Matthew turns trop­i­cal cruise into a trip north

Storm forces va­ca­tion­ers to swap Caribbean sun for New York and Bal­ti­more

Baltimore Sun - - HURRICANE MATTHEW - By Juliet Lin­der­man and Alina Har­tou­nian

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

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