My Other Blog

What's a Wreck?

A Cake Wreck is any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate - you name it. A Wreck is not necessarily a poorly-made cake; it's simply one I find funny, for any of a number of reasons. Anyone who has ever smeared frosting on a baked good has made a Wreck at one time or another, so I'm not here to vilify decorators: Cake Wrecks is just about finding the funny in unexpected, sugar-filled places.

Now, don't you have a photo you want to send me? ;)

- Jen

Bum Voyage

I was actually trying to keep this on the DL (yo), but John and I planned to slip away for a Caribbean cruise this week.

Which, naturally, made us happy as a couple of pigs with pacifiers.

(What? I work with the cakes I'm given, k?)

We also booked a cabin for my parents, since we don't get to see them much.

These are not my parents.

Nice rat wedding cake, though.

Anyway, so, we flew my folks down,

Bargain airfare ftw!

...and then John and I stayed up all night finishing my sparkly dress for Formal Night:

I'm, uh, really short.

Bright and early Sunday morning, we drove the four and a half hours down to the cruise port:

We like a sweet ride.

When we arrived, though, DISASTER:

Um. I meant that in a more metaphorical sense.

See, I didn't realize my passport had expired a few months earlier, and that meant I wasn't allowed on the ship. Because how could they tell if I was a U.S. citizen? I mean, once the passport expires, I could have been born *anywhere*, right? (/sarcasm)

Ok, so this pig (I think it's a pig) looks more frightened than sarcastic. But do you know how hard it is to find a sarcastic looking cake?

I mean besides this one.

Anyway, getting back to my tragic tale of metaphorical disaster:

So, my passport was a no-go. However, they *would* accept a photocopied birth certificate. Which is illegal to use for identification purposes. And I, unfortunately, didn't have one. But hey, if the red tape says photocopied birth certificates are admissible, but slightly out-of-date passports are not, who am I to question?

Besides, there was some not-so-crappy news: since they were refusing us passage, the cruise line promised us a credit for another cruise, which we could take later. So at least there was that. turns out, there's not that.

This is me, watching my family sail away.

Only, you know, with less apples and more snot. [head tilt] And clothing. Definitely more clothing.

Still, I'm trying to keep a positive attitude about all this. Sure, we're out a lot of money, and won't get to see my family again for some time, and have been treated like lying scammers for asking for the voucher we were promised, but anger doesn't solve anything. [nodding seriously]

In fact, Celebrity Cruises, I got you a virtual cookie cake - just to show there are no hard feelings.

See? It's a visual representation of how you treated us! Isn't that sweet?

Aimee F., Erin B., Lindsey N., Alexandra W., Nicole R., Kester, Meredith F., Sarah C., David S., & Samantha S, ok, maybe there are some hard feelings. Teensy tiny ones. Sorry; I'm just a little stressed. I guess I need a vacation.



Update from John: Just the facts, Ma'am.

-The expired passport? Yes, totally our fault. We know. Bummer.

-The cruise line would accept a faxed birth certificate. Totally wrong. Also, passports used to be valid for up to a year after expiration for cruise purposes. I've been on three cruises with an expired passport. The whole ID thing is wonky.

-Two Celebrity employees at the port including a supervisor assured us we would get a voucher for another cruise - but now they won't honor that promise. That's the main issue here.

« Internal Wisdom | Main | So Hard to Say Goodbye »

Reader Comments (142)

I know the happy couple with the rat cake & just FYI they were at a themed engagement party. Trust me the actual wedding was a much classier affair with less gold lame and fewer tiaras!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

Sorry you didn't check your passport, but the cruise lines are very adamant in their literature that passengers have proper passports. Remember that they stocked the ship with food for you, and they didn't sell your cabin to others, based on your cruising, so they will be out real $ if they let you cruise a different time. Travel regulations are a bitch these days-no argument there!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Well, poooh! I think Jen was not complaining so much that she could not take responsibility for her passport, but that at one instance she was promised a voucher for a later trip and then was refused that voucher - right Jen? On the other hand, I wonder what kind of post we would have received if she had been detained by immigration on her return trip. Oh such fun :-). Norine

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Good One, Jen!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterearthquakesandrattlesnakes

p.l. say hello to your parents for me.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterearthquakesandrattlesnakes

I've been following this story on Twitter, and I have to agree with the folks who say you should have checked your passport expiry date. And to the one person who said Jen owned up to making a mistake there, I would disagree. It sounds like she doesn't understand and resents the fact that you need a valid passport for international travel.

I am sorry that they didn't deliver on the voucher you were promised, but next time, make sure your passport is valid before trying to leave the country

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I hope to be as famous as you someday so I can go on a Celebrity Cruise! What's Charo really like?!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda H

Dear Jen, I have a friend who can take very good care of you. She's all about the cruises and relentless about good customer service.


September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLessa

They should realize the power of word of mouth on the internet! I will certainly think twice before booking a cruise with them...I mean with all those cruises I take and all.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Awww, the poor piggie in pic # 7 was so scared, he pooed everywhere...

and now I'm laughing, 'cause I had to google check the correct spelling of 'pooed'.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdharmamama

Seems to me the only thing the cruise line did wrong was when someone felt sorry for you and offered a voucher that they were not authorized to offer. That has happened to me before. I once was late for a plane because I forgot my wallet and ID. Yeah, they wouldn't let me board either (and this was pre-9/11 security). So I had to go all the way home and back. Even though the plane was still at the terminal, they wouldn't let me on b/c boarding had ended two minutes prior to my arrival. Ugh. But I knew it was my stupidity and not theirs. They were following policy. I ended up getting bounced around on standby with the "promise" of getting to my destination, and eventually buying an additional ticket to just give up and go home after a long day of flying around in circles. So yeah, I have had something like this happen to me. You seem to think that this was done "to you," and that the cruise line should have accepted your invalid passport. I can sympathize with the doing something dumb to ruin my vacation aspect of the story, but I don't think the cruise line deserves the wrath of a poop cake.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Well, maybe this cautionary tale has saved many other people from making the same mistake. I am imagining readers of this blog running to check the date on their passports right now.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrescent Moon

I'll echo those that say if you didn't check your passport, then you're responsible. My husband left his green card at home when we left the country to go to Canada, and I (a US citizen) had to drive back many hours by myself to get it so he could re-enter the country. It sucked, and sure they could look up that he's a legal resident and let him back in, but we were supposed to have it and we didn't. Our mistake. If I were awesome, I would also post a re-telling of this involving humorous cakes, because it did suck. But I wouldn't want anyone to write in on my behalf and complain, so make sure that's what Jen wants before all of you do so.

They may even have a policy of what to do when people don't have proper identification, and even if someone promised a voucher, that doesn't mean they'll fulfill it if it goes against company policy.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

That powerful sucks!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi D

I've never commented before, but this was too much. I'd be happy to join in a letter writing campaign for you to get your voucher. I know it sucks, but don't give up until you have it.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Um... am I the only one who reads this and thinks, "what a funny joke" instead of, "this stuff actually happened to Jen and John?"

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

As a former travel agent, I can tell you that cruise line employees/contractors are notorious for promising vouchers/refunds/free cruises that the cruise line will deny. Spent many a day trying to track down these promises and never saw one.

Oh, yeah, also spent many a day reminding clients to check their passports well in advance of their trips.

BTW, those cakes are really unpleasant.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTricia L

I failed to notice that my debit card had expired while I was on my honeymoon. Expiration dates are EASY to overlook!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRiver Watson

We need to get Jen a gorgeous, tasty cake to celebrate getting her new passport, should she decide to get one, and that voucher the cruise line promised (but apparently never intended to give out). Or let's round up some of the most patriotic wrecks if she gets the version with the over the top "typical" American scenes (bison thundering over the plains, cowboys, Mount Rushmore, etc.) with inspirational quotations (trust me, you have to see it to believe it).

That's so weird a photocopied birth certificate is a valid ID. Really? I don't have my birth certificate, as my mom still insists on keeping it in her bank's safe deposit box thanks to finding out that to get a copy costs well over $100, requires going through a ridiculous amount of paperwork, and will take months. (The hospital where I was born is no more, which is only part of the problem.) I should have her get it out and just make a regular photocopy, apparently...

Actually, while Joy's rule of thumb of making sure your passport is valid for 6 months after your planned trip, things are even more complicated, as this varies from country to country. At least one country requires that your passport be valid a full calendar year from your trip. Some countries are just being jerks, but for most it's in case you decide to stay the full length of your visa, which can range from 3 to 6 months after entry. And things change more frequently than you might think, with not all changes being posted in obvious places right away, so if you are planning a trip abroad it's best to check back constantly.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

I find it incredibly hilarious that Princess Cruise Line is advertised at the top of your website right now.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wow...that sucks SO much.
Having similar experiences in the past, I offer my most sincere condolences. I hope you get your vacation soon and that someone smacks the cruise line in the head.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstr4y

Sorry, totally agree with a few others that this is entirely your fault and has nothing to do with the cruise line. I've taken 4 different cruises and my parents are taking their 17th in 2 weeks. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME all over every piece of paperwork is says you need a valid passport. It's not their fault you chose to not thoroughly read your cruise documents and you didn't bother to look at your passport. They don't owe you anything, since you "canceled" last minute and they couldn't re-book the room.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I am SO sad for you that you got cheated out of your cruise. But maybe it will make you feel a teensy bit better that you've transformed that awful experience into something wonderful for other people (us). I'm on board (sorry for the unfortunate pun) with the other folks who are willing to write letters to the cruise company on your behalf. Really.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSherry Richert Belul

Most ridiculous! I don't know if I'm crying because I'm laughing so hard (*definitely more clothes* line, lol ftw! :D) or because I feel so bad for you guys. Man, take a cruise with the big guys (Carnival, or DISNEY< hello?!) and you'll get better service, and probably a better cruise! Sorry about the mess up this time; too bad you didn't play it up and pretend you were from Iraq, trying to sneak into the Bahamas and wreck havoc on their...uh...palm trees. Seeing how unauthentically American you are...

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStoich91

Wow. I'm writing in today to say (with my nose is in the air -- which I have to add because, you know, you can't see it. But it is because I need to have it there to better look down on you) that this whole thing is your fault. And I must tell you this because reminding people over and over of their mistakes is much better manners that commiserating. And much more satisfying than feeling sad for someone else's bad luck. So I'm just going to sit back now and feel very satisfied that I have set you straight and that you now know better than to humorously illustrate a slew of bad news with a series of bad cakes. (Now my eyebrows are also up so you can see me looking all haughty and superior.)

--- Really truly sorry this happened. With all the US traveling you've been doing lately, I can easily see how you might have forgotten to check a date on a passport. (Because if you're packing a bag every two weeks anyway, it's easy to think of it as just one more trip -- especially when you are making arrangements to meet up with a whole other group and you're adding worry of that part into something that's become second-nature to you.)

For my B.A.D. day, I'd like to say thank you, because yours is the site that makes me laugh the most.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClothDragon

Gotta love Google Reader. At the bottom of my feed was an ad for a company saying, "Need a Passport FAST?"

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEG

Celebrity Cruise Line is evil! We should all go down to the port and storm the ship! Jen - will you bring the cake?

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersmalltownmom

To join the crowd - that sucks!

On the up side - your "way to go bob" sarcasm cake totally made me smile a little after a horrible lunch hour.

Still - fight for you right - to a voucher (and to party!)

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurly-T

Wow Rob and I were 90% sure we were going to book our Honeymoon through them this week. HECK no now! There's no way I'm willing to sink such a large chunk of money with a company that clearly has such terrible customer service. That's absurd. I hope we can all pressure them into giving you what they promised you. I'll start the letter writing campaign!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

oh wow. Major - MAJOR disappointment. Bet you check the exp. date of your passport from here on out.
Good luck with that voucher. Cruise lines used to be pretty true to their word so you just might get a surprise.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

Fight! Email letters, send written letters and then send them a copy of your book with the website info and tell them that you are doing a CRUISE COUNTDOWN till they make it right and post the days and the cruise lines name at the bottom of the post EVERY DAY TILL THEY MAKE IT RIGHT!!!
Also give your loyal band of followers the contact info to do the same, and I bet you'll get your vouchers.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I saw on your tweeter page that the cruise line follows your tweets. You should really, really, really (did I say really???) tweet the heck out of it. Let them know how you feel and how many different ways (cakewrecks, epbot, twitter, etc) that you have let people know about their disservice.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSTATJR

If you booked this cruise with a credit card, you need to see if it is one that has travel insurance built in. For instance, our Visa we have through our bank has it automatically, so if we were in your shoes... *voila*

The lesson here unfortunately is that while Celebrity needs to have a law-abiding and consistent stance on identification...always check your passport because ultimately you are responsible. For instance, I know that my passport is getting up there, so if I were to go on a cruise soon I'd definitely check it. These days you can't be certain!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPolly

I am a "fan" of inappropriate contextual advertising and I love the ones mentioned here. I even kept refreshing in hopes I would get one, but all I got were cheap textbooks and "free" credit reports.
I liked that frosted car. I wonder if that's real icing and how long in lasted, especially in heat and humidity.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpikkewyntjie

Aw, that first cake doesn't qualify as a Wreck. It's an adorable baby Razorback!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRae Gateley

I look forward to your blog each day. It always makes me smile. So I just had to say - so sorry - the whole thing is just really awful all the way around.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterspencers

almost as distracting as the gold spandex pants, the rat/possum cake and the wife beater t-shirt is the fact that that bride to be seems to have on my grandmothers underwear.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter1Kathleen

Jen, So sorry that you missed the cruise with your family. That's so sad and I can't imagine having to wave goodbye to them as the ship left.

I have cruised with Celebrity about ten times and when they did a voucher for me (I've had only one), it took about two months to appear in the mail; without me having to remind them. Do not give up so easily on their good will toward their customers. I have yet to be disappointed in Celebrity when it comes to trying to correct something -- even when it's something not their fault. They're a good company and I have full faith that they will come through for you.

Let's just hope that you don't have to "eat your words" and will regret this post when the voucher does show up.

But, again, it must have been so difficult to wave your family off on the cruise you should have been on. That's heartbreaking. I'm so sorry that happened.

(And, no, I do NOT work for them, their parent company or anyone else besides my hubby and children. So please don't think I'm their employee trying to save face for them.)


I'm really sorry to read about your misfortune. I've been denied boarding onto a plane once because the ticket, purchased by the guy I'd just married, was issued under my married name while my ID card was still under my single name. (And this was pre-9/11 to boot!)

I do some programming at work and one thing I've had to include in all of the code I write is to ask confirmation from users that they understand what they're doing first before proceeding. While the users know that they're responsible for reading the manual before they start using, the fact is that very few of them do, and the majority who don't all wind up making more or less the same error. Shaming them into taking more responsibility for learning proper usage went nowhere; it became necessary for me to place safeguards in the program to protect the users from themselves. Yeah, users don't like getting pesky dialog boxes telling them that they've forgotten this or they did that wrong, but in the end no one's complaining when they're able to perform a successful transaction.

I'd bet this is not the first time that Celebrity has had to deal with outdated passports, so if a current passport is a MUST in order to board ship, that detail should have been made crystal-clear to you at the time you booked your reservation (whether you did it online or over the phone). Some who disagree with your post say that it was your responsibility to check your passport first, and I would concur, but as another reader pointed out, when you travel often, the validity of your passport is easily taken for granted--who among us checks their passports regularly, even yearly?

I'm aware that you're a grown woman who will admit when she's made a mistake, and in my eyes you have. I hope everything turns out well for you.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

A photocopied birth certificate is not considered legal ID? Imagine that...

#1 What did Wilbur do to anyone? Is there no justice??

#2 Isn't that Spaceship Earth?

#3 Lindsey's birthday was forever marred by the same-day crash of Oceanic 814 near Poo Lake (into which empties the famous creek). The flight that followed didn't fare much better, but at least the smell was more tolerable.

#5 Cake cars always look like they drove out of the car wash too soon.

#6 Shouldn't the ship be the 'Poseidon'? I agree with the passport comment -- the same principle applies to most personal documents, actually.

#7 Is there a prize for guessing what it is? What surrounds it is obvious, at least. Too Much Information on a cake board.

#8 looks like it should be a prize at a Halloween party, but the 'patriotic' flotsam says otherwise.

#9 Puff the Magic Dragon -- after one too many puffs.

#11 As a dog owner, I can say this cake is accurate. At least, that's how it seems at times. Oy.

I'm down with a boycott -- anyone else?

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

I'm such a fool, I'm actually kind of scared to ever take a cruise because guessed it...Titanic. Just the idea of being in some tiny cabin in the middle of the bottom of a ship in the middle of the ocean is No thank you. AND I LOVE THE OCEAN!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina

dHmm maybe when they figure out that a whole mess of people saw this blog and how screwed up the situation was, they'll think twice. Sorry you didn't get to go on your vacation. :-(

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

For the future, you can get an expedited passport, overnight, and could have met the ship at its first stop. If the passport office in town won't help, your congressperson will.
I once had my passport expire while I was IN a foreign country. I went to the American Embassy, and it took them all of 15 minutes to issue a new passport. Using an ID photo I took in a photobooth.

If the cruise line had let you on, and you couldn't get off because of your papers, then what do they do?

I did once cross into Switzerland on my CA driver's license (who knew?) and into Germany on an expired passport. The German guard checked the photo and waved me through.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That totally sucks. Celebrity deserves to get that "cookie" in a non-virtual kind of way.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

This really sux! I've never taken a cruise, but should I do so in the future, I will NOT book with that company! I would think getting a lawyer involved might be a good thing. Loved the pics as usual!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Oh, guys, I'm SO sorry! I wish I could do something to help. Hey, maybe you could do what the guy with the guitar on the airplane did! Ya know. Except you accept the cruise, and stuff...maybe not the best example. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLate

Yes, we all recognize that the expired passport was her fault. THe real issue is the 3 employees who promised a voucher and the company that failed to follow up on that promise. Cruise lines are all about nickle-and-diming you at every possible moment, and this is just another example. The industry really needs to be cleaned up, because instances like this are putting a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChelsey

That is really awful! I feel for you, working hard every day for our idle entertainment, you definitely deserve a holiday.

Keep kicking up about the voucher, if you wear them down they'll give in eventually. Threaten to go to the papers or something. Just grab on like a bulldog and don't let go until they squeal!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCattOfTheGarage

That sucks! Celebrity prides itself on customer service, but then lies to you about providing a voucher and then can't follow-through on that promise? You would think at a time like this when tourism is down, the least they could do would be to be honest to their customers. We were planning a cruise to the Caribbean in the spring and this would seriously consider boycotting Celebrity over this type of behavior. Good luck to you guys...

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

The very, very best way to get this resolved AND get yourself that voucher is to write a personal letter to the head of Celebrity Cruises. Not a supervisor, but the actual CEO...wait a minute, I'll look up their name for you, hang want Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD, under which Celebrity operates. Write a personal letter, making sure the first couple of sentences are complimentary of SOMETHING about their company. Then detail your experiences and detail the promises you were made. Make sure you tell them about your blog as well, and that you would like them to resolve your problem so that you don't have to continue to talk about them negatively to the world. We had to resort to this when a problem with our time share came up, and believe me, it got a response. Every CEO has a secretary, and every letter is read either by the CEO or the assistant (secretary) and problems are resolved. I got this advice from some guy who does complaint resolution, he said always go to the CEO and you'll get results. Good luck! NH

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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