Don’t Let a Few Snow Days Ruin Your Cruise

I don’t usually write about trite travel advice, such as “wear comfortable shoes”; but since I received a letter from a reader about her canceled cruise, I’ll depart from my norm just this once. It’s not so much that her cruise was canceled, but “why” her cruise was canceled.

Let’s start from the beginning. Jane was excited when she found some great summer Caribbean cruise deals. She wanted to take a cruise with her daughter and grandson, so she called them up, checked their calendars and proceeded to plan their dream cruise.

Jane was thrilled to be able to get an accessible cabin with a balcony on their first choice of sailing dates. She booked their cabins and then invited other family members to join them. It soon turned into a mini family reunion, and everyone was looking forward to the vacation. Even better – the prices kept going down and the whole family got great rates.

Then, Cassie, Jane’s daughter, threw a fly into the ointment. It seems that she didn’t take her son’s school schedule into account before she gave Jane her preferred sailing dates. Since they had a number of “snow days” this year, the school year was extended, and the last day of school was now the first day of the cruise. Cassie called her mom and told her she would have to cancel.

That set off a mini chain reaction, as now Jane wouldn’t even consider cruising without her grandson. And soon it was a mass exodus. It was like rats deserting a sinking ship. and the sad part is, the whole family incurred cancellation fees, and they gave up those great “sale” rates they found a few months back. And they probably also drove their travel agent nuts. All because Cassie didn’t build enough of a cushion into her travel dates.

Personally, I don’t see the big problem. My mom pulled me out of school plenty of times for travel, and I turned out OK. I even got a full academic scholarship to college. And we’re really only talking one day here. What’s the big harm in missing it? But Cassie apparently has a different approach to education. So be it. Still, she really fell short in the whole planning department, and in the end her lack of planning ruined everybody’s cruise plans. Sadly she didn’t even understand the gravity of her mistake. “I only missed it by one day,” she said.

True, but that day happened to be the cruise departure date.

Even though the ship has sailed for Cassie and Jane, this incident can help others to avoid their fate. When planning a cruise (or any type of vacation) give yourself plenty of leeway for unexpected delays. If you expect to be done with school on May 30, then don’t schedule your cruise for June 1; especially if you live in an area subject to snow days. Give yourself plenty of room for error — plan the cruise for July instead.

In the end, it will save everyone a lot of time, aggravation and money!