My husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary (where did the years go?) and booked a cruise 4-11 December with stops in Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. I had visions of cruising the Atlantic Ocean aboard a wonderful ship, soaking in the warm weather and shopping like a rampaging bull through stores. I had money to spend and Christmas gifts to buy! I figured we'd go to both the French and Dutch sides of St. Maarten and it would be like shopping in 4 different sites.
The Fates weren't with us. Must have been on their own vacation.
We made it to Nassau, and that was pleasant. Toured two forts and a costume museum. AND, did a little shopping since I planned to do most of my gift buying at the next two ports. That was the only time we got off the ship until we returned to Port Canaveral.
I'd been to a shopping seminar to find out about places to shop in St. Thomas and St. Maarten...and got lots of discount coupons, cards for "free" items at various stores, and all the tidbits of information geared to entice you to spend more money in ports. While standing in line to receive a final discount coupon, we felt the ship jerk and sway, heard cranking/banging noises, and wondered what was going on. Then we realized the ship had stopped moving. Our captain got on the intercom and explained there was a problem and we'd be moving as soon as "it" could be fixed.
The captain canceled his "photo with the captain" session to take care of the problem. Before too long, we were moving again and figured that "it" was just a quirk. Not so. The captain got back on the intercom to explain that the ship could only function with one propeller so we would NOT be going to St. Thomas and St. Maarten as planned. Instead, they decided to take us to the Dominican Republic and a private beach in the Bahamas.
How they figured these places would replace where we'd planned to go is amazing. We didn't get off at either place, and those that did had nothing but disappointing things to say. (To shop in the DR, they had to ride an hour on a bus...and arrived during siesta time so stores were closed. The beach was being renovated and the food was bad...and no stores).
The entertainer onboard for our Sunday show got stuck on the ship, so they had her do another show for us.
They offered $100 ship credit. They offered free photos. The captain never took photos with us...I think he was hiding since there were so many complaints they asked us not to harass the people at the reception desk.
We were all offered 30% off another cruise as a final gesture of compensation.
We wrote a letter to the CEO asking for better compensation. Not only had we paid to fly to the port, but we stayed at a nearby hotel overnight to be sure we didn't miss our departure. And, had house/dog sitters we had to pay. To take this cruise again and get to those ports we'd planned on visiting, we'd have to pay everything again.
As soon as we got home, I had LOTS of Christmas shopping to do! I refused to buy a lot of stuff onboard since their prices were expensive.
We've done two other cruises without a problem. Not on this particular line, but loved our other cruises. I'm not mentioning the cruise line...yet. I'll write a follow-up report after we hear from them about compensation. Hopefully, it will be happier news!