Expert offers advice for cruise travelers

February 14, 2013 8:21:33 PM PST
In the wake of the latest problems with a cruise, travel experts are warning everyone to make sure they protect themselves because a vacation can quickly turn into an ordeal.

AAA travel agent Anita Flippin has personally enjoyed a cruise aboard the Triumph.

"The top deck with the pool, I loved the ship," said Flippin. "I took my whole family. It was great."

Flippin has no complaints, but she says Carnival's initial communication with passengers during this ordeal is not a triumph.

"I am disappointed that Carnival has not come out with more information," said Flippin.

Flippin hasn't fielded any calls about the Triumph's now one dozen canceled voyages, but she says it is horror stories like these that lead vacationers to second-guess.

"People suddenly start to doubt, 'Is this the right vacation," said Flippin.

She says that's why it's important to accept that anything can happen when you travel.

With news of an illness on board, Flippin recommends packing medications and non-perishable food if you can whether you are hitting the seas or land.

Although she's never dealt with fires on a cruise liner, she's dealt with clients in hurricanes and deaths who've had to rebook.

"They're suddenly going to find that they have this Carnival credit or they have their change back or their money back, but 'I have a week now and I have nowhere to go now," said Flippin.

Flippin says a travel agent can help. She also highly recommends travel insurance.

Finally, even though a passport isn't necessary for travel in the Caribbean, you never know where you could end up.

"If you have to fly home in an emergency, death of an immediate family member, or your ship is pulling into Mexico as was originally planned," said Flippin. "You can't fly home without a passport."

Travel experts say so far the incident hasn't adversely affected cruise prices and reservations. However, some anticipate once videos from passengers surface that could change.

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