What's Up With Carnival Glory?

September 20, 2007

This Just In: A Carnival spokesman tells Cruise Critic that Belize is back on Carnival Glory's itinerary -- at least for the cruise departing this weekend (Carnival is addressing this ship's routes on a weekly basis). "Apparently, there are some logistical challenges regarding this particular itinerary - berthing issues, distance between ports and such - which is impacting the long-term planning for these cruises.

"Our itinerary planners continue to work on the Glory's itinerary and we will let you know as soon as we have information regarding this program. In the meantime, we can only provide info on this week's departure and update you from there."

Passengers booked on fall Western Caribbean cruises aboard Carnival Glory are mystified -- as are we -- that Belize has been scrubbed off the itinerary.

That ship, like so many others, was scheduled to stop at the Southern Yucatan's Costa Maya on Western Caribbean voyages this fall and winter; cruise lines including Carnival had to revise schedules as a result of severe damage to the Mexican port. Carnival Glory, like many (though not all) Carnival ships, will go instead to Cozumel.

What's confusing is Carnival's omission of Belize -- for just this ship (others, like Carnival Legend, are still making planned calls there). While Belize City did suffer some damage from Hurricane Dean, the Category Five twirler by no means hit the Central American port head on, as it did with Costa Maya. As such, damage wasn't as severe and a spokeswoman from Belize Tourism says that attractions and activities are back to normal.

There's been no explanation from Carnival about the change. Cruise Critic has been making inquiries since early last week. Even more challenging is the news -- or rather lack thereof -- that has been supplied to passengers booked on Carnival Glory who want to know what's up with Belize, and why only Carnival Glory is impacted.

"Why all the confusion for this ship?" writes Member Smjanni, who's sailing on Carnival Glory's October 20 sailing. "If they would make the itinerary change official, then I could cancel and rebook a cruise that's of more interest to me. But it sounds like they are not making any "official" changes until the week of each departure. And when you call Carnival for clarification, you get different answers from different people."

Indeed, Jerry Mottola, another boards' participant, is facing similar challenges. He's booked on a November back-to-back on Carnival Glory and had picked the trip in part because of the allure of Belize. Mottola has tried to get an answer -- thinking that perhaps he could switch his two-week trip to Carnival Valor which is still cruising there. But he's getting nowhere. "Carnival's reservations agents tell me a variety of stories." Such as? "We're still going to Costa Maya" -- which everyone now knows is closed for a year of repairs.

In fact, Belize's updated cruise ship schedule for October and November shows that calls will be made there by NCL's Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Spirit, Holland America's Veendam, Crystal Symphony, Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas, Seabourn Legend -- and Carnival Miracle, Carnival Valor and Carnival Legend.

Though it's never wise to place all eggs in one port basket when it comes to picking a cruise -- itinerary deviations do occur for a variety of reasons and folks are better off choosing a land-based vacation if one destination is particularly important -- this situation seems especially bizarre.

Interestingly, yesterday's daily home page poll asked readers to respond to this statement: Costa Maya's closed; I'd prefer this replacement port:. Out of more than 1,400 responses, Belize came in first with nearly 30 percent of the vote; Cancun was the runner-up.

We'll keep you posted.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor