Carnival Cruise Line helped a family return to New Jersey at the end of May 2022 after being stranded on the Caribbean island of Aruba. Thankfully, the Mardi Gras cruise ship was able to help and get them back home to the U.S.
Family Gets Stranded in Aruba
What was supposed to be a smooth and easy return home to New Jersey for one family ended up being an extended three-week stay on the Caribbean island of Aruba.
Carlos Pacheco, Jamie Greene, and their three children went on a family vacation to Aruba On May 10, 2022. On May 17, when their stay ended and it was time to return to the U.S., their 15-year-old autistic son named Elijah went through a sensory episode as they boarded the flight back to Newark.
Despite efforts to calm him and deal with the situation, the plane’s captain ended up asking them to disembark. It meant the family ended up being stranded in Aruba. On May 24, Carlos flew home with the other two children due to school, but Jamie and Elijah had to remain on the island.
Aruba is located in the southern Caribbean, approximately 29 kilometers north of the Venezuelan coast. The island is also around 80 kilometers northwest of the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao.
How to Family Returned to New Jersey
After work from the U.S. Consulate, attempts with another cruise line, and even trying a medical evacuation, Carnival Cruise Line ended up helping.
KultureCity, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization on sensory and accessibility acceptance, ended up contacting the Miami-based cruise line to see if they could help get the two family members back home.
Vicky Rey, vice president of Guest Care and Communications at Carnival Cruise Line, said: “Given Carnival’s close partnership with nonprofit KultureCity, our team has a deep understanding of the needs of individuals with sensory and invisible disabilities. When the organization contacted us about Elijah’s situation and we realized we could bring him back to the United States on one of our ships, we did not hesitate to offer help.”
“At Carnival, we work daily to make a difference in people’s lives, and we are proud to have been able to extend those efforts to assist Jamie and Elijah.”
With so many Carnival cruise ships sailing across the Caribbean, including port visits to Aruba, the cruise line was able to help. The Mardi Gras cruise ship made a scheduled port visit in Aruba on May 31, allowing Jamie and Elijah to board the vessel.
The family members were then able to disembark the cruise ship in Miami last Sunday, where they were then driven back home to New Jersey by KultureCity volunteers.
Despite the issues with getting back home, at least Jamie and Elijah could end on a positive and get to enjoy some days on the most advanced Carnival cruise ship ever built. Carnival Cruise Line was also the first cruise operator to be certified “sensory inclusive” by KultureCity in late 2019.
Carnival Mardi Gras is the current flagship and operates seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises out of Port Canaveral in Florida. The ship is over 180,000 gross tons and has a guest capacity of 5,200 and 1,735 crew members.