So wedding planning can be an ever-changing roller coaster of events and emotions. Anyone who has ever planned one can back me up on this one. You have to have contingency plans for your contingency plans.
And from the title, you can see that literally anything can happen.
Last week, we had to deal with some hard decision making. Why? Because the original cruise booking I’d selected for my wedding had gotten cancelled.
It was frustrating, and mildly terrifying. We had just about sixty people already booked for the sailing with the group.
I think my mother may have been more frantic than I was.
Carnival had emailed our travel agent and informed her of the ship needing to go into dry dock. This happens, in the contracts you sign they warn you that this may happen. But it still caught us off guard. I absolutely understood the reasoning behind needing to send the ship in for maintenance. I would much rather they keep a ship in working order than force it to continue with the possibility of something going wrong.
Okay, okay. Deep breaths.
Thanks for that pep-talk, Marvin the Paranoid Android. Ready? Good.
So what was our next step?
Well, in the letter sent by Carnival, they agreed to honor our current price-lock as well as give every single person who had booked with us a $50 on board credit.
As a note: on board credit is like a gift card, only it can be used once you board the ship.
What they needed from us was to choose a replacement cruise.
Mind you, we had already sent out all of our save the dates. These had the specific ship name and itinerary and pricing on them.
Our prices for those who had not yet booked would be going up. And our port location would change. It was irritating to say the least. But we found one. It took us two days to find a suitable replacement, but we did it. We were able to get the same exact date, the same exact ports, and a bigger/better/newer ship all for the same price as we’d paid on the older ship.
Carnival worked with us as best as they could to get everything squared away and MY TRAVEL AGENT WAS AN ABSOLUTE CHAMP. She got all sixty people transferred over to the new booking in less than 24 hours. Everything was re-booked and seemed to be handled.
It took another three days to get the ceremony confirmation switched, just because the department had to work with two solid months of weddings they had just cancelled, but we got it. I was as patient as I could be, and did my best to let them do their job. But I was also understandably upset.
Carnival apologized, as you do when you screw with someone’s wedding, and asked that we forward them any receipts or invoices for things that we had already mailed or had personalized. This meant the save the dates and postage we’d already spent, the paper I’d printed my design on, and the replacement paper to print “update” info cards for our guests. I liked that and I appreciated that. What I didn’t appreciate, however, was that the wedding department hadn’t contacted us before the travel agent did. Now I do know that the booking belongs to the TA once we sign with her, but the ceremony is handled by an outside company. I feel like they should have made an effort to call the Bride first. Just my opinion though.
Overall, I will continue to cruise with Carnival, as they were quick to work with us. But this can now serve as a cautionary tale; make sure you have your backup plans in place. We had one that wasn’t fully fleshed out because we didn’t think we would need it. We got lucky enough to work with competent people.