Monday, June 2, 2008

Cruising During Hurricane Season

Hi folks - I'm back!

It has been a hectic couple of weeks but things are basically back to normal now. We've redesigned the office, we had a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Victory (thanks to the Ocean Players Club), and are settling into the new routine with Al being retired from the Corporate side of the business and no longer recruiting agents for Cruises Inc. and concentrating on building our agency client base up.

A question came up yesterday since June 1 is the start of hurricane season about cruising during hurricane season and I thought this was a great question to share my views. My question back was "Why not?"

Think about it a little. A cruise ship costs about $400-500,000,000+. There are 2000+ passengers on the ship and a crew of 1000+. Do you think they are going to put all this at risk? Of course not! The cruise lines all have very sophisticated weather instruments and are constantly monitoring sea conditions. They are very aware of any potential problems and since ships are "mobile", they can change course at any time there is potential danger.

A resort or hotel that is land based is stuck right where it is no matter what. If an area is evacuated where the resort you are staying at is in danger, your vacation is either over or you may be stuck without food, water, electricity etc. A ship changes course and vacation continues. Running out of food on a cruise ship? That will be the day .

We have cruised during hurricane season many times. In fact living in Florida, I joke about my "hurricane shelter" having 10-14 bars and lounges and the "big" sacrifice might be running low on lobster. A couple of years ago our 7 night Eastern Carribean cruise turned into a 9 night Western with an overnight in Cozumel (which the crew loved since they never get to go out at night there).

Pricing can also be very consumer advantageous during the peak hurricane months of September and October because schools are back in session so less family market to draw business from and people worry about hurricanes so the promotions (ie - prices) are more attractive and represent even better value to book during these months.

And if you are booked and the ship can not get back to port on the embarkation day, the cruise lines normally are quite generous in their compensation to people whose vacation is shortened both for that cruise and a future one - again better value for the consumer.

So this is a great time frame to book cruise for. If there is no weather issue, you get greater value, if there is you also benefit. Of course, you should also take the travel protection offered since weather could effect your getting to the embarkation port or getting home and you want to be covered for those expenses should it become a necessity.

We love to cruise during hurricane season and part of our packing is the house and car insurance papers (remember we live in Florida). Our area got hit pretty hard during Wilma a couple of years ago but we were on the Carnival Conquest during the first 7 days of no electricity or water at home. The ship was supposed to leave from New Orleans but was switched to Galveston due to Katrina. That's what I mean about flexible and mobile - ships can be moved, hotels/resorts can not.

So book a cruise during hurricane season and don't worry about it. You either have a great vacation or get additional benefits if a hurricane effects it. Either way - YOU win!

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