Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Paradise will not be able to operate the next sailing, what was to have been an August 31, 2023 departure, as planned, due to the late reopening of Port Tampa Bay after Hurricane Idalia.

Instead, the ship will offer a cruise to nowhere, giving guests onboard several compensation benefits and offering a future cruise credit refund for travelers who opt to cancel their getaway.

Port Tampa Bay reopened in the early evening of Thursday, August 31, 2023, but too late for Carnival Paradise to finish the current sailing – a 5-night Bahamas cruise that had visited Bimini and Nassau – on schedule. Instead, the Fantasy-class ship extended its sailing by a day at sea and will return to Tampa on Friday, September 1.

Carnival Paradise (Photo Credit: Creative Jen Designs / Shutterstock)

This means the next cruise, originally a 4-night Western Caribbean sailing to visit Cozumel, Mexico, cannot operate as scheduled. The ship will now sail a 3-night cruise to nowhere, offering guests two full days at sea but no ports of call.

Guests on the cruise are asked to keep to their pre-selected arrival appointment time, now arriving at the cruise terminal on Friday rather than Thursday.

Carnival Cruise Line is offering significant compensation for guests who choose to continue with the now-shortened sailing.

First, guests who set sail will receive a 1-day refund of their cruise fare, returned to their original form of payment. This may take up to three weeks to process, depending on each guest’s financial institution, and the total amount of the refund will vary based on the overall cruise fare paid.

Similarly, guests who purchased a drinks or Wi-Fi package prior to sailing will also receive a pro-rated refund of those package charges.

All guests will also receive a a refund of any pre-purchased Carnival shore excursions in Cozumel and the taxes, fees, and port expenses that were associated with the now-cancelled visit.

Photo Credit: fitzcrittle / Shutterstock

These refunds will be posted to guests onboard Sail & Sign accounts and can be used for onboard purchases, including drinks, photos, souvenirs, and spa treatments.

All guests will also receive a 50% future cruise credit (FCC) that can be used on a future Carnival Cruise of their choice, as well as an additional $200 (USD) on onboard credit per stateroom aboard their shortened Carnival Paradise cruise.

This is an incredible amount of compensation considering the cruise has only been shortened by a single day, though guests will undoubtedly be disappointed about missing Cozumel and not being able to visit any alternative port of call.

Booked guests can also elect to cancel their cruise rather than setting sail on the shorter sailing, which may be necessary for local travelers who must now contend with the aftermath of the storm.

Guests who cancel must do so no later than 10 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, August 31, 2023.

These travelers will receive a 100% future cruise credit for use on an upcoming Carnival cruise, as well as a full refund (posted back to their original form of payment) of any pre-purchased gifts or services, such as shore tours, beverage packages, or pre-booked spa treatments.

Because Carnival Cruise Line is still operating the sailing, guests who cancel at the last minute – despite the extenuating circumstances – are not entitled to a refund back to their original form of payment.

Read Also: What is a Cruise to Nowhere?

According to Carnival’s cruise ticket contract, section 8(d), “Carnival may change the duration and/or itinerary of the cruise at any time.” Adverse weather and hurricanes are specifically listed as a potential reason for such changes.

Furthermore, section 8(c) of the cruise ticket contract explicitly states “In the event a voyage is cancelled, shortened, or changed for any reason other than mechanical failure of the Vessel, Guest shall be entitled to a future cruise credit.”

Guests who have purchased travel insurance may want to consult their individual policies about possible reimbursement or additional compensation, depending on the coverage they selected.

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