Vacations come very infrequently for most working people who have full time jobs. Hours of planning may take place to ensure that the right Cruise or Resort option is chosen, that will meet not just your budget, but the destination experience you want to have. That is why, if there are unforeseen circumstances that occur that can alter those plans, it can be very disappointing.
That is why it is also important for people to understand that as much as you pre-plan there is a possibility that your choices may have to be changed at the last minute, even without your approval. This happens frequently enough that a waiver is written right into the small print of any travel contract you have.
The reason is this: land resorts all over the world are no different than hotels in that they are allowed to “over sell” a property, at any given time. This means that they may sell 120 rooms but only have 100 available, for the week you expected to be there. If other guests have arrived and checked in first, it means that the Resort physically has no room to give you, once you arrive in the Lobby, expecting to check in.
When this happens, a vacation resort has the same policy in place that every other hotel has through out North America and that is they are allowed to move you and everyone travelling in your party, to an equivalent or superior room, to one of their sister properties, within a ‘reasonable’ distance from your expected location. The reasonable distance is determined by the hotel Management and not you.
This can be extremely disappointing if you are travelling with other people and expected to be able to vacation with them. It is also another reason to book your trip as part of a group if you can, because the resorts will work very hard to not inconvenience anyone inside of a group, while moving people outside of one, first. Knowing this is a possibility in the event you are travelling during peak season, will enable you to be prepared in asking for some serious upgrades at the new property and asking for future trip discounts to help alleviate the ‘undue stress’ the move to a new vacation property has placed on your trip expectations.
Changes to your vacation are not just limited to land resorts either. The exact same type of policy is in place when sailing on a cruise ship. The ship you book a cruise on is never oversold, however certain room categories “can be”. The cruise lines have careful control over their inventory of available rooms and so if they oversell a balcony stateroom by 10 cabins, it’s because they have 10 mini suite to upgrade you to once you check in.
Also, many people are unaware that Itinerary changes can happen after you board the vessel. You may have chosen a specific cruise based on the ports of call the ship was making only to discover that when you board and are underway, the Captain may make an announcement that they have changed course and are no longer going to include one or several of the ports you had so carefully chosen.
When you read the fine print of any travel documentation, you will see some version of the following as an explanation:
“ITINERARY CHANGE AFTER DEPARTURE”.
In the event an itinerary change becomes necessary while the ship is at sea or when notice prior to sailing is not feasible, “the cruise line” will attempt to substitute an alternative port. “The cruise line” may, in their discretion and for any purpose, deviate in any direction or for any purpose from the direct or usual course, and omit or change any or all ports of calls, arrival or departure times, with or without notice, for any reason whatsoever, all such deviations being considered as forming part of and included in the proposed voyage. “The cruise line” shall have no liability for any refund or other damages in such circumstances.”
The reason this may happen is based completely on ship, passenger and crew safety. There may be a bad storm that makes docking treacherous; there may have been onshore disturbances that make it unsafe to land. There may be bad weather almost ready to overtake the ship and by deviating slightly, you avoid all bad weather entirely. The Captain will normally give a brief outline as to why the itinerary is changing, but not provide extensive details.
Becoming upset when this happens does not alter the fact that your itinerary is going to change. Of course it will be disappointing because of the planning you may have done, but it is a part of the travel experience when you are dealing with circumstances outside of the control of the cruise line company. Accepting that it may happen will dramatically alter your experience when on-board, if you are faced with a similar circumstance.