Matthew turns tropical cruise into a trip north
Storm forces vacationers to swap Caribbean sun for New York and Baltimore
Annette McKenny Neufeld dreamed for months about a tropical beach vacation on a sunny, sandy beach hundreds of miles from the brisk autumn in her Canadian home.
But soon after she and her husband and their 12-year-old son departed from Baltimore, Hurricane Matthew chased them north.
Their dreams of Caribbean paradise became a New York detour.
“To me this hasn’t been a cruise,” she told the Associated Press in a Facebook message Thursday, still hundreds of miles from Baltimore’s harbor.
“Now all we want is to get off and head home.”
Neufeld is one of 1,600 passengers who bought tickets for a seven-day trip to Grand Turk island in Turks and Caicos, and to Half Moon Cay and Freeport in the Bahamas, aboard the Carnival Pride ship. But the ship was rerouted at the last minute.
Vance Gulliksen, a spokesman for Carnival, said the ship was to make a stop in Saint John, New Brunswick, but was forced to enter the Chesapeake Bay ahead of heavy weather. The ship will arrive back in Baltimore on Sunday.
Gulliksen said guests were offered the option of canceling their reservation and receiving a full refund.
Those who chose to set sail will receive $250 shipboard credit and a half-off voucher for a future cruise.
Neufeld said she and her family didn’t know of the route change until they arrived in Baltimore and printed their tickets. She considered canceling the trip altogether, but after her son cried for hours, inconsolable at the thought of staying ashore, she and her husband took a gamble. But on Tuesday, after a day in New York, they were informed that there would be no second port visit.
Neufeld said people stood in line for hours after the announcement to file complaints. “I know we’re not the only people disappointed,” she said.
Now headed back to Baltimore, she said some passengers are still angry, while others took the news in stride.
Among those with a more philosophical attitude was frequent cruise passenger Debbie Grau of Scottsboro, Ala., who told the Associated Press in a Facebook message that she has been impressed by Carnival’s handling of the problem.
“We have had nothing but a great time and Carnival has been amazing,” she said. She and her husband did have to buy some gym shoes and sweats in brisk New York, however, in anticipation of the Canadian leg that was canceled.
“We’re making lemons,” she said.
“And happy to be aboard.” ‘lemon drops’ out of