FAIRFIELD (CBS13) — With orders to leave his family behind to serve in South Korea, Staff Sgt. Hugo Reyes booked a three-day Carnival Cruise to Mexico for him, his wife and two kids.
After flying the family down to Los Angeles and driving to the port in Long Beach, Carnival refused to let them board.
Reyes says they were ready to board when Carnival told them there was an inaccuracy on one of the passports and they could not get on the boat.
“You’re not going on the cruise as simple as that,” he recalls.
Reyes says that his family was pulled from boarding and taken back to the terminal and the ship sailed without them.
“It was humiliating,” said Reyes.
Reyes found out that when he booked the cruise on the phone with one of Carnival’s agents, they put the wrong birthdate down for his son Roman.
He says it was not until the family was back home that Carnival admitted its agent entered the wrong birth month for Roman; it showed he was six months old when he was only five months old.
Carnival’s infant policy requires babies be at ‘least six (6) months of age on embarkation day to be eligible to travel.’
CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg says whenever booking a trip, it’s essential to double check birthdates on reservations right away.
No matter the age of a child an airline or cruise line may deny boarding if there’s a mistake.
“In this era, people are denied boarding every single day.”
“Everything has to match your name is put into a security computer,” said Greenberg.
Eventually, Carnival refunded the family’s original airfare and put them on a four-day cruise three weeks later when the baby was old enough.
But Reyes points out he had to burn more vacation time and the last minute re-booked flights cost them more money.
“I had to rearrange everything,” he said.
We reached out to Carnival, which admitted its agent’s mistake saying, “We deeply regret our error and the family’s resulting negative experience. We agree these guests deserve more than a replacement cruise. Therefore, we are providing them with a full refund in addition to the replacement cruise.”
Reyes was happy to have this fixed, before heading off to South Korea.
“I wouldn’t wish anyone to go through such an experience,” he said.
Greenberg says when you book a trip over the phone make sure you receive an email with all the information, including birth dates.
The last thing you want to see happen, is you get turned back because of a wrong birthday.
To avoid this mess travelers should always double check the information and birth dates stated on the reservation. Beware that a lot of hotels, resorts, and cruise lines have age requirements.
In this case, the liability of the mixup falls on the agent that booked the trip.