Magic Late Departure out of Galviston

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by jnweinmann, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. sweetpee_1993

    sweetpee_1993 DIS Veteran

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    We live about 20 minutes from Galveston in Kemah. We took a ride down to the island just for something to do and I wanted to show my husband where we'll be boarding our dog for our upcoming cruise (he wanted to calculate drive time). Anywhoo, we passed the terminals at 5-ish and boarding for both the Disney Magic and Crown Princess was in full swing. We stopped for dinner at Rainforest Cafe at the San Luis Resort area at 6 or so. When we left the restaurant the sun had set and the fog had definitely increased in density during the time we were eating. Especially on the Gulf side of the island, it was THICK. We passed back by the cruise terminals on our way off the island and I noted the time as 7:30. People were still arriving at the terminals, parking, etc. so boarding was definitely still going. We could see the glow of the Funnelvision from Harborside Dr. but couldn't really tell what was on it. The fog on this side of the island wasn't as dense as the Gulf side but it was still pretty darned bad. We figured the ships weren't leaving anytime soon with fog like that. It was really bad.

    DCL's advisory on their website requested all embarking passengers arrive by 9 pm at the latest. Everything we'd seen jived with that.

    At 11:30 pm before I went to sleep I checked the Galveston webcams again. The fog was not improved from what we'd seen when we left the island 4 hours earlier. I checked MarineTraffic.com and the Disney Magic still showed in port at that time. I don't always trust Marine Traffic 100% because sometimes we can see the ship in port but they don't show that. In the webcam the Crown Princess was still in port so it was impossible to see the Magic regardless of if she was there or not.

    Sunday morning when I checked the last track of the Disney Magic before it went out of range on Marine Traffic it looked like it pulled out around 3 am, maybe a little earlier or a little later. Can't remember exactly. Hubby was up at 5 am and checked the webcams. He said shortly after 5 both the previous ships were gone and he watched the Carnival Magic sail into port. No fog at all. Not surprising. We had a 30 degree temperature drop from Saturday night to Sunday morning. At some point the temperature dropped enough for the fog to dissipate. Just not sure what time it was. Was after 11:30, I can tell you that. ;)
     
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  3. Cackyschmackers

    Cackyschmackers Cruise dreamin'

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    We were also stuck on the Magic on Jan 12 trying to disembark. Yes, all the restaurants/quick service was open, and they added movies and activites, but we didn't have the relaxing extra half day some of these posters enjoyed. We needed to fly back to Philadelphia, and our original flight was quite late in the afternoon (4pm) but we still missed it seeing as we were not able to disembark until almost 4pm. We did have to wait in very long lines for one of three secured land lines to be open to call a 1-800 number for rescheduling our air. No internet connection or cell reception was difficult for us having to scramble for last minute arrangements. And although we did have trip insurance, thank goodness, we did not get enough info from crew to determine how to reschedule. We ended up having to book a hotel in Houston that night and had a 15 hour day of connecting flights and delays (w/3 small children in tow; not fun). Basically, we needed more info than we were getting from the crew. Standing in all the lines (for phone and debarkation) then calling the shuttle, hotel and airline made this vacation way more work; left us on a sour note.
     
  4. JackieO

    JackieO Mouseketeer

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    Well I'll stop hoping the fog keeps us out an extra 1/2 day. We are driving in :drive: and in no hurry to get back, a little extra time sounded fun to me. Although, if my 9ers win on Sunday :tinker: I'll be in a HUGE hurry to get back on watch the Superbowl on my big screen!
     
  5. riofriotex

    riofriotex Earning My Ears

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    I'd highly recommend that folks here on DISboards get on the forums in CruiseCritic.com as well. There's a real lack of information in here on anything non-Disney, such as information about ports of departure - particularly one that is new for Disney, like Galveston. Galveston "veterans" on CruiseCritic can tell you fog is a problem this time of year. If I had to fly to Galveston to cruise during fog season, I'd just plan on staying another night (lots of fun stuff to do in Galveston) and fly home the next day.

    There's also a thread in CruiseCritic (in the Royal Caribbean forum, as they've been there a while) with people who specifically watch the harbor webcams for cruise ship arrivals and departures.
     
  6. Weedy

    Weedy DIS Veteran

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    How was Disney suppose to know when the fog would go away? It seems they were lucky just to get into port. They did not leave until 11pm-12 pm because the fog was still bad. If they told everyone one time and then it was even later, how would people have reacted. It was possible that they might not have even made it into to port that evening.
     
  7. tajz90

    tajz90 Mama D

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    Agreed.

    Disney could have guessed, gave info to passengers and then angered them when their guess was wrong.

    Fog happens quite frequently in Galveston and just like any weather, it's hard to predict.
     
  8. riofriotex

    riofriotex Earning My Ears

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    Exactly this. That is why I strongly recommend that anyone flying to and cruising out of Galveston in the foggy season (and January is definitely in that season) just plan on staying an extra day and flying home the next day.
     
  9. Cackyschmackers

    Cackyschmackers Cruise dreamin'

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    The ironic thing here is that DCL CANCELLED my originally planned cruise that was to be in Feb out of Galveston. I never would have "planned" to cruise out on Jan 4. I had no other option, and believe me, we thought long and hard about what to do after we booked 12 months in advance and then DCL cancelled. We weighed all our options, which included already booked airfare and excursions and pulling our 3 kids out of school. I knew all about the fog situation in Galveston and thought I was prepared, since we flew in the day before and were flying out 9 hours after debarkation! We had terribly rough seas and poor weather the first two days, missed the port in Mexico b/c of high swells, and then the fog keeping us from getting home for another day and a half. I am still exhausted mentally and physically three days later. This was not what a vacation should be; too much hard work and money getting home, dragging our poor little girls. We've cruised twice before and traveled all over the country and Europe. Believe me, just as I would never plan to travel to the Caribbean in hurricane season, I never wanted to sail out of Galveston early Jan.
     
  10. Cackyschmackers

    Cackyschmackers Cruise dreamin'

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    You may not be aware of what actually happened; You are correct, I would not want them to give us an incorrect estimation. But when we were stranded out in international waters w/no internet or cell coverage they at that time knew we would dock ~2ish, which we did. It was the next 2 HOURS that we were sailing to and /or in port and they wouldn't let us disembark that got ridiculous! If I could have been given more info at that time, I could have made arrangements then for hotel , shuttle, and/or connecting flights. We had NO info from crew members about what was happening to us AFTER we were cleared and sailing to the port. Those passengers that were driving or flying the next day were I am sure enjoying the extra time. I was unfortunately waiting in a terribly long line for a phone then w/bags in hand in line to disembark and try to catch a shuttle for w/my family of five.
     
  11. dismom73

    dismom73 <font color=darkorchid>It's an illness, I know!<br

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    I'm sorry the vacation ended on a sour note for so many of you. That's really too bad. :(
    Does anyone know the earliest people leaving on the Jan 12th sailing were allowed to arrive at the port? I know people were notified to arrive later than usual, but what happened to people that didn't recieve notification and/or had prearranged hired transportation? Also, is February known for bad fog like January is?
     
  12. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    It was a highly unfortunate situation and I clearly can understand your frustration and uncertainty. However, it likely was out of DCL's hands. A cruise ship cannot just pull into port and allow the passengers off. The ship must be cleared by Customs officials first. When arriving on schedule, there likely is a Customs official/team assigned that task to make it go quickly and smoothly. When delayed arriving, that assigned official/team may not have been available. I won't claim to be at all familiar with the Port in Galveston, but I assume there is more than 1 terminal and more than 1 ship was delayed arriving that day. This likely created a log-jam for Customs. DCL has no control over that fact. So while it may have seemed like DCL wasn't sharing information once the ship was clearly heading into port finally, and then just sitting around not allowing passengers off, DCL was waiting for the "all-clear" from Customs. Again, sorry to hear it tainted the end of your vacation. I hope you enjoyed the cruise otherwise.
     
  13. Gina

    Gina <font color=red>Remembers the Great DIS Board Cras

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    January and February are the two worst months for fog here. We only cruise in February, and of the 3 we've taken out of Galveston we've been delayed twice due to fog. We're fortunate in that we're less than 30 minutes from the cruise terminal, and it's no big deal to be delayed coming back -- the bad part is being delayed in embarking. Hate that!!

    But as others have said, if you cruise from Galveston during these two months, just come in a day early and leave a day later and then you can roll with it and just enjoy your extended vacation of there is a delay.
     
  14. riofriotex

    riofriotex Earning My Ears

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    I believe it was a safety issue, more than anything else. The Coast Guard closed the channel from the Gulf of Mexico into the harbor area because of the fog. Once we were actually docked (and the passenger ramps were in place), disembarkation started pretty quickly. We did Express Walk-Off, were one of the first ones off, quickly through Customs, on our shuttle to Hotel Galvez (and the shuttle driver called ahead so our car would be ready), and on the road heading home by 3:05 PM.
     
  15. riofriotex

    riofriotex Earning My Ears

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    OK, now that really DOES suck. I remember hearing about a cruise in February being cancelled (either on CruiseCritic or here or in a Facebook group for the January 4 cruise that I belong too). I also remember when there was some talk about the January 4 cruise being cancelled, and how upset that made me, as that is the ONLY time I can cruise (out of Galveston, which is most convenient for me). That kind of soured me on Disney before the cruise even started.

    I also agree with your earlier post that the crew could have done a bit better on keeping us informed. I also wish that it had been possible for the ship to be a little closer in, so internet and/or cell phones would have worked (that would have helped everyone). Not sure why we had to wait so far out.

    This was a tough cruise weather-wise. I was very disappointed to miss Costa Maya, but I understood why we did. I was glad we were able to dock in Cozumel early.
     
  16. gunka

    gunka DIS Veteran

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    How is Galveston different than San Francisco? We pulled into the SF port in total fog, we could not see the Golden Gate Bridge until we were almost under it.
     
  17. Gina

    Gina <font color=red>Remembers the Great DIS Board Cras

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    The Galveston channel is extremely narrow, as is the area where they normally have to turn around. Sometimes they'll turn around right before the channel and back in. Either way, it's extremely dangerous in the fog with that little room for error, and the ship traffic volume is always very high. When the authorities close the port, it's for safety reasons.
     
  18. Meghatron

    Meghatron DIS Veteran

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    If I have to fly, I do this no matter where I'm sailing from, regardless of usual weather patterns. We are sailing out of Miami on the WBPC and all west coast flights got us into Miami in the late afternoon or beyond... even a minor delay could have cost us an entire day and forced us to miss the ship. So we booked flights a day earlier and reserved a hotel with a pool for us to relax and recover from all day travel with two kids before we board. Since we live in LA there is no issue if we are late disembarking.

    I consider the price of the extra hotel day to be micro-travel insurance, since we booked our flights with frequent flyer miles instead of DCL (and we bought insurance for those miles used, too). If we ever have the money to sail DCL again after this, I will book DCL air if we can't fit in a buffer day at the beginning and the end.
     
  19. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    Hmmm, ok. This sounds very different than the post I quoted from cackyschmackers about taking 2 hours and not allowed to disembark. Maybe I misunderstood that post.
     
  20. Cackyschmackers

    Cackyschmackers Cruise dreamin'

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    I don't think you misunderstood. We sat in international waters off the coast of Texas for two hours w/out cell phone or internet availability. Then at 2pm when we finally had cell phone service, we waited another two hours sitting in port; not being able to disembark. I am sure it had something to do w/safety and customs, but the problem was that because no crew members would give us any info, I couldn't estimate about when I should rebook my family's missed flight: For that evening? Would we make it to the airport? Or should we book a hotel and flight for the next day. All we could see were crew members running around w/walkie talkies but there was NO communication from them. I am actually tired of talking about this; Bottom line; they needed to have supplied us with the info we needed to continue home.
     
  21. Cackyschmackers

    Cackyschmackers Cruise dreamin'

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    I should have been clearer; the other passenger had Express Walk Off; my family w/three young children could never have done Express Walk Off b/c my children cannot carry any of our 5 bags. We waited a long, long time in line to disembark after Express Walk Off was allowed off the ship. This coupled w/the previous several hours of no communication was grueling for our family.
     

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