And even though cruise ships are designed to withstand the most aggressive weather conditions, it may not be safe for the docking process (MUCH less if it’s a tender port) aside from the fact that there’s very little reason to bring you to a port where heavy rain and high winds won’t allow you to enjoy it. Furthermore, one of the main sources of revenue of the cruise lines are the Shore Excursions they sell, and under such conditions, most of them would not run. Of course, safety is always the main reason so, from time to time, it will be necessary to move to a different area or even country. And you better believe me this is no easy task for the company, as they will have to find an available AND suitable port and arrange excursions for that area through local tour operators, always keeping in mind a million other factors like clearance or even cabotage laws before making a final decision.
Technical / Mechanical
Even though cruise ships appear to be fancy, futuristic buildings, the fact remains that they are a machine, and as such, mechanical issues are a reality, much like with any motorized vehicle. In addition to mechanical or technical (say software or radar) malfunctions, there’s also the risk of issues like running aground, which you may have heard of occasionally. Also remember cruise ships are basically large electric generators (that power everything including the propellers) and if one of them go down it could impact how fast the ship can travel and so much more. Mechanical issues are an even harder issue to deal with than weather, as it’s a lot more sudden, so if you feel the urge to scream at your local crew members, think first that they are quite literally on the same boat as you, and equally powerless to do much about it. So my suggestion is just roll with it and look forward to how the cruise line will make it up to you.
No one is safe from suffering an injury or a medical condition that brings their cruise to a halt, and while the cruise ships have a fairly complete Medical Center on board, there will be times when a medical evacuation will be necessary, and choppers aren’t always readily available to come to the rescue, so from time to time cruise ships have to deviate from their scheduled route and make an emergency stop elsewhere. This may or may not result in a change in the itinerary (i.e. miss a port) and, while unfortunate, please oh please keep in mind it could be you or one of your loved ones, before you start complaining about it. After all, you can be certain the company would not do it if there was an alternative.
Sometimes the reason for deviating from the original itinerary may not even come from within, but due to maritime law, should a ship send a distress signal, ALL ships nearby, which in reality can mean hundreds or thousands of miles, must come to the rescue, regardless of how much people were looking forward to their next port. The good news is these cases are rare, and in most cases it will at most mean missing one single port, but for many people that won’t be less of a reason to whine about it. Once again, consider that it could have been you on that distressed ship, before racing to the Guest Service Desk.
So now you have some idea of why your perfectly planned cruise itinerary may in fact change and why it is simply a fact of life at sea we all have to adjust to! – ThatGuy (onboard)
Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FrequentFloaters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities
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