Back in November, Rob and I were bouncing ideas around about what to do with our 2 weeks off at Christmas. A trip to Texas or Baton Rouge to see family? A trip to the beach or the mountains? A cruise?
Me: “a cruise? yes please!” After some research we found the one we wanted to book. We bounced the idea around with our family and we read about the fact we’d have to sometimes wear masks inside. Ok, yeah. We can handle that. Our rule of thumb is if we can get a cruise for less than $100/day per person that’s a good deal! We were getting a VIFP rate of $83/day/person! How can you turn that down?!?!? We booked it and all of started figuring out what clothes we didn’t have, what we wanted to do on each port of call. So much thinking and planning and preparing. We were going out of Port Canaveral on the Carnival Magic stopping at St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk.
Just a couple of days after booking we heard about the variant Omicron, which caused us to have some concern that things could change with our plans.
Read full article here.
We met as a family in early December to discuss logistics of the trip. We planned to leave Christmas Day evening around 8pm and get to a hotel in Ocala in the middle of the night. That would give us about a 2 hour drive the next day in order to get there for our check in time which we ended up choosing 11:30am. We had plans to rent a car in St. Maarten and probably St. Thomas and site see on our own. We wanted to walk the city of Old San Juan and plans were still in the air for Grand Turk. Rob encouraged us to research and have a list of things we wanted to see at each port as we may not have cell service at all these locations.
On Dec. 17th we got this email, which brought pause. Added measures put in place because of Omicron. See highlights for what alarmed us.
We were quite discouraged, because we have been avoiding vacations where we are forced to wear masks or be in situations worse than what its like a home. Why pay money to be miserable?!?! However, with our travel insurance we would only get 75% of our money back if we decided to cancel.
The day before Christmas eve we were all full fledged busy, wrapping gifts, cooking and preparing food for Christmas eve, packing, shopping, printing stuff for the cruise, etc. That night Rob and I were at the mall as one of the packages I had expected had not arrived which left me in a big bind for Drew’s girlfriend, Caitlyn’s gifts. So we headed to the mall to see if we could find anything for her. On the way home, I got this email. (Remember this is just 2 days before we were supposed to head down to Florida.) See highlighted areas for key points.
I had to forward the email to Rob because for some reason, he had not received it. He saw that last paragraph and was like “we can get a full refund.” and I said “Yeah, I know. That’s why I forwarded it to you so quickly.” We started anazlying the email more and with more and more talk we started leaning towards canceling. It was already after 10:30pm, but Drew and Caitlyn were both texting me about our COVID test we had to do the next morning. I told Rob we should call them and discuss this with them. Rob’s step-dad was already in bed, so we didn’t include him in the conversation. Alex came downstairs and we got on a speaker call so we could all hear and talk. The kids understood why we were wanting to cancel.
-100% refund (only money lost was our travel insurance $500)
-having to wear a mask at all times inside
-possibly not going to all ports with NO chance of port refunds or refund of non-Carnival activities booked, which we were doing with the rental cars)
-being at the mercy of the cruise administrators who is going to do everything they can to make sure they do what is right for these ports, which in turn could really screw us over!
-possibility that onboard activities get cancelled
-we end up getting quarantined to our rooms for whatever reason
Rob called on Christmas Eve and cancelled and our refund has been issued. He cancelled the hotel and rental cars.
Yeah, we’re all still kind of bummed. However, I’m in a FB group for the cruise and I’ve been glancing at it to see what’s going on. Looks like they are not going to be able to go to San Juan, which is our favorite. I’ve also seen people complaining about other things, some COVID related, some not. It all just validates our decision.
We may have not been able to go anyway if any of the 6 of us texted positive on Christmas Eve morning. Drew, Caitlyn, and Rob’s step dad as well as other family we were with on Christmas Day are sick. Some tested positive for COVID. Being sick on a cruise is bad, but having to quarantine would be horrible, yet necessary. And for that information, we were 100% right in making this decision to get a full refund. 🙂