As a result of construction on Key West's Outer Mole pier -- Carnival's main docking spot -- the cruise line is eliminating calls there on two itineraries. Passengers impacted are those booked on some four-night Western Caribbean cruises on Fascination (every other week), and all of those on Inspiration.
Carnival had initially planned to adapt to the temporary situation of the out-of-use-pier by tendering passengers, but a number of complications ensued. Because neither ship has its own tenders, Carnival was forced to use local boats whose capacity turned out to be too limited for the vessels' 2,000-passenger capacities. In addition, both Fascination and Imagination only make half-day calls to Key West, so time on land, which was limited to begin with, became ridiculously restricted due to the time-consuming tendering operation.
"We tried to tender and it was not very effective," says Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz. "People were unhappy about the narrow window of time on Key West and the volume of complaints was extensive."
The pier was closed by local port officials on May 1 and is anticipated to reopen on November 1. Carnival plans to resume its regular Fascination and Imagination itineraries at that time.
Rather than replace Key West with another port, Carnival has opted to extend its call at Cozumel, the only other stop on these itineraries. The cruise line is offering passengers booked on the changed cruises a full refund if desired.
Carnival is the only cruise line affected by construction on that particular pier. Others that call in Key West will continue to dock at Mallory Square or Pier B.