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Newsworthy EventI am stuck on the Carnival Liberty. AMA

Sep 10th 2015 by Murphey14 • 49 Questions • 1252 Points

My girlfriend and I booked this cruise about a month ago. On Monday there was an engine fire which has now left us in port in St Thomas. Expected stops were in Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, and St Maarten. I am on mobile so please give me some time to respond.

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Edit #1: questions have started to slow but I am a constant lurker and will continue to answer questions until there is no interest. I appreciate everyone stopping by and allowing me to share this experience!

Edit #2: we are departing st Thomas tonight and will be in San Juan tomorrow morning. I will not have cell service while at sea but will continue to answer any questions when I receive service again. Thanks for stopping by everyone!

Q:

Are they going to refund your ticket?

A:

Yes. A full refund, including gratuities is given to us. They are also giving us a 50% discount for a future cruise and any transportation to San Juan, including airfare and taxi. Essentially this is an inexpensive vacation.


Q:

not a question, but that's a pretty good attitude you got there and I just wanted to comment on it

A:

Thanks! It's not like we are being treated poor either. They are still entertaining us and letting us off the ship too.


Q:

You were lucky that the fire happened when you were in port. They can replenish ship supplies and conditions won't become nearly as bad as other ships that have broken down in the middle of the ocean. Have fun!

A:

Agreed! We were very fortunate. Plus, we're stranded in the Caribbean in a us territory...no complaints on my end!


Q:

Yeah life is rough, stuck in tropical paradise, whatever will you do?

A:

Indeed. Very tough. Woe is me.


Q:

It sounds pretty sweet compared to sitting in my office right now. Enjoy!

A:

Thanks brother!


Q:

It's not like we are being treated poor either.

Old friends went on a cruise and something happened that left them stranded in a port-of-call a few years ago. They thanked the staff for all the extra work they had to put in and it ended up getting them even more free stuff. Please do bear in mind that it does keep the staff from enjoying their time off to ensure that you enjoy your extra time.

A:

I understand this. I think it's messed up they refunded gratuities. Pay these mother fuckers!


Q:

I was on the Carnival Liberty a few years ago. We didn't get stuck anywhere, but the positive attitude and service does not surprise me a bit. Looks like you've gotten a pretty good deal out of the inconvenience.

A:

Agreed! At the end of the day they are selling customer service now and trying to retain a clientele.


Q:

DAAANG that is a hell of a sweet deal. Follow up question: did you know they were going to be so generous before you set the fire?

A:

I was actually hoping our next cruise would be free...


Q:

So what you're saying is that you're going to start an engine fire every time you take a cruise...

A:

I'm debating doing that now!


Q:

So are you tipping the staff like a champ given that they cover gratuities? Or am I missing something?

A:

Fuck yes! They deserve it! And a raise! The staff has been nothing but awesome.


Q:

A full refund, including gratuities

Can you find out if the staff still going to get tipped? That would suck if they weren't, because the tip can be as much as 50% of their salary.

A:

I would love to find out. I'm still tipping them because I realize how much they depend on them.


Q:

Good for you! It's amazing how nice the majority of the staff are on cruiseships.

A:

They are mostly foreigners too. Idk. I love my cruise ship staff and I appreciate them. I just feel sorry because I know they will probably receive less of a paycheck when they deserve more.


Q:

Hey if they're actually going to give back your gratuities, I'd start giving them out. The people on the boat just lost a cruise's worth of work and tips, and could probably use whatever they could get anyway. If it's possible, of course.

A:

Definitely! We paid 268 in prepaid gratuities. That's going back to them. They deserve more then that.


Q:

Nice! Also, I really hope you enjoy your trip too. I love cruise ships, I really wouldn't mind having to spend time there. It's a bummer you will miss your ports, but now you could go on a more elaborate trip than you might have otherwise. Possibilities my friend!

Also, thank you for getting back to me in such a big thread, though I guess you do have a lot of time ;)

A:

There's nothing like getting drunk and responding to ama questions. But hi would know? This is my first!


Q:

keep in mind that if you accept a refund, you lose most of your ability to sue them if you are so inclined. (not saying you are, not saying you will, just saying it's a thing that happened on the infamous poopy cruise a few years ago)

A:

Thank for the advice! I'm not suing. Ain't got time for that!


Q:
  1. Is this your first cruise?
  2. Has this soured your experience on cruising in general?
  3. What was the general morale of the passengers - upset, accepting, etc.?
A:

This is my 3rd cruise, all with carnival. It has not soured my experience and the staff has been very pleasant. Everyone's attitude has varied. Some are very accepting, others upset. I have been finding the African American people the most upset.


Q:

African American people the most upset.

They're just the loudest.

A:

You are probably right.


Q:

At least you got to port in St Thomas. That place is gorgeous.

Has this, now being yet another faulty Carnival ship, deterred you from booking with Carnival again?

A:

A little. We will go on another one because of the discount. After that it will depend mostly on price and destinations.


Q:

If you are still on St. Thomas, there is a little BBQ truck up by Sapphire Bay called "Off the Grid". It is unbelievable, you should go.

Edit: Found a pic from my last trip there...

http://i.imgur.com/KvEUk3b.jpg

A:

Hmm I will investigate this. I have no clue where sapphire Bay is in relation to us.


Q:

See if you can use that discount on any of their subsidiary cruise lines like Princess.

A:

Good idea! I think I'll investigate when I get home.


Q:

Just my opinion but, don't let what happened to this ship discourage you from cruising with Carnival. They have more ships sailing than any other cruise line. So they will have more problems.

The Liberty runs that route constantly without a break for months. When they dock on Sunday, they refuel and restock and right back out.

Mechanical parts break down. You just hope that you can catch it before it does.

A:

This has definitely not deterred me. It's actually shown me how much carnival cares. They could have left us to find our own way home or given us shit service, but they didn't. They've been nothing but awesome. I understand they are also in damage control, but it's refreshing to know what kind of service you'll get in this situation.


Q:

Wow, I was just on that same cruise for my honeymoon last month!

A:

Well I hope you enjoyed yourself! What was your favorite island?


Q:

Barbados by far. We did the Jolly Roger Cruise and it was an amazing drunkfest with scuba diving.

St Lucia and St Kitts were next on the list.

St Thomas was our least favorite. You have my sympathies on that one.

A:

I was hoping to experience Barbados and St maarten the most. St Thomas hasn't been bad. We have been enjoying ourselves. Initially did not hold that idea but now that we've had time to stay and experience it, I think it's a rather charming place.


Q:

I know two people who are also on that cruise with you. They are actually in really high spirits about the whole situation. Said the only thing they were disappointed about was the fact that they couldn't stay the entire time. I guess they are being flown back to San Juan today.

All in all they have said that the way they see it is they got paid ($150.00 ship credit) to stay in a floating hotel in St. Thomas. And with 50% off their next cruise they can wait until next year to see the other destinations on the trip.

From what I understand there is lots to do both onboard the ship (all amenities fully functional) and onshore, so they don't see it as an inconvenience at all. There are worst places to be stranded than on a Caribbean island.

I have been reading some cruise ship employee AMAs and it sounds like the employees have more fun on those cruises than the guests do. How are they taking this whole thing? Have you been able to befriend any of them and gotten invited to secret after hours cruise employee parties?

A:

Everything you hear is 100% correct. I am very friendly with everyone, but especially staff because they work hard and have been a delight. Unfortunately, no invitation has been given. We were scheduled to fly to Miami but they cancelled our seats and will stay on board until the ship is towed to San Juan where we will continue our original flight plans.


Q:

Oh interesting, is that true of all passengers or just you? (Referring to flight plans)

A:

I am unsure. I think only time will tell. But our other people we were dining with also had plans after the cruise in San Juan and Florida. I think it depend on asking to cancel or find lodging really.


Q:

Have you ever read David Foster Wallace's essay "A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again"?

A:

I haven't. Please enlighten me on it.


Q:

Who is the maddest person you've come across due to the engine fire?

A:

One guy was yelling that he didn't even want to come to st Thomas, and now he's stuck here. He wanted to be let off and he'd find his own way home. They wouldn't let him. I'm sure he left yesterday when first wave of flights left to go back to the US.


Q:

Did you buy trip insurance? How much is it and what does it cover? Is the food amazing? Do you have to pay for drinks or is it included?

A:

We did not buy trip insurance. In total we probably spent close to 1500 a person for our room, airfare, and excursions. The food is quite tasty, even more so that it is free. Alcohol is between $6 and $10 a drink with an all day $50 alcohol pass. Sodas also cost money before, but now are giving them away for free.


Q:

What if wake up in the middle of the night and want a snack, is there a place on the ship you can go?

A:

Yes! There's 24 hour pizza and ice cream. A buffet is also served from 11pm to 1am.


Q:

Sounds good. How many flavors of ice cream? How much research did you do before deciding on what ship to book a cruise on?

A:

3 in total. Strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla. In soft serve and frozen yogurt. I did a lot of research. We originally planned to go on royal Caribbean but the dates did not align with my girlfriends work schedule so we settled on carnival.


Q:

What's the staff like? I've read they work very hard. What kind of entertainment have you seen on board? Comics? Drag shows?

A:

They work extremely hard. I think they are the real saviors for our cruise. They have entertainment shows every night. I haven't been to one on this cruise. They have comedy shows every night too. I have enjoyed those.


Q:

Is there a formal dinner night where everybody dresses in their Sunday best? Who decides who get to sit at the captains table? Have you met anyone interesting on board? Is the wi-fi free?

A:

They do have a formal dinner! Ours was on Tuesday. I actually haven't seen the captain or his table. We don't socialize or party much. The most interesting people we met were from other cruise ships that came in and were interested to hear what was going on with us.


Q:

The buffet is only open for 2 hours?! Or did you mean 11 am to 1 am..

A:

Sorry for the confusion. The buffet has set hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The late night snack is from 11pm to 1am, which was in response to if there's anything open late at night . As for the exact hours of the buffet, I am unsure as we have eaten off ship for lunch and in the dining room for dinner.


Q:

Cool thanks! I can't believe you even answered that, after I wrote it I was like "Do I even care..."

That seems a bit pricey for a cruise, I saw another answer about 1500 a piece or so? Or did that include airfare and everything else, like total expense for the trip?

A:

Yes, that was the total expense. We also have a balcony cabin, which is more expensive. We could have paid maybe $800 for the cruise and airfare only. Excursions are between $50 and $150 a person for each port dependent on what you do.


Q:

If you paid by a Visa Signature card, you also have travel accident insurance. It's a perk of the card. Check your card's benefits. There's all sorts of neat shit they give you for travel, rentals, and even price protection for electronics.

A:

Thanks for the tip. I have barclaycard arrival. I'll have to check their policy regarding travel insurance.


Q:

It could be worse, you could be stranded at sea... ammiright? My wife and I loved out Carnival Cruise. What is the general mood of the other passengers? Are they all cool with it, or are they pissed off?

A:

You are definitely right! People think of it as half glass full or half glass empty. Some people had plans for after the cruise and I've noticed they are more cheerful than those who were planning on going straight home. I think more are upset.


Q:

Well, I'd take a ship fire over norovirus any day.

Since you and your girlfriend are nurses. Had there been a medical emergency on board, would you turn off "vacation mode" and go directly to "work mode?"

Where do you plan on going with your discount cruise? I heard Alaska is nice.

A:

Definitely. As nurses you have to be prepared to act when not in uniform and really it is our duty. It probably helps that we both work in critical care as well and care for medical emergencies fairly well.

I had not thought of an Alaskan cruise, but have been told they are awesome. It would be good for us because we are from California, so traveling would cost less and take hours compared to a whole day. We did discuss using our discount on an Alaskan cruise but haven't thought too much about it.


Q:

An Alaskan cruise would be the way to go, since they are the most expensive (no off season rates), and would maximize your 50% off.

Just make sure your cruise doesn't have a crap schedule, like Holland America's Amsterdam. One port was only 3 hours long, and another was at night, when all the interesting things to do were closed.

A:

Thanks for the tip! I will definitely keep this in mind!


Q:

My wife and I did an Alaska cruise tour with some friends of ours and it was absolutely amazing. We did it the last week of August/1st week of September and all of Denali National Park was in peak fall colors. It was so beautiful it almost seemed fake. 10/10 would most certainly do it again.

A:

Okay. I am looking into this when I get home!


Q:

Fire aboard a ship. No bueno'.

Did this happen at sea or in port?

A:

This occurred in Port. My girlfriend and I were halfway across the island and came back to everyone off the ship. We didn't know what happened until we asked around.


Q:

What shenanigan is Gilligan up to now?

A:

I saw him trying to make a coconut radio. Wasn't working...


Q:

Is Guys Burger Joint still open at least? Best burgers ever, seriously. Are you guys planning to go home early or take your stay somewhere else?

A:

It is open! So delicious! They are chartering a majority to Miami, Orlando, San Juan, and Atlanta where they will catch commercial connecting flights. We were scheduled to have a Miami flight but we also had plans in key West after the cruise. So instead, we will stay on board. The plan is to tow the ship to San Juan with an arrival on Sunday, where we will disembark and continue onto our original flight.


Q:

Did the captain try to convince you it was just a power outage and ask passengers to go back to their rooms?

A:

We were not near the ship when it occurred, but everyone evacuated. We were not allowed back on until almost 9pm. It was quite uncomfortable because there is limited places to sit. I actually fell asleep on the ground at some point.


Q:

Is everyone alright? Hope none of the crew were injured.

A:

No one was injured. Thank God.


Q:

Please tell me someone has fired up "I'm on a boat" -lonely island! Did you remember your swim trunks and your flippy floppies?

A:

I'm sure they have. There's a DJ every day on the deck. We haven't been on the ship. We've been using this as a time to explore St Thomas and St John.


Q:

Oh St. John is my favorite! Have you snorkeled at Trunk Bay?

A:

My girlfriend loves St John. We did go to trunk Bay! It was wonderful. Very clear water and fish everywhere.


Q:

On a more personal note, what are your favorite films?

A:

I am not much of a movie guy. Probably anchorman and school of rock are my favorite movies, I love comedy. Guilty pleasure are Disney/Pixar movies.


Q:

Is the casino still open?

A:

5pm to 4am it is open.


Q:

Why do an AMA instead of taking your girlfriend down to the lower decks and practicing making babies on your "free cruise?"

A:

We're actually off the ship, drinking in a bar. There will be plenty of practice later today.