Answer: This cruise just wasn’t meant to be. But it might have been — if you’d gotten a passport instead of a passport card.
Carnival doesn’t mince words when it comes to your paperwork requirements.
“Carnival highly recommends all guests travel with a passport (valid for at least six months beyond completion of travel),” it says on its website. “Passports make it easier for you to fly from the U.S. to a foreign port should you miss your scheduled port of embarkation, or need to fly back to the U.S. for emergency reasons.”
Your passport cards would have been fine if you’d boarded the ship in Miami. But you need a passport to fly to the Cayman Islands.
You would think that by booking your cruise directly through Carnival, as well as buying its recommended insurance, you’d be fully covered. Not so. Check out the fine print on the cruise line’s website:
“We assume no liability for any acts or omissions of any airline, including, without limitation, those involving cancellation of flights, schedule changes, re-routings, damage to or delay or loss of baggage, flight delays, equipment failures, accidents, pilot or other staff shortages, overbooking or computer errors,” it says.
So why book your plane tickets through Carnival? I have no idea.
You might have considered buying your cruise through a travel agent. An agent wouldn’t have let you board a plane for Miami without proper paperwork, and might have been able to get you on a flight that ensured you didn’t miss the ship in Miami. Also, a competent travel professional would have helped choose travel insurance that would have fully covered you.
I contacted Carnival on your behalf. It initially offered you two $1,000 vouchers, but then also agreed to cover the $489 in shore excursions and $444 for your extra flights to Grand Cayman. Looks as if your cruise has been salvaged.