Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bum Voyage

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I was actually trying to keep this on the DL (yo), but John and I planned to slip away for a Caribbean cruise this week.

Which, naturally, made us happy as a couple of pigs with pacifiers.

(What? I work with the cakes I'm given, k?)


We also booked a cabin for my parents, since we don't get to see them much.

These are not my parents.

Nice rat wedding cake, though.


Anyway, so, we flew my folks down,

Bargain airfare ftw!

...and then John and I stayed up all night finishing my sparkly dress for Formal Night:

I'm, uh, really short.


Bright and early Sunday morning, we drove the four and a half hours down to the cruise port:

We like a sweet ride.


When we arrived, though, DISASTER:

Um. I meant that in a more metaphorical sense.

See, I didn't realize my passport had expired a few months earlier, and that meant I wasn't allowed on the ship. Because how could they tell if I was a U.S. citizen? I mean, once the passport expires, I could have been born *anywhere*, right? (/sarcasm)

Ok, so this pig (I think it's a pig) looks more frightened than sarcastic. But do you know how hard it is to find a sarcastic looking cake?

I mean besides this one.

Anyway, getting back to my tragic tale of metaphorical disaster:

So, my passport was a no-go. However, they *would* accept a photocopied birth certificate. Which is illegal to use for identification purposes. And I, unfortunately, didn't have one. But hey, if the red tape says photocopied birth certificates are admissible, but slightly out-of-date passports are not, who am I to question?


Besides, there was some not-so-crappy news: since they were refusing us passage, the cruise line promised us a credit for another cruise, which we could take later. So at least there was that.

Except...it turns out, there's not that.

This is me, watching my family sail away.

Only, you know, with less apples and more snot. [head tilt] And clothing. Definitely more clothing.

Still, I'm trying to keep a positive attitude about all this. Sure, we're out a lot of money, and won't get to see my family again for some time, and have been treated like lying scammers for asking for the voucher we were promised, but anger doesn't solve anything. [nodding seriously]

In fact, Celebrity Cruises, I got you a virtual cookie cake - just to show there are no hard feelings.

See? It's a visual representation of how you treated us! Isn't that sweet?


Aimee F., Erin B., Lindsey N., Alexandra W., Nicole R., Kester, Meredith F., Sarah C., David S., & Samantha S, ok, maybe there are some hard feelings. Teensy tiny ones. Sorry; I'm just a little stressed. I guess I need a vacation.

Oh.

Riiiight.


Update from John: Just the facts, Ma'am.

-The expired passport? Yes, totally our fault. We know. Bummer.

-The cruise line would accept a faxed birth certificate. Totally wrong. Also, passports used to be valid for up to a year after expiration for cruise purposes. I've been on three cruises with an expired passport. The whole ID thing is wonky.

-Two Celebrity employees at the port including a supervisor assured us we would get a voucher for another cruise - but now they won't honor that promise. That's the main issue here.

The Boob Nazi said...

Oh man, I'm sorry about this! How frustrating. I can't believe they wouldn't give you a voucher for another trip.

The Boob Nazi said...

You should've yelled, "DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!? I WRITE CAKE WRECKS!!!" as they dragged you away.

JW said...

That's awful. I wish I could make it better... :(

Jenniffer said...

I'm SO sorry to hear about your dilemma with the Cruise Line? Short of working for the cruise line, is there anything your expansive fan base can do to help? Mass E-mail outcry to the cruise line perhaps?

Trevor said...

I'm sure a zillion people will ask this, but did you really get screwed out of going on cruise with your family? I hope not, because that sucks.

Your commentary, and cake choices, were phenomenal, except the cake with the plane flying into it one. I thought that was a well-done cake, and I've seen it before somewhre. I don't remember where. But someone actually ASKED for that. As we know, people ask for all kinds of strange cakes.

Oh, and I'll bet that rat was supposed to be an armadillo. (Okay, no, I'm really not).

Alex d said...

Guess who was advertising at the end of this post in my feed reader? Royal Caribbean! I would have taken a screen shot but I have yet to get my morning caffeination (is that a word?). Seeing as the total strangers at Celebrity already think so little o you, I take that as license to be as obnoxious as possible.

Katie Cimino Zeliasz said...

Amazing what a letter will do - write to the cruise company and be open about sharing with your tens of thousands (?) or blog followers your disapoinment in their inability to follow through with their promised vouchers... bad press sticks much more than good press - they won't want to risk it for what really costs them very little (2 people out of how many thousands per ship.)You provide me with laughs each day, so I'm happy to write one as well :-)
Fight hard! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

awww, I hope that was just a story, and not a real issue. What's up with all the pig cakes? Did I miss a birthday or random celebration where I need to have a pig cake? Is that something being hidden from me in my future.

Pig cakes: the little known Traditional 51st birthday cake?

Julie said...

Ugh! That really sucks! Does Celebrity Cruises know who you are? Because, as one of your loyal 90 MILLION readers*, I WILL NEVER TAKE A CELEBRITY CRUISE because they didn't take care of you and Jon AS PROMISED!

*OK, so I might have exaggerated a TINY bit.. but I bet your readership is far more than Celebrity Cruises imagines!

flying gargoyle said...

A fellow songwriter once said, "Never, EVER p*** off a songwriter. You just might find yourself immortalized." Carnival Cruises has just discovered that they should not p*** off a woman who is a maestro (maestra?) with cake & humor.

Condolences on your non-cruise and all the nastiness you had to put up with not going on it! I hope your post was cathartic.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, that is terrible! I read your blog on google reader and at the bottom of the post was an ad for carnival cruise lines. It cracked me up. I love your blog, and hope you can get this worked out.

Robin said...

I agree with Katie, write a letter to the cruise line and let them know you have informed your readers of their lousy customer service. I bet you will get some attention then!

BTW, I loved this post!! But I'm sorry you missed the cruise. :0(

Kati In CT said...

I've been following along on twitter. Hopefully you can get some resolution. They definitely don't realize the readership of your twitter feed and blog! A nice reminder to check those expiration dates before heading out!

Classic Steve said...

Oh dear. I'll take this as a cautionary tale so that something good comes out of your experience, besides an interesting wreck framework.

I'm having trouble evaluating the rat cake, because that bride keeps drawing my eyes from it. I think Barbie's melting like the Wicked Witch. That car had better not be edible. The disaster cake must be for Roland Emmerich. Is the "sarcastic" cake congratulating someone on bobbing? Is that green thing a dragon with a scorpion tail for a chin? And how much fiber can one little dog consume?

Brie said...

D: That's terrible! I actually just got back from one, and if that had happened to me...

I am so sorry!

(They're probably soooo ashamed. They'll have to make a public announcement of apology now that you've revealed their terrible slip-up to a couple tens of thousands of daily readers.)

(You should probably take Carnival next time. I think their customer service is better. Disney's is amazing, but they're twice as expensive...sooo worth it...)

Well, look on the bright side...you gave us a reason never take a Celebrity cruise!

...We should protest.

Anonymous said...

It's sad and disappointing when vacation plans fall through, but I don't think that you can put the blame on the cruiseline for ruining your vacation (if this scenario is true anyhow). How do you not know you need a valid passport to travel? I can't imagine why someone would book a trip out of country and not check their passport. I think that's your blunder, not the cruiseline's... it's a passenger's responsibility to make sure they have the proper documentation to travel.

I love this site and am sorry that your vacation plans fell through, but the anger towards the cruiseline (and people threatening to send angry letters on your behalf) seems to gloss over the fact that *you* are the one who messed up in this case.

Mary Connealy said...

What's disturbing to me (okay, too long a list....but still...)
The Barbie Cake.
One--they had to snap off her legs, no way are there mutantly long Barbie legs in that short cake. Ouch!
Two--hair in the Barbie Cake. Barbie hair, which I understand is fully edible, but ick.

Lori DiBacco said...

But the most important question is, did you wish them "Bon Boyage" before they sailed?

Lori

T.T. said...

You and John make my day every day. Every CakeWreck and all the neat/fun things you post on Epbot bring a little happy to my mornings. Thank you and I am so sorry.
I have been following along on twitter and on epbot...I think that the customer service of Celebertiy Cruiseline sucks, and they need to take a good hard look at their policies...allowing a photocopy of a birth certificate...really? It doesn't even have a picture (unless yours does, but it would be a really outdated picture).

Casey said...

That truly sucks. If I recall, both the CostCo magazine and National Geographic Traveler have columnists who will research trip-related problems and help advocate for you with the cruise lines (or travel insurance people, or whoever). Usually the companies cave in because they don't want the bad publicity.

Good luck, and I'm so sorry you missed your trip. I'd be devastated.

Anonymous said...

Assuming the ship was going into international waters, it's better that they refused you passage than have immigration detain you when the cruise ended.

And sorry, but it isn't the cruise line's fault that your passport had expired. Why should they reward you for your mistake? They didn't have enough notice of your "cancellation" to sell the cabin to someone else so why should they, from a bookkeeping standpoint, give you two cruises for the price of one?

On the other hand, love the pig and the rat cakes.

T.T. said...

P.s. I find it interesting that CelebrityUK is following you on twitter. Maybe they are scared of your million+ followers vs their measly thousand+...

Miles Johnson said...

I had the ad for Carnival Cruises at the bottom of Google reader too! Oh, the irony...

Anonymous said...

WOW!

You are right to question why a photocopied birth certificate is better than a slightly outdated passport; PARTICULARLY when your parents are traveling with you! Ugh. Then, to fail to deliver a promised voucher, ouch! I am amazed at how thoughtless and short-sighted businesses can be.

However, that said, the fact that it happened to you and you have a forum for being heard, you can help Celebrity Cruises see the error of their ways. Here is a great opportunity for some other cruise company to get some fabulous publicity and for Celebrity Cruises to feel the weight of their actions. This company will continue to do this sort of thing until someone publicly calls them on it. For all of the other folks who have gotten the shaft in the past, GO YOU for speaking out!

In the meantime,I for one would be happy to donate to a "Cruise for Jen & John" fund. Just tell me where to send the check!

-WM (the great disco newt)

shaz said...

Um, this is a tale of metaphorical disaster right? Cos I'm laughing really hard..and that's not a rat, it's a possum :)

RevAnne said...

Sorry about your trip. How sucky. But I'm glad the cruise line will still honor your ticket, even if it means no family vacation fabulousness.
I'm celebrating B.A.D. day and you're one of those I appreciate. Thanks!
I linked to you here:
http://storiesandfaith.blogspot.com/2010/09/its-bad-day.html

Katie said...

I can't believe they wouldn't give you another voucher when they said they would. I would keep going up the chain of command until you speak with someone who's willing to help you, and if they're not, report them to the BBB.

It's not that they should HAVE to give you a voucher for a circumstance that was, admittedly, your own fault, but once they said they would, it is their responsibility to follow through.

And the cakes were terrible.

Joy said...

I thought this was a hilarious post but... Yeah, not really the cruise line's problem. They really didn't have to offer you a voucher. That said, since they did, they need to follow through on that.

This is also a really good reason to have travel insurance. And use a travel agent. It wouldn't have been more expensive and they would have been able to tell you about the need for a passport or birth certificate. The laws regarding passports changed a couple years back. The cruise industry fought to have an exception made for cruises starting and ending in the US. But it's still highly recommended that you have a passport to avoid any problems. Trust me, you don't want to hear about some issues that have come up.

Also, as an FYI to any other readers who may travel soon, many countries also require your passport to be valid for 6 months past your expected return date. So if you are going to Jamaica for Valentine's Day 2011, your passport needs to be good through August of 2011.

Miranda said...

Okay, those are well and truly effed up.

I hope the cruise story is just for funsies. ;)

Marcy W. said...

So, everyone realizes that last post was just a schtick, right? Anywho, onward and upward.

WaytogoBob. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I needed that badly this morning. Thank you. Is there anything I can do for you?

WifeOfSeth said...

I'm assuming the couple with the rat cake is either from, or visiting, New Orleans. I'm also assuming it's a nutria- which are HUGE rat-like creatures found pretty much in and around NOLA.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of those creatures on a dinner table, roasted, while visiting a friend who lived deep in the Bayou.

By 'deep', I mean 'the house was only accessible by a boat ride through the scariest swamp-like place I've ever seen'.

Anyway...


Hey, what if all of us wrote an email/letter to Celebrity telling them we'll NEVER even consider booking with them because of how they treated you?

leannwoo said...

OMG Jen, I'm just sick to my stomach reading your post! How horrible! :(

I hope they make this right for you! And how horrible that your family sailed away without you!

Anonymous said...

To the few critical cakewreck readers who feel the need to point out that Jen was at fault for not checking her passport before leaving,

Yes, we agree with you and see that point as well. Please note that Jen is owning her mistake. She is not disputing that fact.

However, the reason why I and other cakewreck readers are backing her so strongly is because she was PROMISED a voucher for a future cruise that they are now FAILING TO DELIVER . If you have ever had a company do that to you, you know how it feels and why the company should be admonished for their action (or inaction in this case). Don't make promises you don't intend to keep!

Until they make good on their promised voucher, Celebrity Cruises deserve every angry letter and outcry sent their way.

-WM (the great disco newt)

Marcy W. said...

OK, so apparently I am stupid. FAIL! You did actually try to go on a cruise. I'm sorry. Hey Marcy, way to be an insensitive jerk.

Melissa said...

Sooo sorry to hear about your dashed vacation plans! You make my family laugh every day and now whenever we go to the grocery store, we check the bakery for possible cake wrecks! I would keep arguing with Celebrity since they did promise you a voucher!!! Even if all they will do is give you a discount, that's better than nothing. Hope it all works out!

We Don't Mean to Brag said...

That is horrible news. I hope you get a chance to reconcile with Celebrity Cruises before all your readers cancel their trips. 'Cause that is bound to happen now you know.

Anonymous said...

I guess that means no pictures of the waiters dancing with cakes on their heads at the final cruise dinner. Always my favorite.

Sharyn in Superior said...

Jen and John, I'm so sorry your trip was ruined. What can we do to make you feel better? Perhaps a contest to immortalize this story in cake? On which "Celebrity Cruises" figure prominently -- let's keep the blood splatters and poo piles tasteful, please? I think the winner would look great as the cover of your next book... Gee, how many copies of the last one sold again? (So far, I've bought 9 -- although you should sell the next one with a kleenex pocket pack. EVERYBODY I gave it to laughed until they cried.) Or maybe Threadless could design a shirt, which could then be immortilized in cake at a later date.

On the bright side, I'll bet your cats were thrilled to see you. (Not that they'd let you know it...) Best of luck the next time you try for a vacation.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm so sorry for your treatment. I was just talking to my husband about taking a cruise and we were considering the different carriers and now I am definitely sold on Disney.

Elizabeth C. said...

Okay so if you look like a clothed version of the pig cake you must also have disproportionately huge arms?
I mean look at those things! That is re-donk-u-lous.
Also, antiduckface.com would love the bride in the possum cake pic (was the theme of the wedding ACTUALLY white trash?).
Oh and the plane/ship wreck is from Ace of Cakes. It is well done, but a literal cake wreck :)

Ashley said...

My whole family planned a trip to mexico. we arrived at the airport after midnight to take our overnight flight only to realise my mom's passport had expired the day before, which actually meant like an hour before. And all the reservations were in her name. oops. we really could have used a cake then

linguina said...

I just went to their website and let them know the voucher thing makes me think I'll never take a cruise on that line.

This is a hilarious presentation of the story, though. :-D

scyllacat said...

I'm one of those people who can always tell you how you didn't fulfill the red tape, but really, don't stop until you haz a vacation trip. After all, you bought it, right?

scyllacat said...

Oh, P.S. That first pig was amazing. Tusks, and a razorback ridge, while still being as pink and bald as baby Wilbur.

And the rat/armadillo/possum cake just does not for one moment compare to the gold lame pants, tiara, and "Yeah, I'm THAT hot" look on the bride's face. The matching airbrushed t-shirts just make it. This MUST have been taken somewhere between Destin and Mobile.

pdxnico said...

Who knew Oceanic flight 815 hit the Titanic?
Was that in the reset reality?

So many questions, so many cake wrecks.

Kate said...

I LOVE the sarcasm cake!

http://arguingwithadoughnut.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

You're probably not going to like this comment, and feel free not to approve it but...

Take heart in knowing that while the photocopied birth certificat might have been enough for the cruise line it wouldn't be enough for customs so in actual fact you likely still would not have been allowed on the ship. And I hate to tell you this but as a travel agent I've never heard of the cruise line offering a voucher to someone for another cruise because they didn't have adequate documentation. Otherwise the cruise line would be out the revenue from the cabin that they otherwise could have sold.

I'm going to assume you didn't use a travel agent for this booking. There are reasons we exist, like making sure clients know what documentation they require to be able to take their vacation. It won't cost you any more to use a travel agent than booking on your own, can actually save you money, and when things go wrong you have someone to advocate on your behalf.

I'm really, really sorry that you missed your cruise, especially a Celebrity one, and there's always a chance that you might get them to come through with vouchers (although I'm willing to bet that whoever mentioned them wasn't authorised to offer them). Keep trying, you never know what will happen. You can always try writing to Christopher Elliot (travel ombudsman) to see if he'll mediate your case.

Sharon said...

o.@ Yipe!

The last one reminds me of Bob the dog from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.

I'm not easily intimated by bad cake decorating, but I'd trash that one.

Anonymous said...

Anyone for synthetic Barbie hair in their icing? yum, yum!

Anonymous said...

I once had a similar experience when I tried to travel to a country and found I did not have a visa. I agree this was my fault, but it sure would help if travel agents booking flights and cruises said clearly YOU NEED THE FOLLOWING TRAVEL DOCUMENTS. I mean, what is a travel agent for? Or for that matter, even an information panel on a website for booking tickets would seem to be in order.

Caroline said...

I know the happy couple with the rat cake & just FYI they were at a themed engagement party. Trust me the actual wedding was a much classier affair with less gold lame and fewer tiaras!

Anonymous said...

Sorry you didn't check your passport, but the cruise lines are very adamant in their literature that passengers have proper passports. Remember that they stocked the ship with food for you, and they didn't sell your cabin to others, based on your cruising, so they will be out real $ if they let you cruise a different time. Travel regulations are a bitch these days-no argument there!

Anonymous said...

Well, poooh! I think Jen was not complaining so much that she could not take responsibility for her passport, but that at one instance she was promised a voucher for a later trip and then was refused that voucher - right Jen? On the other hand, I wonder what kind of post we would have received if she had been detained by immigration on her return trip. Oh such fun :-). Norine

earthquakesandrattlesnakes said...

Good One, Jen!

earthquakesandrattlesnakes said...

p.l. say hello to your parents for me.

Anonymous said...

I've been following this story on Twitter, and I have to agree with the folks who say you should have checked your passport expiry date. And to the one person who said Jen owned up to making a mistake there, I would disagree. It sounds like she doesn't understand and resents the fact that you need a valid passport for international travel.

I am sorry that they didn't deliver on the voucher you were promised, but next time, make sure your passport is valid before trying to leave the country

Amanda H said...

I hope to be as famous as you someday so I can go on a Celebrity Cruise! What's Charo really like?!

Lessa said...

Dear Jen, I have a friend who can take very good care of you. She's all about the cruises and relentless about good customer service.

Lessa

Sarah said...

They should realize the power of word of mouth on the internet! I will certainly think twice before booking a cruise with them...I mean with all those cruises I take and all.

dharmamama said...

Awww, the poor piggie in pic # 7 was so scared, he pooed everywhere...

and now I'm laughing, 'cause I had to google check the correct spelling of 'pooed'.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me the only thing the cruise line did wrong was when someone felt sorry for you and offered a voucher that they were not authorized to offer. That has happened to me before. I once was late for a plane because I forgot my wallet and ID. Yeah, they wouldn't let me board either (and this was pre-9/11 security). So I had to go all the way home and back. Even though the plane was still at the terminal, they wouldn't let me on b/c boarding had ended two minutes prior to my arrival. Ugh. But I knew it was my stupidity and not theirs. They were following policy. I ended up getting bounced around on standby with the "promise" of getting to my destination, and eventually buying an additional ticket to just give up and go home after a long day of flying around in circles. So yeah, I have had something like this happen to me. You seem to think that this was done "to you," and that the cruise line should have accepted your invalid passport. I can sympathize with the doing something dumb to ruin my vacation aspect of the story, but I don't think the cruise line deserves the wrath of a poop cake.

Crescent Moon said...

Well, maybe this cautionary tale has saved many other people from making the same mistake. I am imagining readers of this blog running to check the date on their passports right now.

Christy said...

I'll echo those that say if you didn't check your passport, then you're responsible. My husband left his green card at home when we left the country to go to Canada, and I (a US citizen) had to drive back many hours by myself to get it so he could re-enter the country. It sucked, and sure they could look up that he's a legal resident and let him back in, but we were supposed to have it and we didn't. Our mistake. If I were awesome, I would also post a re-telling of this involving humorous cakes, because it did suck. But I wouldn't want anyone to write in on my behalf and complain, so make sure that's what Jen wants before all of you do so.

They may even have a policy of what to do when people don't have proper identification, and even if someone promised a voucher, that doesn't mean they'll fulfill it if it goes against company policy.

Heidi D said...

That powerful sucks!

Liz said...

I've never commented before, but this was too much. I'd be happy to join in a letter writing campaign for you to get your voucher. I know it sucks, but don't give up until you have it.

Christy said...

Um... am I the only one who reads this and thinks, "what a funny joke" instead of, "this stuff actually happened to Jen and John?"

Tricia L said...

As a former travel agent, I can tell you that cruise line employees/contractors are notorious for promising vouchers/refunds/free cruises that the cruise line will deny. Spent many a day trying to track down these promises and never saw one.

Oh, yeah, also spent many a day reminding clients to check their passports well in advance of their trips.

BTW, those cakes are really unpleasant.

River Watson said...

I failed to notice that my debit card had expired while I was on my honeymoon. Expiration dates are EASY to overlook!

Anne said...

We need to get Jen a gorgeous, tasty cake to celebrate getting her new passport, should she decide to get one, and that voucher the cruise line promised (but apparently never intended to give out). Or let's round up some of the most patriotic wrecks if she gets the version with the over the top "typical" American scenes (bison thundering over the plains, cowboys, Mount Rushmore, etc.) with inspirational quotations (trust me, you have to see it to believe it).

That's so weird a photocopied birth certificate is a valid ID. Really? I don't have my birth certificate, as my mom still insists on keeping it in her bank's safe deposit box thanks to finding out that to get a copy costs well over $100, requires going through a ridiculous amount of paperwork, and will take months. (The hospital where I was born is no more, which is only part of the problem.) I should have her get it out and just make a regular photocopy, apparently...

Actually, while Joy's rule of thumb of making sure your passport is valid for 6 months after your planned trip, things are even more complicated, as this varies from country to country. At least one country requires that your passport be valid a full calendar year from your trip. Some countries are just being jerks, but for most it's in case you decide to stay the full length of your visa, which can range from 3 to 6 months after entry. And things change more frequently than you might think, with not all changes being posted in obvious places right away, so if you are planning a trip abroad it's best to check back constantly.

Anonymous said...

I find it incredibly hilarious that Princess Cruise Line is advertised at the top of your website right now.

str4y said...

Wow...that sucks SO much.
Having similar experiences in the past, I offer my most sincere condolences. I hope you get your vacation soon and that someone smacks the cruise line in the head.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, totally agree with a few others that this is entirely your fault and has nothing to do with the cruise line. I've taken 4 different cruises and my parents are taking their 17th in 2 weeks. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME all over every piece of paperwork is says you need a valid passport. It's not their fault you chose to not thoroughly read your cruise documents and you didn't bother to look at your passport. They don't owe you anything, since you "canceled" last minute and they couldn't re-book the room.

Sherry Richert Belul said...

I am SO sad for you that you got cheated out of your cruise. But maybe it will make you feel a teensy bit better that you've transformed that awful experience into something wonderful for other people (us). I'm on board (sorry for the unfortunate pun) with the other folks who are willing to write letters to the cruise company on your behalf. Really.

Stoich91 said...

Most ridiculous! I don't know if I'm crying because I'm laughing so hard (*definitely more clothes* line, lol ftw! :D) or because I feel so bad for you guys. Man, take a cruise with the big guys (Carnival, or DISNEY< hello?!) and you'll get better service, and probably a better cruise! Sorry about the mess up this time; too bad you didn't play it up and pretend you were from Iraq, trying to sneak into the Bahamas and wreck havoc on their...uh...palm trees. Yeahhh....so...ahem. Seeing how unauthentically American you are...
;)

ClothDragon said...

Wow. I'm writing in today to say (with my nose is in the air -- which I have to add because, you know, you can't see it. But it is because I need to have it there to better look down on you) that this whole thing is your fault. And I must tell you this because reminding people over and over of their mistakes is much better manners that commiserating. And much more satisfying than feeling sad for someone else's bad luck. So I'm just going to sit back now and feel very satisfied that I have set you straight and that you now know better than to humorously illustrate a slew of bad news with a series of bad cakes. (Now my eyebrows are also up so you can see me looking all haughty and superior.)


--- Really truly sorry this happened. With all the US traveling you've been doing lately, I can easily see how you might have forgotten to check a date on a passport. (Because if you're packing a bag every two weeks anyway, it's easy to think of it as just one more trip -- especially when you are making arrangements to meet up with a whole other group and you're adding worry of that part into something that's become second-nature to you.)

For my B.A.D. day, I'd like to say thank you, because yours is the site that makes me laugh the most.

EG said...

Gotta love Google Reader. At the bottom of my feed was an ad for a company saying, "Need a Passport FAST?"

smalltownmom said...

Celebrity Cruise Line is evil! We should all go down to the port and storm the ship! Jen - will you bring the cake?

Curly-T said...

To join the crowd - that sucks!

On the up side - your "way to go bob" sarcasm cake totally made me smile a little after a horrible lunch hour.

Still - fight for you right - to a voucher (and to party!)

Robin said...

Wow Rob and I were 90% sure we were going to book our Honeymoon through them this week. HECK no now! There's no way I'm willing to sink such a large chunk of money with a company that clearly has such terrible customer service. That's absurd. I hope we can all pressure them into giving you what they promised you. I'll start the letter writing campaign!

Joanne said...

oh wow. Major - MAJOR disappointment. Bet you check the exp. date of your passport from here on out.
Good luck with that voucher. Cruise lines used to be pretty true to their word so you just might get a surprise.

Anonymous said...

Fight! Email letters, send written letters and then send them a copy of your book with the website info and tell them that you are doing a CRUISE COUNTDOWN till they make it right and post the days and the cruise lines name at the bottom of the post EVERY DAY TILL THEY MAKE IT RIGHT!!!
Also give your loyal band of followers the contact info to do the same, and I bet you'll get your vouchers.

STATJR said...

I saw on your tweeter page that the cruise line follows your tweets. You should really, really, really (did I say really???) tweet the heck out of it. Let them know how you feel and how many different ways (cakewrecks, epbot, twitter, etc) that you have let people know about their disservice.

Polly said...

If you booked this cruise with a credit card, you need to see if it is one that has travel insurance built in. For instance, our Visa we have through our bank has it automatically, so if we were in your shoes... *voila*

The lesson here unfortunately is that while Celebrity needs to have a law-abiding and consistent stance on identification...always check your passport because ultimately you are responsible. For instance, I know that my passport is getting up there, so if I were to go on a cruise soon I'd definitely check it. These days you can't be certain!

pikkewyntjie said...

I am a "fan" of inappropriate contextual advertising and I love the ones mentioned here. I even kept refreshing in hopes I would get one, but all I got were cheap textbooks and "free" credit reports.
I liked that frosted car. I wonder if that's real icing and how long in lasted, especially in heat and humidity.

Rae Gateley said...

Aw, that first cake doesn't qualify as a Wreck. It's an adorable baby Razorback!

spencers said...

I look forward to your blog each day. It always makes me smile. So I just had to say - so sorry - the whole thing is just really awful all the way around.

1Kathleen said...

almost as distracting as the gold spandex pants, the rat/possum cake and the wife beater t-shirt is the fact that that bride to be seems to have on my grandmothers underwear.

Space Coast Conservative [dot]com said...

Jen, So sorry that you missed the cruise with your family. That's so sad and I can't imagine having to wave goodbye to them as the ship left.

I have cruised with Celebrity about ten times and when they did a voucher for me (I've had only one), it took about two months to appear in the mail; without me having to remind them. Do not give up so easily on their good will toward their customers. I have yet to be disappointed in Celebrity when it comes to trying to correct something -- even when it's something not their fault. They're a good company and I have full faith that they will come through for you.

Let's just hope that you don't have to "eat your words" and will regret this post when the voucher does show up.

But, again, it must have been so difficult to wave your family off on the cruise you should have been on. That's heartbreaking. I'm so sorry that happened.

(And, no, I do NOT work for them, their parent company or anyone else besides my hubby and children. So please don't think I'm their employee trying to save face for them.)

Daisy said...

Jen,

I'm really sorry to read about your misfortune. I've been denied boarding onto a plane once because the ticket, purchased by the guy I'd just married, was issued under my married name while my ID card was still under my single name. (And this was pre-9/11 to boot!)

I do some programming at work and one thing I've had to include in all of the code I write is to ask confirmation from users that they understand what they're doing first before proceeding. While the users know that they're responsible for reading the manual before they start using, the fact is that very few of them do, and the majority who don't all wind up making more or less the same error. Shaming them into taking more responsibility for learning proper usage went nowhere; it became necessary for me to place safeguards in the program to protect the users from themselves. Yeah, users don't like getting pesky dialog boxes telling them that they've forgotten this or they did that wrong, but in the end no one's complaining when they're able to perform a successful transaction.

I'd bet this is not the first time that Celebrity has had to deal with outdated passports, so if a current passport is a MUST in order to board ship, that detail should have been made crystal-clear to you at the time you booked your reservation (whether you did it online or over the phone). Some who disagree with your post say that it was your responsibility to check your passport first, and I would concur, but as another reader pointed out, when you travel often, the validity of your passport is easily taken for granted--who among us checks their passports regularly, even yearly?

I'm aware that you're a grown woman who will admit when she's made a mistake, and in my eyes you have. I hope everything turns out well for you.

Craig said...

A photocopied birth certificate is not considered legal ID? Imagine that...

#1 What did Wilbur do to anyone? Is there no justice??

#2 Isn't that Spaceship Earth?

#3 Lindsey's birthday was forever marred by the same-day crash of Oceanic 814 near Poo Lake (into which empties the famous creek). The flight that followed didn't fare much better, but at least the smell was more tolerable.

#5 Cake cars always look like they drove out of the car wash too soon.

#6 Shouldn't the ship be the 'Poseidon'? I agree with the passport comment -- the same principle applies to most personal documents, actually.

#7 Is there a prize for guessing what it is? What surrounds it is obvious, at least. Too Much Information on a cake board.

#8 looks like it should be a prize at a Halloween party, but the 'patriotic' flotsam says otherwise.

#9 Puff the Magic Dragon -- after one too many puffs.

#11 As a dog owner, I can say this cake is accurate. At least, that's how it seems at times. Oy.

I'm down with a boycott -- anyone else?

Tina said...

I'm such a fool, I'm actually kind of scared to ever take a cruise because of...you guessed it...Titanic. Just the idea of being in some tiny cabin in the middle of the bottom of a ship in the middle of the ocean is like...no. No thank you. AND I LOVE THE OCEAN!

JJ said...

dHmm maybe when they figure out that a whole mess of people saw this blog and how screwed up the situation was, they'll think twice. Sorry you didn't get to go on your vacation. :-(

Anonymous said...

For the future, you can get an expedited passport, overnight, and could have met the ship at its first stop. If the passport office in town won't help, your congressperson will.
I once had my passport expire while I was IN a foreign country. I went to the American Embassy, and it took them all of 15 minutes to issue a new passport. Using an ID photo I took in a photobooth.

If the cruise line had let you on, and you couldn't get off because of your papers, then what do they do?

I did once cross into Switzerland on my CA driver's license (who knew?) and into Germany on an expired passport. The German guard checked the photo and waved me through.

Julie said...

That totally sucks. Celebrity deserves to get that "cookie" in a non-virtual kind of way.

Pam said...

This really sux! I've never taken a cruise, but should I do so in the future, I will NOT book with that company! I would think getting a lawyer involved might be a good thing. Loved the pics as usual!

Late said...

Oh, guys, I'm SO sorry! I wish I could do something to help. Hey, maybe you could do what the guy with the guitar on the airplane did! Ya know. Except you accept the cruise, and stuff...maybe not the best example. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Chelsey said...

Yes, we all recognize that the expired passport was her fault. THe real issue is the 3 employees who promised a voucher and the company that failed to follow up on that promise. Cruise lines are all about nickle-and-diming you at every possible moment, and this is just another example. The industry really needs to be cleaned up, because instances like this are putting a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

CattOfTheGarage said...

That is really awful! I feel for you, working hard every day for our idle entertainment, you definitely deserve a holiday.

Keep kicking up about the voucher, if you wear them down they'll give in eventually. Threaten to go to the papers or something. Just grab on like a bulldog and don't let go until they squeal!

Emily said...

That sucks! Celebrity prides itself on customer service, but then lies to you about providing a voucher and then can't follow-through on that promise? You would think at a time like this when tourism is down, the least they could do would be to be honest to their customers. We were planning a cruise to the Caribbean in the spring and this would seriously consider boycotting Celebrity over this type of behavior. Good luck to you guys...

Anonymous said...

The very, very best way to get this resolved AND get yourself that voucher is to write a personal letter to the head of Celebrity Cruises. Not a supervisor, but the actual CEO...wait a minute, I'll look up their name for you, hang on...ok...you want Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD, under which Celebrity operates. Write a personal letter, making sure the first couple of sentences are complimentary of SOMETHING about their company. Then detail your experiences and detail the promises you were made. Make sure you tell them about your blog as well, and that you would like them to resolve your problem so that you don't have to continue to talk about them negatively to the world. We had to resort to this when a problem with our time share came up, and believe me, it got a response. Every CEO has a secretary, and every letter is read either by the CEO or the assistant (secretary) and problems are resolved. I got this advice from some guy who does complaint resolution, he said always go to the CEO and you'll get results. Good luck! NH

Anonymous said...

I just sent them an email with a link and a message about how I won't be booking a trip with them any time soon.

Keep us updated and more snarky emails can be sent!

Anastasia said...

You may have done yourself a favor by not going on Celebrity Cruises...I live in Miami and have cruised all the major lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL) but have avoided Celebrity like the plague - they have a TERRIBLE reputation!!! Poor customer service, dirty boats, nasty food...every one of the people I have spoken with who has taken a cruise with them has had a mediocre experience at best, and a disastrous one at worst.

Still, I'm sorry you didn't get to board...book Royal next time and you can park at my place (it's a $15 cab ride to the Port of Miami...sure beats the $20/day they charge you to park at the port)!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. They make it so easy for illegals to scam the system, those who wouldn't hestate to have someone fax an altered certificate.
But it is so hartd for honest ppl to deal with the red tape. The state dept clearly states on website that an expired passport is valid for travel. The only reason they expire is to get a current photo.
I had trouble with the state of Georgia not letting me have a drivers license because mine was expired.
Alex

Texpenguin said...

Jen knows it was her fault, and she knows it's not a voucher-worthy screw-up, but imagine how sad you'd be if you found out that silver lining was a mirage and really there's just cloud. Those employees should never have uttered the word 'voucher' if they weren't authorized to offer one, but they did, and got Jen's hopes up, just to dash them again. It doesn't matter whose fault it was at this point--it was a bum deal all around, so let's just let Jen vent if she needs to, offer her virtual (((hugs))) and our sympathy, but because this sort of thing could happen to any of us, and we would feel just as crappy about it.

Morgan said...

That sucks! What a bummer! :0( Hope your week has a really happy surprise to make up for this!
*hug*

Anonymous said...

reading more comments, I am amazed at all the sourpusses who can't fathom that people make mistakes like missing or missreading an expiration date. I guess perfect people don't get those of us who sometimes overlook things.
Of course Jen knew she needed a passport. That is why she brought it! She didn't realize it had expired. Ok. They aren't going to let here go. But they would let her go if she had Guido fax her some crappy copy of someones birth certificate with her name on it.
And of course no on can use any logic and deduce that since her parents are born in the US, she is automatically a citizen no matter where she is born. And they can't take her parent word for the fact that they are her parents, even though their word is what caused the birth certificate to be certificated in the first place!!!!
She is upset about the unfairness and stupidity of the rules. The rules easily skirted by people who want to break the rules.
And the 2nd heart break when the consolation certificate didn't materialize. And yes, there are plenty of off peak times that an incremental passenger would cost very little if the ship wasn't going to be full, and there would be additional fees anyay. Much better for them than the cost of pissing off someone with such a loud voice. Jesus, lighten up people. Jen is having a hard time.
I certainly don't need snotty finger pointers telling me how bad I screwed up after I trigger a big disappointment like this myself.
A little sympathy people!!
And if you are going to slam a blog author, have the guts to post your name, Anonymous!!!!
They shouldn't allow "mean spirited" comments through especially if posted by cowards who won't use their name.

Alex

T said...

same story - different year... still haven't taken a cruise... at least I have Cake Wrecks to make me smile.

quickbite said...

I find it unfortunate that the ad on my Google Reader feed under this was for a cruise line...

Laurel H. said...

Hey! Do you want all of us to email them and threaten to NOT travel on their cruise line?!!

Lisa said...

Conde Nast Traveler has a great section called "Ombudsman" that could help, I'd write to them.

Lisa said...

Oh, and I really love that all the long diatribes about what a boobyhead you are for making a *mistake* are posted anonymously. If you're going to criticize, people, how about putting a name to yourselves?

I think we know who the real boobyheads are here.

~Nikki~ said...

A pig with a pacifier... a dog on a pile of poop... doesn't that just scream "EAT ME"? LOL



check out my blog: nikkiscakery.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. Seems like when I've made cruise reservations before, I've had to input my passport information, including expiration date. At least that would send alarm bells off that something's wrong before you actually show up for the trip. Having said that--I've been on two cruises and they aren't my cup of tea. But watching my family leave without me, even to the city dump, would suck. I hope you get your voucher--doesn't seem like it would be that big of a deal for them to give you one.
It kills me that anyone wouldn't know when their passport expires, but I guess if you've got a lot going on, anything could happen.

Anonymous said...

Blast! :(

Anonymous said...

Wow, I wish I could of smiled more while I read this post, but hearing about your horrible day made me feel soooo bad for you guys! I hardly get to see my family and I can't immagine how I would of taken the news that suddenly my planned vacation wasn't going to happen. Sympathy vibes!!!

Anonymous said...

I totally feel for you. My mother was all set to come and visit me in Chicago. She lives in Canada. I got transferred in work. The cancelation insurance won't honor her either.

Well I won't be using celebrity cruises thanx for the info.

Marylynne said...

My husband and I went on a cruise over the summer with Royal. I went over the list of documents a hundred times - a valid passport OR a valid government ID and a birth certificate for U.S. citizens starting and ending in the U.S. We had our licenses and original birth certificates. The guy checking the docs said to me, "Oh - you got married." Yeah, 20 years ago! Turns out if the license doesn't match the birth certificate, I need a marriage license. That was, I must point out, NOT on the list of documents needed. Some couples in the waiting room were having family members go to their house, get the license, and fax it. My husband, luckily, had once scanned all our birth certs and marriage license and emailed it to himself, so he borrowed the clerk's smartphone and emailed it to him. If we hadn't been able to get a copy of our license, I wasn't going on that trip.

Shari said...

So, you weren't treated like a celebrity by Celebrity? Boy, are they stupid! I like the personalized cookie for them-although if it were me, I'd get them the real thing!

Anonymous said...

Bwahahaha where do you find these cakes

david said...

As soon as the cruise line (should have said) "Bring your passports!" you should've checked them. Also, it's not them being "not nice" to let you on with an expired passport, IT'S THE LAW.

Bec said...

Put it on Reddit. They'll figure something out!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry people! I'm sure Jen will religiously check her passport exp date every time she leaves the house from now on. Going to get groceries...check passport. Going to dentist...check passport. Mani/pedi...passport. She has learned her lesson, so we can all stop telling her this was all her fault and should be stoned, right??

Beth

Rebecca and Aaron said...

Contact the Better Business Bureau immediately!! Most companies that won't deal with you, will make amends once you get the BBB involved. And if you paid by credit card, call them AND send a written notice that you did not receive what you paid for. Good luck!

Carrietastic said...

Ouch, that really burns. Lots and lots. :( :( :(

At least you got to go to Dragon*Con. DRAGON*CON!

Erica said...

Try contacting Christopher Elliott, http://www.elliott.org/. He's a consumer advocate and has a Travel Troubleshooter column on Frommers.com where he helps people with similar travel problems.

Goueznou said...

That's awful. I hope they get shamed into giving you vouchers for TWO cruises.

On another note, though, I think I'm starting to notice a theme this week. I hope it's not just coincidence, and that it's leading up to a Sunday Sweets based on -- well, I won't give it away, in case other readers haven't caught on to the date; but it certainly makes for an amusing revenge fantasy (against the cruise line, I mean).

Swampgirl said...

Our cruise story is different- here is the short version. Had tickets to cruise Oct, 2009. Last minute we could not go(could not leave a sick child). Knew the tickets were non-refundable. Did not even try. Cruise called -sorry you missed the ship, can you fly to Mexico and board there? Ha, no. Three months later they sent a refund- we did not even ask for!!! So there are some nice guys out there! We cruised in June, 2010 and took the child!

Karyl said...

In this economy I can't believe a company would act like that. For the people who were snarky enough to comment that the cruise ship didn't have time to resell the cabin, puh-leeze. That ship was not full. With the amount of money they will make from you for extras (drinks, shore excursions, meal upgrades, gifts, etc.), offering a voucher makes perfect sense. I hope Celebrity Cruises will reconsider.

Ilze said...

I see some really bad animals-as-cake and
2 cakes with a plane crash. Who thinks up this stuff? Makes me shudder to think about it.

MollyMcB said...

That sucks beyond words. Ok, where's the petition?

dragonet2 said...

Totally stupid of the cruise staff. EXPIRED PASSPORTS ARE GOOD ENOUGH AS THE WHOLE DOCUMENTATION TO GET NEW ONES. Without any other certification. Even ones that expired when one was 21 or sol. And one was 40-ish. I Jumped through all the hoops to make sure I had all the pieces parts and got told that the old one was the best piece of info and the other stuff was a waste of time.

Discovered that a long while ago. So the cruise ship company is being stupid.

I feel badly for you but the cruise co deserves a whacking.

Dana said...

I hope you receive the voucher you were promised by the three employees of the cruise lines. Did you get their names for a letter?

Yes, you made a mistake - it happens, but they gave you some kind of hope and made a promise in the company's name. The company needs to make good on it and not just offer some small discount on a future cruise. I know if I was lied to by the employees of a corporation, I would never utilizing that company's services ever again.

I have been looking at taking my daughter on a cruise before she goes off to college next summer. This has pretty much taken Celebrity right off my list of cruise lines to look into.

Juno said...

Hey Jen!! Did you know that Mensa International, the club for the smartest people in the world (you have to test in the top 2% of the population to be considered) put out the 50 top websites their members like, and Cake Wrecks was on it? Wow, you're both fun AND educational!

WV: unpredi
Those cakes are unpredi.

Anonymous said...

Icebergs and airplanes-- Now THAT'S an epic story of mass transport romance tinged w/ hubris,yo!

Dana said...

Ouch, that sucks. :( I reiterate writing a letter to the cruise line, but I would make sure to send it to the President, CEO, Board Chairman, and anyone else of import (you can usually find all of this info on the company's website under investor relations). You'll get better and faster responses this way.

You could have hung out at my place. I'm about 10 minutes from the port, on the Beach. It's no cruise, but I could have dug up some little paper umbrellas for your juice boxes.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

I just had to tell you that when I read this post in my Google reader, the ad at the bottom was for Royal Carribbean cruises.

Reagan said...

I'm sorry you missed your vacation and all, but really? If you had even glanced at your travel document requirements, valid passport is stamped everywhere.
This really isn't the cruise line's fault. I honestly think it's ridiculous that you think you should be given vouchers for a different cruise.

tiny purple elephant said...

sorry about the trip....

Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel better, I took a Celebrity Cruise over Christmas in 2008 with my family and wasn't a big fan. I did Carnival once, and as long as you choose a bigger boat (some of the Carnival ones are sort of small and cramped, but the big ones are great) I think Carnival is much better. Celebrity forces you to pay for everything that "isn't included in the price of the trip" which was even down to coffee, use of the gym, some "restaurants," use of the mini golf, etc. I felt like they were trying to pull cash out of my wallet at every turn; on Carnival, most everything was free (except spa treatments and excursions) so my family members could choose vastly different activities without having to spend drastically more money than the cost of cruise.

Arlene said...

Wow what jerks they are. That last cake would be perfect for them.. with real poo hidden in it. Lol mean but there it is. How hard is it to get a voucher?? They must be lazy very lazy. May all their cakes be horribly misspelled and wrecked in all sorts of scary ways..

john (the hubby of Jen) said...

To Reagan and everyone else,

We did not ask for another cruise!!! They told us we would get one. When we called to take them up on that offer, they changed their story and refused. Obviously, we made a mistake. Nobody is arguing that point. The point is we didn't get what we were promised after the fact. End of story.

Thanks everyone for commenting on this and for speaking your mind. I think I'm quite through moderating comments and I believe everything has been said that can be said. Tomorrow is a new day and I'm sure we'll put this behind us.

Have a great night.

john