With poor weather impacting a number of ships in The Bahamas and Bermuda over the weekend, several ships adjusted itineraries and port visits to steer clear of the worst swells and gusty winds.
For Carnival Sunshine, these adjustments meant a Bahamas sailing turned into a cruise to nowhere with no ports of call, but guests received excellent compensation for their radically altered cruise.
Carnival Sunshine Cancels Visit to Nassau
Carnival Sunshine is currently sailing a 4-night cruise from Charleston, South Carolina, with just one planned port of call – Nassau in The Bahamas. That visit had been scheduled for Saturday, January 14, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Guests were notified onboard, however, that the visit was not possible due to poor weather. “We are not able to visit Nassau today due to unfavorable weather that would make docking unsafe,” the letter delivered to guests said. “We know you were looking forward to your time in port and apologize for this change of plans.”
During the time Carnival Sunshine was to have been docked, Nassau was experiencing steady winds at about 20-25 miles per hour (32-40 kilometers per hour), with gusts as high as 40 mph (64 kph).
These conditions created unstable conditions on the dock, making it unsafe for guests to cross the gangway to get on or off the ship, or to walk down the dock into the downtown area.
Furthermore, many of the most popular excursions, such as snorkeling trips or dolphin encounters, would have been impossible in the choppy water.
Since the ship did not stop at the port, all shore excursions, as well as taxes and port fees, were automatically refunded to guests’ Sail & Sign accounts.
Cancelling the port of call is the second alteration to Carnival Sunshine‘s current sailing. Prior to setting sail, guests had been informed of a change in embarkation time in Charleston, and had to adjust their arrival times one hour earlier than originally planned.
Fortunately, no further delays or changes to the cruise are expected, and Carnival Sunshine should arrive back in Charleston as expected on Monday, January 16.
Because the single-port cruise has now become a cruise-to-nowhere without any port visits, Carnival Cruise Line is offering generous compensation to guests.
In addition to the automatic refunds of fees, taxes, and shore tours, guests are receiving $100 (USD) per stateroom of onboard credit, which can be used for drinks, spa treatments, specialty dining, photos, and onboard shopping. That is not the only compensation guests on this cruise are receiving, however.
“We also want you to return to experience the cruise we had intended for you,” the letter read. “So, we are extending a 50% future cruise credit for you to use towards another Carnival Cruise.” The letter was signed by the ship’s master, Captain Leonardo Contarino.
The future cruise credit (FCC) is based on the fare guests paid for this voyage, and is unable to be used for a deposit on a new cruise but can be applied to additional payments for the fare. The FCC must be redeemed by January 31, 2024, and can be used for any departure from any homeport and on any ship in the Carnival fleet.
Many Ships Impacted by Weather
Carnival Sunshine is not the only ship that has been impacted by the strong cold front that moved through The Bahamas over the weekend.
Two Royal Caribbean ships, Liberty of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, had to skip visiting CocoCay on Saturday because of rough waves and wind gusts that made the dock unsafe.
Several other ships, including Disney Wish, Norwegian Pearl, Carnival Liberty, and Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, also had to skip Nassau on Saturday.
Earlier in the storm’s track, Norwegian Gem had to drastically shorten its port time in Bermuda to avoid the worst weather conditions.
Poor weather can affect any cruise ship on any itinerary at any time of year. Cruise guests should always stay in touch with their cruise line for updates as their sailing date approaches, and remain flexible in their vacation expectations in case changes are necessary.