PORT MIAMI, Fla. (WSVN) — A relaxing vacation got off to a nightmarish start for hundreds of Carnival passengers who were forced to wait for hours under the sweltering sun at PortMiami due to a delay in the boarding process, leading to multiple medical calls, officials said.
7News cameras captured a line that stretched across a terminal, as passengers waiting to board the Carnival Magic saw their vacation put on hold, Sunday afternoon.
“We’re sitting out here for three hours. The line has not moved,” said passenger Gianna Felicissimo.
The frustrated vacationers said lack of communication was the key issue. They said they did not receive much information from the cruise line about the cause of the delay.
“We got an email like three, four days ago that said, ‘You need to be here on time. Don’t come early, just be here on time,'” said passenger Diane Felicissimo, “so we came here on time, but…”
Carnival workers passed out water and lunch vouchers, but that wasn’t enough for some.
“It’s horrible. There’s people out here sweating, sunburning. There’s kids that are overheated and cranky,” said Diane.
“We had to drive three hours from our hotel to Miami, and we’ve just been sitting here all day, not moving, and it’s really hard,” said Gianna.
Passengers finally started boarding the ship at 4 p.m., but before that, the humidity and high temperatures had already taken their toll.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews responded to tend to some passengers. Officials did not specify the nature of the medical calls.
Meanwhile, some passengers took to Twitter to complain about the unforeseen circumstances, demanding answers and expressing their discontent with the lengthy delay.
Carnival later responded to the tweets apologizing to the passengers. They released a statement that reads in part, “Embarkation at PortMiami for today’s voyage of Carnival Magic has been delayed due to several factors, including late debarkation from a previous voyage. Embarkation for the next voyage is ongoing and we expect no impact on the itinerary of this next seven-day cruise.”
Carnival officials said a customs inspections further delayed the boarding.
The cruise line paid for passengers to go to Bayside Marketplace to grab some food and water, but passengers like the Felicissimo family said they are looking for a little more than an apology and a free ride.
“I hope Carnival is gonna compensate us for this, ’cause this is horrible,” said Diane. “This is really bad, you know.”
The Magic sailed from PortMiami at 6:30 p.m.
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