Embarkation for Carnival Cruise Line’s flagship, Carnival Celebration, has been delayed on August 20, 2023 due to a medical evacuation.

As a result, embarking guests have been asked to shift their arrival time to the PortMiami Cruise Terminal to four hours later than expected, though all guests must be onboard the ship no later than 6:30 p.m.

Due to a medical evacuation on the most recent sailing, Carnival Celebration has been delayed in returning to PortMiami and the resulting embarkation for the next cruise has likewise been delayed.

Embarking guests have been notified via email, and asked to delay their arrival at Terminal F for four hours past their originally scheduled appointment.

“On the return to Miami, Carnival Celebration had to deviate course due to a medical emergency,” the email explained. “As a result, embarkation for your cruise has been revised. Please delay your terminal arrival appointment by four hours.”

Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

The nature of the medical emergency or impacted guests has not been divulged, in order to preserve the privacy of the individuals involved as well as their family members. The affected parties were airlifted from the vessel on Friday, August 18, while the ship was at sea.

The email also noted that guests who arrived earlier would be asked to return according to the revised timetable, with the last embarkations from 6-6:30 p.m.

Any guests who purchased Carnival transfers from local airports have had their transfer times adjusted based on the revised embarkation schedule.

Carnival Celebration Airlift

The 183,500-gross ton, Excel-class Carnival Celebration has just finished an 8-night Southern Caribbean sailing that called at Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. The sailing departing today is a 7-night Eastern Caribbean voyage to Amber Cove, San Juan, and St. Thomas.

Despite the embarkation delay, there is no further adjustment necessary for the upcoming itinerary. The first day of the cruise is scheduled as a day at sea, and it is easy for the vessel to adjust sailing speeds to accommodate an initial delay of just a few hours without impacting port arrival times for the rest of the sailing.

Because the delay in embarkation has caused incoming passengers to miss lunch offerings onboard Carnival Celebration – such as that first Guy’s Burger or a basket of strip’s from Shaq’s Big Chicken – the cruise line has provided a $20 per passenger onboard credit as compensation. The credits are posted to guests’ Sail & Sign accounts.

Guests are also able to drop their luggage off directly in their staterooms upon boarding, but are asked to leave their cabin right away to permit the housekeeping team to finish servicing all staterooms most efficiently.

Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Dining times will begin as planned for dinner with no adjustments, but guests who are a little late will be accommodated due to the unusual nature of the day’s schedule.

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“Thank you for your understanding,” the email concluded. “The entire Carnival Celebration team is looking forward to welcoming you aboard.”

Embarkation day delays can happen for many reasons. In late June, Carnival Celebration was delayed for nearly 12 hours, along with Norwegian Escape and MSC Seascape, when an early-morning collision caused a wreckage that closed the channel into PortMiami.

Fog can also play a role in delaying cruise ships in and out of ports, when it may not be safe to navigate channels until visibility improves. Both Tampa and Galveston are particularly prone to such delays at different times of the year when weather conditions are right for the thickest fog.

Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Similarly, poor weather and strong winds can create delays, as has happened in various ports worldwide. This may be due to reduced visibility, winds that impact how a ship can maneuver, or other factors.

Carnival Celebration is not the first vessel to have a medical evacuation create a delay, as such incidents do happen. In February, Royal Caribbean International’s Serenade of the Seas was delayed one hour leaving from Tampa due to a medical evacuation from the previous sailing.

Port operations, Coast Guard priorities, local construction, and other factors can all cause similar minor delays for cruise ships and may impact both debarkation and embarkation for different sailings.

It is always best for guests to have flexible travel plans and to remain patient with crew members and terminal staff as they begin or end their cruise vacation.

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