JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - At least one cruise passenger who was stranded on the Carnival cruise ship Fascination because of bad weather earlier this week is ready to take legal action against the cruise line.
TinaMarie Nelson, of Illinois, said that the cruise of the the port of Jacksonville was a nightmare. She said Carnival put her and her friends in danger with the way it handled the situation.
"The captain of the ship put our lives at risk," Nelson said. "We should've never left port knowing the weather. It's their job to know the weather."
During the four-day trip to the Bahamas, Nelson recorded video as severe weather struck, sending waves crashing against the ship.
She said she's amazed by Carnival's lack of customer service, as about 2,000 passengers were stranded on board and facing several-hour delays, skipping a port and getting seasick.
"People were throwing up everywhere, in the hallways, in the dining areas," Nelson said. "They had towels covering up the throw-up because they couldn't keep up with people throwing up from the motion."
Nelson said she wants her money back, but it's Carnival's policy not to issue refunds. The company provides a detailed contract online that passengers must sign. It indicates that Carnival reserves the right to alter the ship's course, ports of call, itinerary and activities because of bad weather.
Some travel agents say it's the risk cruisers take.
"They have it in their contracts and stuff that say, 'If something comes up and we need to change, we'll change it,'" travel agent Kelly Peck said. "And it could be up until the last moment that you could find out about the change."
Peck, who books cruises for clients all the time, said that while it's usually smooth sailing, things can come up.
Although Carnival has apologized for the rocky ride and long delays, Peck feels it should consider doing more. She also urges passengers to put their travel woes in writing.
"Hopefully, in a good-will gesture that they will, that they'll do something to lure them back and say, 'We're sorry. Please let us try to make it up and make it right,'" Peck said.
Peck did say that the only real financial protection for customers is trip insurance, which would have helped Nelson with her flight back home to Illinois that she missed because of delays.
But for the passengers from northeast Florida or nearby areas, there's not much they could have done, Peck said.
For many passengers who were on board, it's the last cruise with Carnival they plan on taking.
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