Flight cancellations disrupt plans for cruises

People unable to fly to South Florida for vacations on ships
Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Silhouette.JPG
Posted at 11:46 PM, Dec 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-29 06:02:24-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With thousands of flights grounded by Southwest Airlines this week, cruise passengers won't be setting sail anytime soon.

Sari Engle, from Gardner, Illinois, is one of them.

"I'm so sad because the last two days I woke up and I'm like, 'Oh, we're not going,'" she said. "I'm still just disappointed that they didn't do something about it right away when they found out it was going to be a problem."

Engle and her sister were set to fly into Miami on Tuesday with plans to soak up the sun in South Beach before embarking on a five-night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Silhouette starting Saturday.

"That way if something happens with a little bit of weather or, you know, slow holiday traffic, we'll for sure get there by, you know, the 29th and in time for the cruise," Engle, who spent 18 months planning the trip, told WPTV.

But as fate would have it, Engle was still forced to cancel due to Southwest's travel nightmare, leading to a costly ripple effect.

"Canceling the car and the people that would pick you up, and dining reservations and, we reserved a golf cart in Key West that I tried to get a deposit back from and I had an Airbnb in Miami," Engle said.

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Fortunately for Engle, she purchased insurance for the cruise, a move travel experts advise with any vacation.

"Of course, it never replaces the family vacation that you've been planning for a year or two, especially coming out of COVID, but it will reimburse for the cost you've spent on that," Laura Reece, with Reece Worldwide Travel, said.

While Engle waits on her refund from the cruise line, she and her sister are making the most of their holiday with a staycation, spending the next few days in the Windy City. They're also looking forward to hitting the high seas in the near future.

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"I'm more than likely we'll probably fly Southwest again and I'll definitely will cruise," she said. "We have other cruises booked." reported 500 passengers did not make it on the Carnival Celebration's departure Tuesday from Miami, despite delaying the voyage a few hours. It has a passenger capacity of 5,374.

Some passengers have chosen to drive thousands of miles to their destination.