Carnival Cruise Line passengers were notified on Friday, January 27, that the city of Miami was overbooked.
Passengers sailing out of PortMiami aboard Carnival Celebration and Carnival Horizon on January 29 received a letter from Carnival Cruise Line warning them of possible delays and asking them to schedule travel time accordingly.
Due to the Miami Marathon also taking place on January 29, there was going to be numerous street closures and much heavier traffic in and around Miami and specifically the port. The Miami Marathon was set to start and finish at Bayfront Park which is near PortMiami.
The letter from Carnival Cruise Line read, “PortMiami officials have informed us that the city will be hosting the Miami Marathon on the day of your embarkation. As a result, there will be numerous street closures and heavier than normal traffic in and around the city.
Since this could impact your commute to the port, we encourage you plan ample travel time to ensure prompt arrival within your pre-selected arrival appointment.
If you purchased Carnival’s transfer services, please note that our transfer times may also be impacted. We are working closely with our transportation provider to offset any potential delays.
All guests must be on board the ship no later than 3:00 PM (ET) or they will not be permitted to sail.”
With more than 18,000 participants in the Miami Marathon, you can imagine the chaos. As expected, there were delays and John Heald, Brand Ambassador for Carnival Cruise Line, was there for the fun.
His first social media post came yesterday afternoon assuring travelers that he was there and had been in contact with embarkation staff and guest services letting them know people were unable to get to the port in a timely manner. He asked passengers to not worry that Carnival would be “waiting for you ready for your fin to begin.” He also promised to be available until everyone was on board.
About 2 hours later, his second social media post reiterated that Carnival was waiting for all passengers to arrive. It was arranged for the porters to stay in order to take luggage and place it on board, and the doors would be open until 4 PM. The post reiterated again with the message of not to worry and Carnival crew was ready to welcome passengers after the stressful port to the ship. And, of course, Mr. Heald’s humor, “It could’ve been worse, I could be running in the marathon.”
Finally, a little after 4 PM, his final post before saying “Cheerio” stated that 98% of Carnival Celebration’s guests were on board and almost all of Carnival Horizon’s guests were on board.
He thanked the embarkation staff for their hard work and communication so everyone could still be welcomed on the ship and enjoy their cruise.
While it was a frustrating time for everyone involved, a huge shout out to Carnival Cruise Line for working so hard to make sure everyone made it to the fun safely