It was a picture perfect surprise – a gift for Janet and Howard Snodgrass, from Howard’s son, to celebrate their second wedding anniversary.
“I was in shock,” Janet said. “I was so touched that he did that for us.”
The seven-day cruise aboard Carnival’s Conquest was supposed to take the couple, who live in North Carolina, and their son on a trip through the Eastern Caribbean.
“We were real excited,” Howard said.
That excitement turned into worry when they realized Hurricane Irma was becoming a real threat to Florida.
“As soon as I heard about Irma, I even told my husband – ‘we’re not going on this cruise,’” Janet said. “We started panicking. We started getting paranoid.”
The Conquest was scheduled to leave Port Everglades on Sept. 9th. The couple started calling Carnival as early as September 5th.
“And they told me that they were still going out, no problem,” Howard said. “They’re aware of the hurricane coming and they’ll let us know something.”
They also signed up to receive updates via text. But Janet and Howard remained in North Carolina, unsure of how they would be able to make it down to South Florida during a state of emergency.
“That’s what we kept asking them – how do you want us to get to Florida when the governor was telling everyone to stay away?” Janet said.
They eventually decided to heed the warnings and stay away. The cruise was delayed for several days, but eventually left without them on a shorter itinerary on September 12th – after Irma passed. The couple said Carnival offered them a credit, but they wanted more.
“I told them that I would want a refund on my money,” Howard said.
When that request was denied, they called NBC 6 Responds.
“I was calling to get some kind of help,” Howard said.
In emails, Carnival told NBC 6 that "guests did have the option of cancelling and receiving a future cruise credit.” The spokesperson said the head of their "guest solutions area was going to have someone reach out to them to discuss and better understand their situation.”
And that’s exactly what happened. The following day, Janet told NBC 6 they received a credit of $1,766 on an 8-day cruise they booked for next year on one of Carnival’s newest ships. The couple is happy they now have one more adventure to look forward to, and after all – they love cruising.
“I’m a gold member, so we’ve been on a lot of cruises,” Janet said.
Carnival also told NBC 6 that if they had purchased travel insurance, they would have likely been able to file a claim to request a refund. Their son initially bought travel protection for the trip. But the couple removed it from the reservation, leaving them with few options to recover their money. It’s always a good idea to buy insurance when booking a cruise – it’s the only way to protect your money if things don’t go as planned.