We’re scheduled to depart on a cruise this week, and I’ve just realized that attending Mass on Sunday might be problematic. This will be our sixth or seventh cruise, and the situation has never arisen before. Most of these were Sunday-Sunday trips, so we could attend the Saturday vigil Mass, an early Mass before departing for the port, or a Sunday evening Mass. In addition, there was usually a priest on board who said Mass daily. On the cruises that did not have this option, we simply attended Mass in whatever port we happened to be on Sunday.
However, I just really noticed that we will be at sea on Sunday; the itinerary doesn’t list the day of the week, just “Day 3 - at sea.” I’ve called the cruise line and they cannot verify that there will be a priest on board who will offer Mass. We won’t be in port late enough on Saturday to attend a vigil Mass.
I attend daily Mass and do not take my Sunday Mass obligation lightly. If I have missed Mass for any reason (illness, unsafe road conditions, city-wide power outages after a storm) five times in the past ten years, it’s a lot. If we are travelling, we drive many miles/hours to find a church. I’ve spent almost $100 on cab fares to get to Mass on more than one occasion. My family used to veto any vacations the second week in August so we didn’t miss an additional half-day of vacation on the feast of the Assumption. (I must confess that I actually enjoy visiting new churches and seeing the dynamic there. I loved the calypso-ish beat of the hymns in Barbados.)
So, what’s my obligation here? It’s entirely possible that there will be an opportunity to attend Mass on board; the cruise line simply will not commit one way or another. I’ve tried to wheedle this information out of them, to no avail. They don’t even want to say that a priest is scheduled to be on board in case he canceled and they could be accused of giving out misleading information. We are outside the period in which it would be possible to get any refund at all so I would lose a lot of money (five figures) and my family DD, DSIL, DGSs) would lose its only vacation for the year. And that may be for no good reason since there may be Mass on board.
Must I cancel if I cannot guarantee that we will be able to attend Mass?