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Vacations for Canadians

When we cruise with Celebrity, we always book our flights through Flights By Celebrity. I mean, why not? It doesn’t cost anything extra, you don’t pay until your final cruise payment, and they work with you to find the best deal. There’s the added peace of mind that they monitor your flights and will provide assistance if something goes awry during travels to and from the cruise.

A Winter Storm Was Brewing

For our December 24th, 2022 holiday cruise on the Celebrity Millennium we started off the week prior to our flight watching and fretting about the weather. The weather looked ok for Hamilton and Toronto and despite other friends changing their flights to an earlier date (with added costs) we decided to stick with our flight on Westjet.

 

Then, the morning of December 23rd, Westjet announced that they were cancelling all flights out that day after 9:00 am. We breathed a sigh of relief; our flight was at 7:45 am

The Celebrity Millennium

We were all checked in, through security and customs sitting at the gate by 6:00 am. We were relieved and thought, ‘we are good: the plane is here, flight attendants and first officer. But, wait! No pilot?’.  What we hadn’t factored in to our weather assessment were the storms in the west. Many flight crews were stranded. The agent at the gate was updating the group letting us know that they were trying to call in a reserve pilot.

 

But there was a big issue: Our plane was going to Fort Lauderdale and it wouldn’t be flying back until December 25 or later. No pilots volunteered, so our flight was cancelled. 

Time to Call Flights by Celebrity

Having booked our flights through Flights by Celebrity, I immediately phoned them. (Tip: Always keep that toll free number in your phone contacts). I also emailed Vacations for Canadians to keep them abreast of our situation. 

 

Teena immediately got in touch. With her knowledge, she worked with the Flights By Celebrity agent to secure a new flight. With many folks across North America making new plans due to cancellations, we quickly learned that despite everyone’s best efforts, we wouldn’t make the ship out of Fort Lauderdale.

A Good News Story

But there’s a good news story. Flights By Celebrity booked us on a flight to St Maarten on December 25 and, thank goodness, that flight took off as scheduled. Celebrity made arrangements to have us picked up at the SXM airport and take us to a beautiful resort (Simpson Bay) and then arranged a shuttle to the port on December 27 when the ship would arrive. 

 

Upon arrival at the ship on the 27th, the port guards had our names on a list so it was a quick passport check and off to the ship we went. One of our party had a pre-arranged scooter on board. The ship said they would send a cabin attendant out with it to meet us. Lucky for us the fabulous Teena was onboard and very happily delivered the scooter to us. What service! 

Getting on the ship was a breeze. The ship’s security called the Documentation Officer who very quickly came out to greet us, bringing our cabin cards and checking our docs. He kept our passports to obtain the St. Maarten required exit stamp then explained how to retrieve them the next morning.

We can’t thank Teena enough for all she did. And if you don’t already book your flights through Celebrity, I hope our story encourages you to try them out. It saved our holiday.