Passengers Upset After Missing Cruise Ship by Minutes

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A TikTok video has gone viral showing a Princess Cruises ship barely departing the homeport with guests left behind in the adjacent parking lot, one of whom is sobbing into their luggage while another is on the phone, presumably trying to sort out the situation. But what really happened, and how can cruise passengers prevent such a mishap?

Passengers Miss Cruise Ship by 20 Minutes

A TikTok poster by the name of Alexis B (alexisb639) posted a video showing Princess Cruises’ Discovery Princess pushing away from the pier in Long Beach, California. The only catch is that Alexis, along with several other passengers, are still in the parking lot – not on the cruise ship beginning their vacation.

The dramatic video, which to date has garnered more than 22.5 million views, shows one guest sobbing into their luggage, while another can be heard on the phone reciting a booking number. It is unknown whether that number is for a flight or the cruise itself, as the 16-second video doesn’t contain thorough information.

You can watch the footage in the video below:

Subsequent videos do tell more of the story, however. Alexis was traveling from Flagstaff, Arizona flying to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), when her flight was delayed. That delay would ultimately cost her the cruise vacation.

The first video was posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 – the same day that Discovery Princess set sail on a 5-night roundtrip cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

While there is no confirmation that this is the sailing Alexis missed – the video could have been taken weeks earlier – it is likely this was the barely missed cruise. A follow-up video has text with an explanation of the situation.

“Flagstaff Airport screwed up the flight. Had to get the next flight to LAX. Had to be at port by 2pm, with traffic, got there at 2:20,” the text reads.

Experienced cruise travelers know that cruise embarkation times are strictly enforced, whether at a ship’s homeport or at a port of call, and guests can and do get left behind if they don’t reach the ship in time.

Discovery Princess in Los Angeles
Discovery Princess in Los Angeles (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock)

There is no indication of which airline the poster used, nor what the timing of the original flight had been. The drive between LAX and the Long Beach cruise terminal is just 22 miles, but could take an hour or longer depending on traffic conditions, accidents, and road construction, as well as whether travelers use taxis, ride shares, or public transportation.

The 145,000-gross-ton Discovery Princess is the newest ship in Princess Cruises fleet and the first ever to homeport on the West Coast. She offers a variety of Mexican Riviera and California coast itineraries, as well as occasional longer sailings to Hawaii. In May 2024, the ship will reposition to Seattle for the Alaska sailing season.

Comments Not Forgiving

The original video has had more than 40,000 comments, many of which are admonishing Alexis for not flying in a day or two before the cruise and staying in a hotel prior to sailing.

Other comments note how long embarkation takes on a cruise – usually 4-5 hours at least – and offer criticism for her timing.

It should be noted, however, that it isn’t always possible for every traveler to arrive days ahead of their sailing, depending on their individual situation with time off work, vacation budget, and available travel arrangements, such as flight or hotel availability.

A Happy-Ish Ending

Fortunately, Alexis was able to get some satisfactory resolution to her missed cruise. A follow-up post filmed in front of a stunningly decorated Christmas tree and labeled “Cruise Update” explains more about the situation and the next steps.

Passenger Cries After Missing Cruise Ship
Passenger Missing Cruise Ship

“After countless hours on the phone, I was able to get a refund for the flight due to airline mistake (changed flight time and didn’t notify us), and a refund for the cruise plus all the additional expenses,” Alexis posted.

“I don’t know who the lady was that was crying, but she was devastated and my heart goes out to her. Thank you for all the comments. I learned my lesson and will fly in a day or two early next time!”

Further explanation in comments indicated that Alexis did have travel insurance, a wise precaution for any cruiser, especially if they have to fly to the embarkation port.

While Alexis was not able to take this particular cruise, her great attitude – illustrated through various other videos showing gratitude and positivity – is a good lesson for all travelers who get put out by itinerary changes, poor weather, or other snafus.

Alexis, however, is already planning her next vacation – with plans to arrive early!

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