By Nadia Jastrjembskaia, Ph.D., CLIA certified Elite Cruise Counselor
I am lucky. I was in Italy when hurricane Mathew damaged my hometown and Florida. It was stressful! I was on phone with my daughter and gave her directions how to install hurricane shutters in my house. I still remember unpleased wind noise from my experiences with previous hurricanes.
I know that hurricanes are unavoidable. This is our price to be paid to live in the paradise.
I love Florida and believe that this is the best place in the world until I sit in dark house and listen to wind’s noise.
Anyways, I was not here at this time. I sat in Fiumicino airport near Rome and kept my fingers crossed that Miami airport will be open at this day and I will be able to land there.
I checked my emails – a lot of them! Information about closed ports, re-routed cruises, and request to help.
Funny, most emails where not from my clients but strangers who googled me on the Internet and asked to help.
I had 9 emails that ask to help right now because people were panicked and at the middle of nowhere how to handle the situation.
Do you know that 2,957 flights were cancelled across Florida in 57 hours when airports were closed?
Guess who those people who tried to land in Florida’s airports. Cruisers! Most of them booked their flights for Thursday and Friday to embark on Saturday or Sunday. Doesn’t happened. Flights were cancelled and was impossible to rebook in timely manner after airports were opened. My air manager Nadia Schtrafonenko worked non-stop days and night to re-book our clients. She did it! No one from our clients missed their cruise.
So, who those people who asked me to help? Most of them are self-bookers from xxxxx.com sites. Little or no help at all when they tried to reach somebody on online agencies. That is why they googled me.
Ok, we came to the point. Online agencies are famous for rebating agent’s commissions due to minimum payments to their employers. Yes, people who gave them business were happy when booked their cruises but missed their cruises because their flights were cancelled but cruise was not. And no insurance, of course. – Why waste money?
In conclusion, please learn lessons from hurricane Mathew:
- You have to give your business to whom you trust. This person will care about you need help the most.
- Book air through cruise line. – In this case, cruise line will do her best to put you on cruise ship.
- Estimate risk to take when cruising during hurricane season. When prices are low, there is a possibility that our cruise will be not run as planned.
ABOUT PRIVATE ISLANDS
Castaway Cay: Disney’s private island is open.
Cococay: Royal Caribbean’s private island sustained mostly cosmetic damage during the storm. It will be open tomorrow, October 15, 2016
Great Stirrup Cay: Norwegian Cruise Lines’ private island is undergoing renovations through October 22. The storm did not affect any calls slated there.
Half Moon Cay: Carnival Corporation’s private island sustained only minimal damage. It will be re-opened on October 15, 2016.
Labadee: Royal Caribbean’s private island (peninsula in reality) is opened.
Princess Cay: Princess Cruises private does not have any scheduled calls until October 28. It doesn’t have any damages.
Nassau. The main port of the Bahamas is open with calls.
Freeport. The port is closed to cruise ships. On its October 10 sailing, Norwegian Sky substituted Freeport with a stop in Key West. The line also has replaced Freeport with Nassau on Norwegian Sky’s October 13 departure and Key West on its October 17 departure.
From the Desk of Nadia Jastrjembskaia
My first week I spent in St. Petersburg, Russia. I made photos of my favorite place – The Catherine Palace which is a Rococo palace located in the town of Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), 30 km south of St. Petersburg. Prior to 1917, it was the summer residence of the Russian tsars.
Please look at my photos below.
Like my pictures? Be my guest!
I will make your dream to see St. Petersburg, Russia reality
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