Cruise Ship Passenger Stranded In Ensenada

Well, there’s worse places to be left.
BY: DICK FITZWELL

The Carnival Imagination left in Ensenada a passenger who injured herself getting out of an elevator. Mary Rosenberg of Penn Valley, California, and her travel companion, a friend from church, were asked to leave the Carnival Imagination just two days into their four day cruise after Rosenberg suffered a fall. Rosenberg says the two were left helpless in Mexico, had to pony up $1,800 to get back to the United States, and were told they would have to eat the fare they’d paid for the unused portion of her cruise.

Now, Rosenberg is angry, Carnival is admitting someone screwed up, and we’re getting another lesson in the perils of getting hurt during an international trip.

She says crew members wheeled her to the infirmary, where she got X-rays and painkillers. Then she was told, ‘We cannot have you on board with this liability. We are going to leave you in Ensenada,’” Rosenberg recalls. “I went, ‘No, you’re not. I paid for this cabin. It’s fully paid for until Thursday. It’s only 48 hours until we get back to Long Beach to my car.’” Rosenberg says she even offered to spend the rest of her trip in her cabin, a junior suite with a balcony.

“They wheeled me back to my room and said, ‘We’re going to be picking you up at 8 o’clock in the morning and please be packed up and ready to leave,’” says Rosenberg. “And that was that.”

Rosenberg says Carnival did just as promised, escorting her and her friend off the ship and leaving them at the dock in Ensenada. An ambulance the cruise line had arranged to take them to the U.S. border was waiting. Adding to the stress of being injured, being asked to leave the ship, and losing her cruise fare, Rosenberg says the duo was terrified to be dropped off alone in Mexico.

“If you’ve seen the news lately, it is not a safe place for anybody, much less two unaccompanied female seniors,” she says. “We were scared beyond belief.” Oh, toughen up.

The ambulance dropped them off at the border, where Rosenberg and her friend found another ambulance waiting to take them to a nearby hospital in Chula Vista, Calif., where Rosenberg’s injury was examined again. “They said, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to be fine; just see your doctor when you get home,’” Rosenberg says. “And then they released me.” The duo had to take an Amtrak north to Long Beach to retrieve their car for the ride home.

Adding insult to injury (literally!), Rosenberg says the Mexican ambulance that took her to the border didn’t accept her medical insurance, so she was charged $1,800 for that ride, on top of the cost of the Amtrak trip home and the unused portion of their cruise fare — all costs for a decision she says was made against her will after she was injured.

Rosenberg might be right about the “no recourse” part. Turns out Carnival, and most cruise lines, can remove you from a cruise if they deem it medically necessary. In Carnival’s Ticket Contract, Clause 2 (b) reads: “Carnival and the Master each reserves the right to refuse passage, disembark or confine to a stateroom any Guest whose physical or mental condition, or behavior would be considered in the sole opinion of the Captain and/or the ship’s physician to constitute a risk to the Guest’s own well-being or that of any other Guest or crew member.”

 After Rosenberg reached out to the consumer advocate website, Elliott.org, where her story was first reported, the cruise line acknowledges an error with that $1,800 ambulance ride to Ensenada. “In a situation such as this, the guest is typically provided transport to a suitable shoreside medical facility at our expense,” Carnival spokesperson Jennifer de la Cruz tells Yahoo Travel. “There appears to have been a failure to follow established protocol in this regard. Normally the guest would have been assisted by a company team member once she left the vessel. We are extremely sorry to learn of Ms. Rosenberg’s experience and she is being contacted to ensure she receives an apology and is properly reimbursed.”

If you do get injured on a cruise or any journey, travel insurance can help reduce the hardship.

Now back at home, Rosenberg says the cruise line contacted her several times to check up on her. Since then, Carnival — as it said it would do in its statement to Yahoo Travel — has offered to reimburse her for the Mexican ambulance ride, plus her out-of-pocket costs for her Chula Vista hospital fee and the cost of her cabin.