I can't even tell you what's worse, the cruise giving the wrong information or the family leaving a child behind. NEVER EVER EVER EVER would I leave a child behind. Especially this appeared to be a treat for a new adoptee to the family. What a crass bunch of people there are out there. Always trying to blame Disney and get a free dollar.
This happens to many people on many different cruise lines, it's common for people to show up without documents. There are lots of "gotchas" like children that have a different last names than the parent or children going through nasty divorces. Would I leave my child behind? No, not even a consideration but they probably made the decision because they had some many families going all at once (5 cabins, did I read that right?). I wouldn't say they made a bad choice to leave him behind because I wasn't there and don't know the circumstances but the boarding policies are very clear, it's a bad situation but not a litigious one. The legal action seems to point to the fact that everyone knows hush money is far cheaper than lawsuits. The whole thing will go away never to be spoken of again.
The thing about this is that if they had brought all the papers they had, plus the hospital certificate (that they admitted to leaving home), they probably wouldn't have had this issue at all. It was a lack of planning on their end. IMHO
We always have every piece of documentation we can offer. Even when they tell us all we need is a drivers license because it was a closed loop cruise, forget it, I'm bringing the passport. For the kids, passports as well. Why take the chance?!
Eric E. Wilson
DVC since 2005. Saratoga 2005, BLT 2009, Grand Californian 2010.
Next trip, February 18, 2011. Key West, Cozumal, Grand Cayman, Castaway ...here we come!!!
This just goes to show that little problems can be a HUGE gotchya.
The biggest problem with a cruise vacation is that the boat will leave without you.
And no amount of insurance or pre-planning etc would really have prevented the problem.
Realistically, sometimes you can't travel out of the country without a passport. If you have a passport, then that's the gold standard. And you need a way of proving that you're the guardian and allowed to take the child out of the country if both parents are not going.
And then you need something IN WRITING specifying exactly what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
This doesn't really seem like a bogus lawsuit. It seems like there is a question of evidence and who said what and what kind of assurances were made (regardless of disclaimers). They mightprobably wouldn't win. But it surely isn't frivolous. And on top of it, what would the appropriate damages be? Who was damaged? Was everyone in the group's whole vacation ruined? They all got their cruise. Was it just the one child's cruise ruined? Does it extend to the nuclear family? What about excursions purchased on board after the incident?
I would love it if one could pre-qualify to go on the cruise by providing copies of documents to the cruise line and customs or something and get pre-notification prior to any deadlines for deposit forfeiture that you and your whole party are cleared to go. (And then have that be the final call. Obviously things can change though, so it's not realistic.