Change of plans for Tampa travelers who were supposed to cruise to Cuba
TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Hundreds of passengers arrived at Port Tampa Bay Saturday to board the Carnival Paradise. The cruise ship was originally scheduled to dock in Havana, Cuba, but has since been given a new itinerary.
Many passengers were unhappy with this last-minute change, as it was a dream vacation they had been planning for over a year.
"We just had all these plans. We bought our excursions, and it was going to be everything we thought it was going to be," said Champaigne Spivey, a passenger from Tampa.
The cruise ship's itinerary now shows stops in Cozumel and Grand Cayman.
"Originally planned it just because of Cuba, that's the only reason we planned it. It was supposed to go Key West, Havana and Cozumel, but not anymore," said Luis Vizcaino, a traveler from Phoenix.
Passengers were notified of the changes just days earlier after President Trump announced new travel bans to Cuba on Tuesday. It's a move that administration officials said is in response to Cuba's support of the Maduro government in Venezuela.
"It's OK but it's not what we were planning for, it's not what we were hoping for. We were really disappointed, we were really sad," said Spivey.
It's news that left many travelers feeling less than excited.
"The disappointing thing about that is that we've already been. We try to cruise every year as a family and not repeat places that we've already been," said Stanley Roberts, a traveler from Atlanta who planed to celebrate his 51st birthday in Cuba.
While the cruise line did offer a full refund to guests who opted not to go, for many it was too late for a change of plans.
"We'd all taken off work, some of us had gotten babysitters for a whole week," said Spivey. "It would have just been too much to start then trying to move around things. Because it was so last minute, there was no way for us to get our refund in time to book another trip to go somewhere else."
Despite the last-minute changes, travelers now hope to make the most of their vacation ahead.
"We're all here, we're going to make the best out of it. But outside of that, it's a vacation and we're going to do it," said Vizcaino.