Lost in a Fog: Zero Visibility Traps Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Ships in Galveston

February 21, 2011

(Noon EST) -- Dense fog in Galveston has impacted three cruises, devouring two days of a five-day Carnival sailing and impacting two other Caribbean voyages.

Lisa Ashley, a spokeswoman for the Port of Houston, told the Houston Chronicle that the heavy fog, which set in on Friday and began to lift on Sunday, is "one of those things that can occur from time to time."

Carnival Ecstasy, originally set to embark on Saturday for a five-day Caribbean cruise to Cozumel and Progreso, is now scheduled to leave today (Monday) at 1 p.m. EST. Ecstasy will now sail a three-day cruise to nowhere. According to Carnival, due to near zero visibility, the ship was unable to dock in Galveston until Sunday, and subsequent fog meant it's been marooned in port thereafter.

Passengers were offered two options. Cancel and receive a full refund, 25 percent discount off a future two- to five-day voyage and $45 per person meal allowance (for money spent during the delay). Sail on the modified three-day cruise and receive a 50 percent refund of the cruise fare paid, a 50 percent discount on a future two- to five-day cruise, and $45 per person meal allowance in the form of a shipboard credit.

Carnival Conquest, scheduled to leave Sunday afternoon for a seven-night Caribbean cruise, was unable to depart until Monday morning. It will operate a modified six-night cruise. (Passengers were allowed to embark last night.) The original itinerary called for stops Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel; the Mo-Bay stop has been replaced with a call in Progreso.

According to a Carnival spokesperson, a $15-per-passenger lunch voucher was given for the delay.

Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, set to depart on a seven-night Caribbean cruise on Sunday afternoon, was unable to sail out of Galveston until Monday morning. (According to a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman, passengers were able to board Sunday night.) The ship will now sail a six-night cruise -- it will, however, make all three originally scheduled calls in Roatan, Belize and Cozumel.

Royal Caribbean provided passengers with a $20 onboard credit to cover lunch and any incidentals they incurred yesterday in Galveston.

--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor

--Photo appears courtesy of CGBCruiser.