Is this enough compensation? Missed honeymoon cruise because of paperwork problem

Becky and David Hovis’ honeymoon cruise on Carnival never happened. And it never will, probably.

Why not? When they booked their cruise directly through the company back in 2009, they were told she only needed a photo ID to board. Not true.

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Here’s her recollection of her conversation with the Carnival agent:

I specifically asked if we needed a passport. She said no, just a photo ID. She left out the birth certificate part. This was our honeymoon.

You can probably guess what happened next.

We took the trip From Oregon to Tampa, ony to be told we were not allowed to board the ship. We had to rely on family to bail us out and pay for a hotel for the week to stay in Florida since it was $1,400 to change our flight. Carnival never even offered to re-schedule.

The Hovis family is out $1,578 plus $190 for the “vacation protection plan” which was of no use to them, since it didn’t cover this kind of omission.

Aren’t the paperwork requirements spelled out on Carnival’s site? Yes, they are. But Hovis says the site confused her, and she relied on the word of a Carnival representative.

Now what? I contacted Carnival on the couple’s behalf.

Here’s its response:

They were denied boarding because they did not have the proper travel documents presenting only a photo ID.

While they claim that Carnival’s personal vacation planner didn’t advise them of proper documentation, in fact, it is documented in the booking record that the personal vacation planner did advise them of the travel documents required.

Additionally, this information is listed on their confirmation as well as on our web site. It is the guest’s responsibility to have the proper travel documents.

However, as a gesture of goodwill, we will be offering them two sailing dates—Carnival Dream 11/6 and Carnival Valor 11/7. This will be in an interior cabin and they will only be required to pay taxes.

So Carnival is going to let them re-do their honeymoon cruise. That’s a pretty decent offer, don’t you think? I asked Hovis, and she said she’d already spoken with a cruise line representative about the offer.

I told her it was decent that they were offering the November cruise although we have kids and we also can’t afford to just fly there next month, plus we need vacation time.

Despite numerous verbal appeals to Carnival to extend the sailing dates, the first offer was its final offer. Hovis thinks the cruise line should be more flexible.

I agree with Carnival that having the right paperwork is the traveler’s responsibility. But I can certainly see the passengers’ perspective on this, too. Did the cruise line make them an offer that was so limited, they were bound to reject it?

What do you think? Is this enough compensation?

Survey says …

We had more than 800 responses, with nearly 69 percent saying the cruise line did enough.

(Photo: raging wire/Flickr Creative Commons)