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 But hey, if the red tape says photocopied birth certificates are admissible, but slightly out-of-date passports are not, who am I to question?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)

Oh man, I'm sorry about this! How frustrating. I can't believe they wouldn't give you a voucher for another trip.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Boob Nazi

You should've yelled, "DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!? I WRITE CAKE WRECKS!!!" as they dragged you away.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Boob Nazi

That's awful. I wish I could make it better... :(

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJW

I'm SO sorry to hear about your dilemma with the Cruise Line? Short of working for the cruise line, is there anything your expansive fan base can do to help? Mass E-mail outcry to the cruise line perhaps?

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenniffer

I'm sure a zillion people will ask this, but did you really get screwed out of going on cruise with your family? I hope not, because that sucks.

Your commentary, and cake choices, were phenomenal, except the cake with the plane flying into it one. I thought that was a well-done cake, and I've seen it before somewhre. I don't remember where. But someone actually ASKED for that. As we know, people ask for all kinds of strange cakes.

Oh, and I'll bet that rat was supposed to be an armadillo. (Okay, no, I'm really not).

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor

Guess who was advertising at the end of this post in my feed reader? Royal Caribbean! I would have taken a screen shot but I have yet to get my morning caffeination (is that a word?). Seeing as the total strangers at Celebrity already think so little o you, I take that as license to be as obnoxious as possible.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex d

Amazing what a letter will do - write to the cruise company and be open about sharing with your tens of thousands (?) or blog followers your disapoinment in their inability to follow through with their promised vouchers... bad press sticks much more than good press - they won't want to risk it for what really costs them very little (2 people out of how many thousands per ship.)You provide me with laughs each day, so I'm happy to write one as well :-)
Fight hard! Good luck!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie Cimino Zeliasz

awww, I hope that was just a story, and not a real issue. What's up with all the pig cakes? Did I miss a birthday or random celebration where I need to have a pig cake? Is that something being hidden from me in my future.

Pig cakes: the little known Traditional 51st birthday cake?

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Ugh! That really sucks! Does Celebrity Cruises know who you are? Because, as one of your loyal 90 MILLION readers*, I WILL NEVER TAKE A CELEBRITY CRUISE because they didn't take care of you and Jon AS PROMISED!

*OK, so I might have exaggerated a TINY bit.. but I bet your readership is far more than Celebrity Cruises imagines!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

A fellow songwriter once said, "Never, EVER p*** off a songwriter. You just might find yourself immortalized." Carnival Cruises has just discovered that they should not p*** off a woman who is a maestro (maestra?) with cake & humor.

Condolences on your non-cruise and all the nastiness you had to put up with not going on it! I hope your post was cathartic.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterflying gargoyle

Yikes, that is terrible! I read your blog on google reader and at the bottom of the post was an ad for carnival cruise lines. It cracked me up. I love your blog, and hope you can get this worked out.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I agree with Katie, write a letter to the cruise line and let them know you have informed your readers of their lousy customer service. I bet you will get some attention then!

BTW, I loved this post!! But I'm sorry you missed the cruise. :0(

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

I've been following along on twitter. Hopefully you can get some resolution. They definitely don't realize the readership of your twitter feed and blog! A nice reminder to check those expiration dates before heading out!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKati In CT

Oh dear. I'll take this as a cautionary tale so that something good comes out of your experience, besides an interesting wreck framework.

I'm having trouble evaluating the rat cake, because that bride keeps drawing my eyes from it. I think Barbie's melting like the Wicked Witch. That car had better not be edible. The disaster cake must be for Roland Emmerich. Is the "sarcastic" cake congratulating someone on bobbing? Is that green thing a dragon with a scorpion tail for a chin? And how much fiber can one little dog consume?

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClassic Steve

D: That's terrible! I actually just got back from one, and if that had happened to me...

I am so sorry!

(They're probably soooo ashamed. They'll have to make a public announcement of apology now that you've revealed their terrible slip-up to a couple tens of thousands of daily readers.)

(You should probably take Carnival next time. I think their customer service is better. Disney's is amazing, but they're twice as expensive...sooo worth it...)

Well, look on the bright gave us a reason never take a Celebrity cruise!

...We should protest.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrie

It's sad and disappointing when vacation plans fall through, but I don't think that you can put the blame on the cruiseline for ruining your vacation (if this scenario is true anyhow). How do you not know you need a valid passport to travel? I can't imagine why someone would book a trip out of country and not check their passport. I think that's your blunder, not the cruiseline's... it's a passenger's responsibility to make sure they have the proper documentation to travel.

I love this site and am sorry that your vacation plans fell through, but the anger towards the cruiseline (and people threatening to send angry letters on your behalf) seems to gloss over the fact that *you* are the one who messed up in this case.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

What's disturbing to me (okay, too long a list....but still...)
The Barbie Cake.
One--they had to snap off her legs, no way are there mutantly long Barbie legs in that short cake. Ouch!
Two--hair in the Barbie Cake. Barbie hair, which I understand is fully edible, but ick.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Connealy

But the most important question is, did you wish them "Bon Boyage" before they sailed?


September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLori DiBacco

You and John make my day every day. Every CakeWreck and all the neat/fun things you post on Epbot bring a little happy to my mornings. Thank you and I am so sorry.
I have been following along on twitter and on epbot...I think that the customer service of Celebertiy Cruiseline sucks, and they need to take a good hard look at their policies...allowing a photocopy of a birth certificate...really? It doesn't even have a picture (unless yours does, but it would be a really outdated picture).

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterT.T.

That truly sucks. If I recall, both the CostCo magazine and National Geographic Traveler have columnists who will research trip-related problems and help advocate for you with the cruise lines (or travel insurance people, or whoever). Usually the companies cave in because they don't want the bad publicity.

Good luck, and I'm so sorry you missed your trip. I'd be devastated.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCasey

Assuming the ship was going into international waters, it's better that they refused you passage than have immigration detain you when the cruise ended.

And sorry, but it isn't the cruise line's fault that your passport had expired. Why should they reward you for your mistake? They didn't have enough notice of your "cancellation" to sell the cabin to someone else so why should they, from a bookkeeping standpoint, give you two cruises for the price of one?

On the other hand, love the pig and the rat cakes.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

P.s. I find it interesting that CelebrityUK is following you on twitter. Maybe they are scared of your million+ followers vs their measly thousand+...

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterT.T.

I had the ad for Carnival Cruises at the bottom of Google reader too! Oh, the irony...

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiles Johnson


You are right to question why a photocopied birth certificate is better than a slightly outdated passport; PARTICULARLY when your parents are traveling with you! Ugh. Then, to fail to deliver a promised voucher, ouch! I am amazed at how thoughtless and short-sighted businesses can be.

However, that said, the fact that it happened to you and you have a forum for being heard, you can help Celebrity Cruises see the error of their ways. Here is a great opportunity for some other cruise company to get some fabulous publicity and for Celebrity Cruises to feel the weight of their actions. This company will continue to do this sort of thing until someone publicly calls them on it. For all of the other folks who have gotten the shaft in the past, GO YOU for speaking out!

In the meantime,I for one would be happy to donate to a "Cruise for Jen & John" fund. Just tell me where to send the check!

-WM (the great disco newt)

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Um, this is a tale of metaphorical disaster right? Cos I'm laughing really hard..and that's not a rat, it's a possum :)

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentershaz

Sorry about your trip. How sucky. But I'm glad the cruise line will still honor your ticket, even if it means no family vacation fabulousness.
I'm celebrating B.A.D. day and you're one of those I appreciate. Thanks!
I linked to you here:

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRevAnne

I can't believe they wouldn't give you another voucher when they said they would. I would keep going up the chain of command until you speak with someone who's willing to help you, and if they're not, report them to the BBB.

It's not that they should HAVE to give you a voucher for a circumstance that was, admittedly, your own fault, but once they said they would, it is their responsibility to follow through.

And the cakes were terrible.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I thought this was a hilarious post but... Yeah, not really the cruise line's problem. They really didn't have to offer you a voucher. That said, since they did, they need to follow through on that.

This is also a really good reason to have travel insurance. And use a travel agent. It wouldn't have been more expensive and they would have been able to tell you about the need for a passport or birth certificate. The laws regarding passports changed a couple years back. The cruise industry fought to have an exception made for cruises starting and ending in the US. But it's still highly recommended that you have a passport to avoid any problems. Trust me, you don't want to hear about some issues that have come up.

Also, as an FYI to any other readers who may travel soon, many countries also require your passport to be valid for 6 months past your expected return date. So if you are going to Jamaica for Valentine's Day 2011, your passport needs to be good through August of 2011.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

Okay, those are well and truly effed up.

I hope the cruise story is just for funsies. ;)

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda

So, everyone realizes that last post was just a schtick, right? Anywho, onward and upward.

WaytogoBob. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I needed that badly this morning. Thank you. Is there anything I can do for you?

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy W.

I'm assuming the couple with the rat cake is either from, or visiting, New Orleans. I'm also assuming it's a nutria- which are HUGE rat-like creatures found pretty much in and around NOLA.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of those creatures on a dinner table, roasted, while visiting a friend who lived deep in the Bayou.

By 'deep', I mean 'the house was only accessible by a boat ride through the scariest swamp-like place I've ever seen'.


Hey, what if all of us wrote an email/letter to Celebrity telling them we'll NEVER even consider booking with them because of how they treated you?

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWifeOfSeth

OMG Jen, I'm just sick to my stomach reading your post! How horrible! :(

I hope they make this right for you! And how horrible that your family sailed away without you!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterleannwoo

To the few critical cakewreck readers who feel the need to point out that Jen was at fault for not checking her passport before leaving,

Yes, we agree with you and see that point as well. Please note that Jen is owning her mistake. She is not disputing that fact.

However, the reason why I and other cakewreck readers are backing her so strongly is because she was PROMISED a voucher for a future cruise that they are now FAILING TO DELIVER . If you have ever had a company do that to you, you know how it feels and why the company should be admonished for their action (or inaction in this case). Don't make promises you don't intend to keep!

Until they make good on their promised voucher, Celebrity Cruises deserve every angry letter and outcry sent their way.

-WM (the great disco newt)

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

OK, so apparently I am stupid. FAIL! You did actually try to go on a cruise. I'm sorry. Hey Marcy, way to be an insensitive jerk.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy W.

Sooo sorry to hear about your dashed vacation plans! You make my family laugh every day and now whenever we go to the grocery store, we check the bakery for possible cake wrecks! I would keep arguing with Celebrity since they did promise you a voucher!!! Even if all they will do is give you a discount, that's better than nothing. Hope it all works out!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

That is horrible news. I hope you get a chance to reconcile with Celebrity Cruises before all your readers cancel their trips. 'Cause that is bound to happen now you know.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWe Don't Mean to Brag

I guess that means no pictures of the waiters dancing with cakes on their heads at the final cruise dinner. Always my favorite.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Jen and John, I'm so sorry your trip was ruined. What can we do to make you feel better? Perhaps a contest to immortalize this story in cake? On which "Celebrity Cruises" figure prominently -- let's keep the blood splatters and poo piles tasteful, please? I think the winner would look great as the cover of your next book... Gee, how many copies of the last one sold again? (So far, I've bought 9 -- although you should sell the next one with a kleenex pocket pack. EVERYBODY I gave it to laughed until they cried.) Or maybe Threadless could design a shirt, which could then be immortilized in cake at a later date.

On the bright side, I'll bet your cats were thrilled to see you. (Not that they'd let you know it...) Best of luck the next time you try for a vacation.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharyn in Superior

Wow, I'm so sorry for your treatment. I was just talking to my husband about taking a cruise and we were considering the different carriers and now I am definitely sold on Disney.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Okay so if you look like a clothed version of the pig cake you must also have disproportionately huge arms?
I mean look at those things! That is re-donk-u-lous.
Also, would love the bride in the possum cake pic (was the theme of the wedding ACTUALLY white trash?).
Oh and the plane/ship wreck is from Ace of Cakes. It is well done, but a literal cake wreck :)

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth C.

My whole family planned a trip to mexico. we arrived at the airport after midnight to take our overnight flight only to realise my mom's passport had expired the day before, which actually meant like an hour before. And all the reservations were in her name. oops. we really could have used a cake then

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I just went to their website and let them know the voucher thing makes me think I'll never take a cruise on that line.

This is a hilarious presentation of the story, though. :-D

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlinguina

I'm one of those people who can always tell you how you didn't fulfill the red tape, but really, don't stop until you haz a vacation trip. After all, you bought it, right?

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterscyllacat

Oh, P.S. That first pig was amazing. Tusks, and a razorback ridge, while still being as pink and bald as baby Wilbur.

And the rat/armadillo/possum cake just does not for one moment compare to the gold lame pants, tiara, and "Yeah, I'm THAT hot" look on the bride's face. The matching airbrushed t-shirts just make it. This MUST have been taken somewhere between Destin and Mobile.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterscyllacat

Who knew Oceanic flight 815 hit the Titanic?
Was that in the reset reality?

So many questions, so many cake wrecks.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpdxnico
September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate

You're probably not going to like this comment, and feel free not to approve it but...

Take heart in knowing that while the photocopied birth certificat might have been enough for the cruise line it wouldn't be enough for customs so in actual fact you likely still would not have been allowed on the ship. And I hate to tell you this but as a travel agent I've never heard of the cruise line offering a voucher to someone for another cruise because they didn't have adequate documentation. Otherwise the cruise line would be out the revenue from the cabin that they otherwise could have sold.

I'm going to assume you didn't use a travel agent for this booking. There are reasons we exist, like making sure clients know what documentation they require to be able to take their vacation. It won't cost you any more to use a travel agent than booking on your own, can actually save you money, and when things go wrong you have someone to advocate on your behalf.

I'm really, really sorry that you missed your cruise, especially a Celebrity one, and there's always a chance that you might get them to come through with vouchers (although I'm willing to bet that whoever mentioned them wasn't authorised to offer them). Keep trying, you never know what will happen. You can always try writing to Christopher Elliot (travel ombudsman) to see if he'll mediate your case.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

o.@ Yipe!

The last one reminds me of Bob the dog from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.

I'm not easily intimated by bad cake decorating, but I'd trash that one.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Anyone for synthetic Barbie hair in their icing? yum, yum!

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I once had a similar experience when I tried to travel to a country and found I did not have a visa. I agree this was my fault, but it sure would help if travel agents booking flights and cruises said clearly YOU NEED THE FOLLOWING TRAVEL DOCUMENTS. I mean, what is a travel agent for? Or for that matter, even an information panel on a website for booking tickets would seem to be in order.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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