Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wedding Woes

The story of a wedding that went wrong aboard Carnival Sensation.

Remember the old Newhart show where Dick and Joanna go to Joanna's sister's wedding? Neither really wants to go, because it's on a cruise ship and they have to drive all night to get there. Joanna keeps telling Dick it will be fun, and she wants to be the first to toast her sister after her marriage. She keeps enticing Dick by telling him how they are going to have dinner on the cruise ship and cruise ships are known for their sumptuous food. When they get to the port, they find out the wedding has been delayed by hours because there is a bomb threat against
the ship, but the wedding coordinator keeps telling them everything will go on, but it will just be delayed. Dick is grumbling, but Joanna keeps reminding him of the wonderful pre-wedding buffet they will have and the open bar.

When they finally got on the ship, the buffet was served, and just as he is about to take his first bite, the wedding coordinator announces they have to get to the chapel immediately because the captain says they are going to sail in a half hour. So everyone rushes to the chapel for a ceremony that gets compressed to six minutes, and then they hurry to another lounge for the "reception." When they get there, they find it's a muster station and people are milling around with their lifejackets on, eating their reception food! Joanna keeps telling everyone, "Don't worry. In a few years we'll laugh about all this." And then her big moment arrives. As soon as Joanna raises her glass of champagne and says, "To my dear sister," an announcement comes on the PA that says, "All ashore who are going ashore," and everyone rushes off.

You don't remember that episode of the classic '80's sitcom? Oh, I'm sorry. That wasn't an episode of Newhart. That's pretty close to what really happened to a couple about six weeks ago who had planned their wedding aboard Carnival Sensation.

They contacted their local TV station's consumer help line, because Carnival was only giving them a 50% refund. You can read the whole article on WKMG's website. There's video, and the couple does seem unhappy, but smiling. (Their relatives who have posted comments to the story seem quite a bit less gracious, which is rather odd since it wasn't their wedding - they were only inconvenienced.)

Obviously, the cause of the situation (the bomb threat) was out of Carnival's control. If anyone failed, it was the wedding coordinator who was probably just trying to give the couple everything they wanted. Instead he/she should have stepped in and said there wasn't time for everything and given the couple the full wedding ceremony they had planned and a quick (and quiet) reception - and promised a refund for everything else.

The WKMG story says Carnival promised to review the situation with the refund. Carnival told CND today that they did the right thing for the couple and adjusted the refund so the couple would have a full refund of the approximate $2,500 they paid for the wedding.

As Joanna Loudan would have said, they will laugh about it in a couple of years. (This may not have been the most important story we will cover this week, but we can laugh about it now.)

This story appeared in the May 11, 2010, edition of Cruise News Daily.