Having been anxiously waiting to go with my wife on a boat cruise out of California’s San Pedro Bay, I was somewhat shocked and dismayed to receive an email from Air Canada on Saturday, after the Sabbath, stating that our flight on Sunday morning, December 1, to the Los Angeles Airport had been delayed to 11:00AM. We were originally supposed to leave at 5:40 AM and arrive at LAX at 12:25 PM. The new arrival time of 4:28 PM via Salt Lake City was almost two hours after the ship would leave for our Mexico Cruise.
The worst part was that I had taken out any cancellation insurance for the flight or cruise and I was told now that the cruise line would not refund a “no show.” Trying to sort this out on a Saturday evening when the Travel Agency was closed and the offices of the cruise lines were also closed was frustrating. So, there was nothing I could do that evening. Taking the flight at 11:00 AM on December 1 would accomplish nothing, so we did not even leave the house.
I was distraught as to why God would allow this to happen. He knew we were looking forward to getting away from the cold for a week. He knew about our plans and our anticipation in regard to this trip. On Sunday, I called the credit card company with whom I had booked my flight, using points and cash to buy the tickets, and explained the situation to them. It took some time on the phone, but eventually, they said I would get a refund and my points would be put back on my card, but it would take four to six weeks.
That made me feel a bit better, but what about the price for the cruise?
I went to Penticton, about twenty minutes south of where I live, and talked to the travel agent through whom I booked the cruise. She reiterated the cruise line policy, which I already knew by now, and said she would phone them and get back to me, so I went home. About half an hour later, I got a call from her telling me she tried but the cruise line said, no refund.
Not wanting to give up on this, I called the cruise line myself. After explaining my situation, the agent told me the policy of no refund for no shows. Then I started to tell her that they were a million dollar company, and I was a senior citizen with limited income, and that they had my money and I had nothing in return and that their public customer relations were not very high on the scale. She put me through to the supervisor, and I told him my story, and after some thought, he relented and said I could apply my fare to the next cruise which was on January 5, as the cruises prior to that date were sold out. I had to pay a bit more since that cruise was more costly, due to seasonal prices.I was very happy about that, but why did all of this have to happen?
A few days later, I got an email from Mrs. Johanna Link, asking me if the ship we were supposed to go on was the one in the news she had listened to. She wrote: “I am just watching the news and they said that the cruise ship Norwegian Joy had to come back today because people got sick on board. This is the ship you were supposed to go on, isn’t it?” She also sent a link of an article in regard to the ship, and this is what the CNN article said:
“Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics treated 10 people aboard the Norwegian Joy cruise ship for minor medical complaints after the ship docked early Sunday, the LAFD said. It’s the second time in a week passengers were treated for illness after returning from a trip aboard the vessel. The patients, on a Mexican Riviera cruise, had minor medical complaints and none were transported to hospitals, the LAFD said about Sunday’s incident. It was not immediately clear what caused their illness.
“Initially, the LAFD was expecting to treat 20 patients ‘reporting unspecified illness’ as the cruise ship began to dock, it said. The ship is capable of carrying more than 3,600 guests, according to Norwegian Cruise Line. ‘During Norwegian Joy’s Mexican Riviera sailing, a few guests on board experienced a stomach-related illness,’ the cruise line said in a statement. ‘To mitigate any impact of this rare occurrence, we implemented stringent sanitation procedures. As always, we will continue to monitor this situation.’
“Norwegian Joy experienced a similar incident last week when, the LAFD said, six passengers arriving to Los Angeles from a Panama Canal voyage were treated for flu-like symptoms. Those passengers, who arrived in the Port of Los Angeles on November 24, were diagnosed with norovirus, Los Angeles Port Police Lt. Rosario Ferrara told CNN. They were among 127 passengers and six crew members who reported being ill while aboard the ship, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ill passengers were mostly suffering from diarrhea, the CDC said.”
So then it dawned on me that God was protecting us. As painful as the experience was, He was looking out after two of His begotten children. I had to apologize to God for questioning why this had been happening to us. I should have put my faith and trust in God a bit more. This was a good lesson as Christ tells us that He would never leave or abandon us. He kept His word; I just did not see or understand it at the time. But now I know that the cruise line is aware of the potential problems with sickness, and I know that nothing similar will happen on our cruise on January 5. The lessons have been learned.