Cruise Complications: Ever Changing Itineraries

Cruise complications

What do you look for when considering an ocean or river cruise?  I imagine the ports of call are the main reason you book any cruise, aren’t they?

Something new cruisers don’t realize is cruise itineraries are not set in stone. In fact many factors can change or even cancel scheduled ports of call, with weather being the biggest culprit.

One of our customers recently returned from a Viking Ocean cruise.  The cruise included Rome, Sicily, Tunisia, Algeria, Sardinia and both Valencia and Barcelona in Spain. 

First came the withdrawal of the stop in Tunisia due to political reasons.  Then their ship experienced high winds and was unable to dock in Algeria.  Then to make matters even worse, the “fill in” port of Naples was also cancelled due to high wind conditions.  They ended up with two full days at sea doing nothing. The other ports of call went as scheduled but our customers were unable to check Africa off of their bucket list and were terribly disappointed.

Last summer one of my agents went on a cruise to Cuba that included the Bahamas.  She was super excited about going to the Bahamas for the first time, and wouldn’t you know it the wind cancelled that plan.  They cruised the open ocean all day.

River cruises can be adversely affected by both drought and flood conditions.  If the rivers are too low the cruise companies will remove the passengers from the ship and transfer them by motor coach farther along the river to a point where another ship is waiting in deeper water.  There have been instances where the entire river cruise was spent on land traveling via motor coach. 

In flood conditions the ships can’t travel underneath the many bridges, in which case passengers are again off-loaded and transferred along the river via motor coach.

Neither of these instances are what the customers signed up for, are they?

In over 30 years of traveling the world I can tell you I have had my share of schedule changes, delays, and cancellations.  I’ve only had to spend the night in airports three times over all of those years, and only had my luggage lost on one occasion.  Pretty impressive isn’t it?

If you are going to travel, at some point you are going to have situations arise that were unexpected and unwanted.  It’s always best to go into any travel plans knowing ahead of time what happens in “worst case” scenario’s.

The best way to avoid river cruise complications in Europe is to avoid the dry summer months.  There really isn’t a way to avoid ocean cruise complications, high winds and storms can blow up at any time, although more frequently during hurricane season.

The best advice I can offer is this: see the world, but do it with a smile on your face and an easy going attitude.

Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel.  Contact Joy at 918-339-4805.