Hurricane Beryl turns Louisville newlyweds' honeymoon into 'personal hell' (2024)

  • A Louisville couple's honeymoon in Jamaica turned into a "personal hell" because of Hurricane Beryl.
  • The couple said they had trouble getting food, water or information while staying at a resort.
  • Jordan and Maggie Paskitti are now safely back home in Louisville.

This story has been updated.

Hurricane Beryl turned a long-planned honeymoon for a pair of Louisville public school employees into an “absolute personal hell” —but the couple has now returned home safely after a challenging trip.

The good news? Their marriage is still intact and stronger than ever, they say.

Jordan and Maggie Paskitti got married last November but delayed their honeymoon.Jordan, an assistant principal at Ramsey Middle School, and Maggie, a mental health practitioner at Ballard High School, planned to take advantage of summer vacation with a long stay at the all-inclusive Excellence Resort in Oyster Bay, Jamaica.

Everything was, well, excellent untilHurricane Berylcame barreling toward them.

On July 2, the day before they planned to leave, the young couple received a phone call from resort staff telling them to pack up their things “right now” from their beach villa and make their way to the main hotel building.

“It started getting crazy outside, to the point where we just ran down to the front desk and said, ‘What do we need to do? We need help',” Jordan said.

They were eventually installed in an interior room in the main hotel building.

They didn’t know what to expect during the hurricane and received little information from the resort staff about how to handle it, they said.

“The hurricane came, and they didn't say a word. I'm sitting here, putting couches against the wall, putting beds against the wall, no support,” Jordan Paskitti said. “We had no internet, we had no power, and we're trapped in a room.”

Holed up in the room, the couple said they had trouble getting food, water or information in the run-up to and aftermath of the hurricane.

The couple didn’t have much food, so they ate the snacks they happened to have stashed away or could scrounge up: A Snickers. A $30 can of chips. A few apples. Peanuts. Oreos.

“When we got in the room, there were a couple of bottles of water,” Jordan said.

The next day, the resort staff brought a box of food.

They tried calling down to the resort front desk but often get a busy signal: “It almost felt like everyone had just left.”

The Courier Journal reached out to the resort for comment via email and phone but has not received a response.

“This was our experience. Others at the resort may have had a different experience,” Jordan said.

Mounting costs

The couple worried about how they would get home at a price they could afford.

“We saved and saved money for our trip for nine months after we got married,” Jordan said.

Their planned return flight on Southwest Airlines was postponed until Sunday. They reached Louisville after a full day of travel via Baltimore.

The couple was charged more than $1,500 for the extra nights at the resort while they waited for the weather to calm down and flights to be restored.

Though some generous supporters back home offered to provide the couple with additional funds, the couple did not accept those, Jordan said.They purchased travel insurance and hope that will help cover their extra costs.

The Paskittis and their families plan to donate money to charities in Jamaica.

“Even though we had a very difficult experience at this resort, the people of Jamaica truly are amazing,” Jordan said.

The storm, which recently made landfall in Texas,caused the deaths of at least 11 people in Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and northern Venezuela.

‘Anything can happen’

The Paskittis did not have local cell phone service and had to rely on the resort’s Wi-Fi to communicate via Facebook and Facetime.

The lack of connection made them afraid to venture too far from the resort and posed challenges for getting information and making their return plans.

To underscore the point, their connection failed for almost an hour on Friday night following a power outage.

The couple reached out to elected officials to see what help the state and federal government can provide.

“No matter where Louisvillians may be, my office will always be there to help and do everything in our power to bring Kentuckians home,” U.S. Rep. Morgan McGarvey, who represents Louisville, said in a statement.

The couple credits McGarvey’s office with support throughout the ordeal, saying the congressman’s staffers regularly reached out via Facebook messenger to makes sure they were doing okay. They even helped ensure the couple —and their luggage — made it onto the Southwest flight home.

Jordan recommends weathering a hurricane with your "best friend" in tow.

“Maggie and I have never grown closer than by doing this together,” he said.“On a trip like this, make sure you do it with your best friend, because anything can happen, and you want that person to be with you the whole time.”

Reach Rebecca Grapevine at rgrapevine@courier-journal.comor follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @RebGrapevine.

The Key Points at the top of this article were created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and reviewed by a journalist before publication. No other parts of the article were generated using AI. Learn more.

Hurricane Beryl turns Louisville newlyweds' honeymoon into 'personal hell' (2024)
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