MIAMI, FLORIDA -- On November 11th I embarked on a cruise with my husband and our best friends on the Imagination. We are all in our 40s and it was the first cruise for my husband and myself. We booked tickets on a special of 199.00 per person. Several months later, we were informed that we had to pay port fees and taxes and that was an additional 600.00... Lesson learned.
The first night and next day were uneventful. The room was fine except it reeked of cigarette smoke. We are all smokers but the room was like a dirty ashtray. The evening we docked in the Bahamas my husband, and our friends went out to the clubs on the ship. In club Illusions, the 3 of them sat at the bar at around 11 and order drinks. Being that the club allows smoking, all of them lit a cigarette. Shortly after a group of 6-7 people came into the bar and stood behind our group.
One of the women in the group began yelling and screaming that the smoke was "offending her". She was seated next to my husband. The bar is a designated smoking bar with ashtrays out and around 50 other patrons smoking. My husband turned his back on her when she pulled out a bottle of perfume from her purse and began spraying the back of his head and shirt with it. He turned to face her and she sprayed him in the eyes and mouth.
At that point, he asked my friend (the woman) to switch places with him because he felt that would defuse the situation. The woman kept screaming and my girlfriend asked the bartender if it was OK to smoke there and she said yes. Her husband was trying to ask for a manager or security (They were actually in the club because of an earlier fight.). The woman then began spraying my friend's head and face with the perfume. The woman then reached over to her husband to grab his shirt and that's when the real assault happened.
They dragged my girlfriend off her chair and 5 girls began punching her. Her husband was scratched and punched. My husband jumped into the middle and was knocked to the floor. All were being kicked in the head by women in heels and punched by the men in the group. Security finally stepped in and escorted everyone to a questioning area. This is where Carnival goes so very very wrong.
My husband and friends were bloody and had bruises and torn clothes. None of the other group was injured because they were never hit. Statements were taken from all and my group made it very clear that they wanted to press charges. My husband wrote it on his statement in block letters. The security staff was not cooperative and gave no information other than the people would be arrested in Miami.
My husband was taken to medical and the report taken said he had 2 superficial scratches and smelled of alcohol. He has 6 punctures in his head, a concussion (we went to urgent care as soon as we left the boat), a 4 inch cut down his face, multiple bruises. The ship had given him Tylenol. My husband was insistent that he wanted them arrested and put it in his statement.
Being our first cruise, we trusted Carnival to take care of the situation. They told security officer John ** to review the video and see that they were assaulted. He lied to them and said the club had no video. The next morning (after we left Bahamas) I had to seek out the security officer John ** with my girlfriend. My girlfriend was traumatized that morning. She was covered in bruises, crying and absolutely terrified. She was looking everywhere we went, thinking she would be jumped again.
They were free to walk around and had passed us several times. I sought out ** because no one on the ship had contacted us to even inquire about our health. No care. No concern. No courtesy. My girlfriend cried all through the meeting. I asked how they would be arrested and that the ship didn't seem concerned about us. I told him she was terrified and how did they plan to protect her? He shrugged and asked me what I thought they should do. He stated he had "talked to them and they knew they were wrong and wouldn't be a problem". You reasoned with a woman spraying perfume in other people's faces?
I confronted him about lying about the video and he admitted it was a lie. He said that if they came around to call security... Do you know how improbable that is? Where are the phones to call on Lido or in a stairwell? He also told me that they (the assailants) would not be allowed on Carnival again. My friend remained locked in her room for the last day.
When we docked in Miami, we waited for the police. Imagine our shock when the Miami-Dade police came to take our statements and inform us there was nothing that they could do. The incident happened in the Bahamas and the Bahamian police should have been notified and Carnival has enough incidents that they know that. They were very sympathetic and kind, everything Carnival was not. They told us we would have to contact the Bahamian embassy to pursue charges.
The security officer ** was there but refused to give us the names of the people that attacked us based on "confidentiality of passengers". So Carnival has blocked the opportunity for justice and recovering damages. The police said that Carnival knew they should have called the Bahamian police but that they didn't because they don't like incidents on their record. One officer pulled me aside and said to pursue a case against Carnival and he would be there for us. That the handling of these incidents are poor and they have to deal with the aftermath. They stated it was clear we were wronged and would help anyway possible.
Now for the final insult. As we left the boat, my husband and my friend's husband were notified they would not be allowed on Carnival again. Policy. My husband hit no one. He is a 45 year old man. He's never been arrested or in a fight. My girlfriend stood there in a beautiful dress, covered in bruises and that was their parting concern for us. We spent over 2500 and they couldn't even say "Hey, sorry!".
I have never been treated so poorly. I'm devastated that this gift we planned for our friends was ruined by their policies and lack of care. Several witnesses (we have statements, video and info.) approached us later and said they would back us 100% in court if needed. I contacted Carnival and they wanted to know how we see any of this as their fault.
MIAMI -- I've contacted Gerry Cahill CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines 3 times and have never received as much as a reply.
Dear Gerry Cahill President and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, Last year my daughter Laura sent Bill and I on Carnival\'s Inspiration Cruise Ship. It was such a wonderfully relaxing experience, we couldn\'t wait to go on another one. Well we just got back from the Ghetto Cruise From Hell. Carnival\'s Destiny Cruise Ship was doomed from the beginning. We were literally herded like cattle for nearly 2 hours without any water just to board the ship. Once onboard the stress really began. Once onboard the stress really began. We were given a different cabin than what we had been promised. I went to Customer Service and explained that I was told we would have a wrap around deck. They agreed with me that yes indeed we had and we were given a different stateroom. That was the end of our discussion. The balcony was filthy from the prior cruise. I had to ask four different people for wash cloths for our cabin. The ship was overbooked with loud and uncouth people. We never ate from the Lido buffet because the lines were horrendous. We didn\'t feel like standing in line a half hour just to have something to eat. Don\'t know what we would done without the Deli. Every day I had an arugula and mozzarella sandwich while Bill had the Pastrami and corned beef. The sandwiches were great, but we would have enjoyed having a variety of foods to choose from. Once seated in the extremely crowed dining area, we were subjected to loud, obnoxious people who thought nothing of carrying on conversations with other tables across the room. I have to say, the formal seating at dinner was much more enjoyable. The waiters were fabulous and the food delicious. The spectacular shows were awesome. The comedienne kept us in stitches. Both of these were the saving grace of our cruise. We tried relaxing pool side but that was a joke. First it was next to impossible to find a lounge chair. If we were lucky enough to grab one, we were continuously bumped by fellow passengers who were walking by. And if we weren\'t being jolted, we had the luxury of having half a dozen people standing over us. Although they provided a pool for the children, I think someone forgot to mention that fact to everyone. Being a swimmer I couldn\'t wait to get into the water. Unfortunately for me there were nearly 55 children and adults jammed into one pool. The whirlpools would probably have been great had it not been for the 25 children and adults in there at one time. There supposedly was music playing on deck. But the deck was so loud the music wasn\'t heard. We decided to give the adults only pool a whirl. In this area they absolutely refused to play music. The retractable roof was either partially or totally closed. And yes, it too was over run with unruly children. Between the two of us Bill and I have raised 6 lovely children. We adore children. But these kids had no adult supervision even when there was an adult present. I asked at the bar if they would play some music and I was told they weren\'t allowed to play music in this area. Being a Fun Cruise Ship I didn\'t believe what I was hearing. Surely there must be some mistake. So when I spotted our maÃ®tre de in his dress whites I thought the nothingness in the air would be changed. To my horror, the maÃ®tre de reiterated what the bartender had just told us. Now this is is SUPPOSED TO BE A CARNIVAL FUN CRUISE! I tried customer service, but again my expectations were dashed. \"Sorry that was their policy\" was what I was told. \"The main deck is where we should be if we wanted to enjoy music while relaxing and getting wet.\" Trying to explain to them what the main pool area was like was an exercise in futility. They could have cared less. Fortunately for us by day two our deck had been cleaned. So while Bill worked out in the gym I would run back and forth from our shower to our deck to try to enjoy the sun. On Carnival Inspiration they had miniature golf and a grand walking area. Carnival Destiny had a miniature walking area that was a total joke. The cleaning staff for our room was EXCELLENT! They were also the most pleasant people to be around. They were WONDERFUL! I tried on several occasions to find the cruise director but was told he was in his cabin. (I guess the noise and pandemonium was more than our cruise director could handle.) We dined nightly in the Universe Dining Room. Again, the waiters were superb. They were friendly, on the ball and could really rock at the end of our dining experience. They either sang or stood on tables to dance. This really involved the passengers. It was a most delightful experience. Again, the dancers in the spectacular shows were incredible, as were the singers and the comedienne. We took the Ultimate Beach Break At Dolphin Cove and Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The falls were a bit disappointing since this had been the reason why we chose this particular cruise. The falls we toured were not the falls seen in National Geographic. We declined disembarking in the Grand Cayman Islands as we had done this tour the previous year. Besides, one visit to HELL (that was the literal name of the place we had gone last year was one visit too many.) We thought with the majority of passengers going to the Grand Cayman Islands we would finally be afforded the luxury of a relaxing day around the pool. Yeah right! There were plenty of people left onboard to quickly dispel those thoughts. So much for that great idea. We were so amazed by our Carnival Inspiration Cruise we just couldn\'t begin to start our new adventure. The both of us had worked an entire year to save up for this. Also this past year had been a bit stressful. My husband found out he had Prostate Cancer. He had his Prostate removed. One week later he suffered a heart attack....unrelated to the surgery. This was truly the trip and time off we had been waiting in anticipation for. All in all we spent over $2,000.00 dollars and a week\'s worth of vacation days for pure agony. I sincerely doubt that Carnival Cruise Lines will be on our list of priorities for any future vacations. When you wait an entire year to save up for something this disastrous (not to mention the vacation days wasted) I definitely DID NOT find this cruise to be the relaxing one that I had envisioned. It was one of the most STRESSFUL 5 days of my life. Thank God I had the wonderful company of my husband. So all wasn\'t lost. After being on Inspiration last year there was no doubt in my mind that Carnival Cruise Lines was the way to spend our long anticipated vacation this year. As a post script, I had invited my sister Barb, her husband Doug, my brother Mark and his wife Jill to join us. I\'m thankful they couldn\'t make this cruise. I don\'t think I would have ever been able to forgive myself had I talked them into joining us. Regards, Linda Makofski Booking # 21QC62 Stateroom # 7327 CARNIVAL DESTINY Departure: 6/19/2010
My husband and I used our vacation days on a cruise from hell. Between that and the almost $2000.00 we spent on the cruise. I called Carnival as we were leaving Miami because things were messed up from the start. I complained at Customer Service on board Destiny.
Linda Loschiavo Makofski
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- On May 15, 2012, I purchased a cruise for myself and my nine year old son on the Carnival Magic Cruise Ship through vacation planner Mr. Michael **. The dates for our cruise was scheduled for July 8th through July 15th 2012, the 7 Day Eastern Caribbean cruise. After scheduling and purchasing my cruise from Mr. Michael **, I asked him about documents I would need to aboard Carnival Magic Cruise Ship. I inform him that this was my first cruise ever and I was not familiar with anything on boarding a ship and/or travel.
I asked him if I needed a passport for myself and my son and he assured me that I did not need a passport; however, I did need a birth certificate for my son because he was under the age of sixteen and I would need a legible state issued ID. I asked him to clarify, so that I could be sure, if I also needed a birth certificate and he told me "NO", that the ID was fine. He then said, "just make sure that ID was clear and legible". When going through embarkation/checking in to board the Carnival Magic Cruise Ship, I was denied boarding because I was informed that I also need a birth certificate or passport along with my ID to board.
I only had my state issued ID and son's state issued birth certificate. They allowed me to go home and get it but I would not have time to make it back to board the ship on time. So I was denied the cruise and now the Carnival Cruise Group and Mr. Michael ** will not give me a credit, refund, or compensate me for anything but tax ($149.56). The Cruise charged me ($2,127.56) minus ($149.56) taxes for the cruise which totaled all together ($1978.00) for the trip that I never took that was paid in full.
The money is just gone according to them and they claim they have done all that they can do but they really did nothing but take my money because no trip ever existed for me. I am so upset about this because I worked too hard to pay for this trip that never took place. I am a public school teacher and I do not have a lot of money. I took on an extra job so that I could pay for my son and I a nice trip this Summer.
I never in a million years thought something like this would have happened. It almost makes me think that trips like these are just not for poor people like me no matter how much and hard you work. I really hope you guys can help me get a refund or a credit on another trip. Thanks.
On November 24, 2012 we took the 7 day Exotic Eastern Caribbean Cruise. As we departed out of Miami we noticed that one engine was running hard, we knew something was wrong. Our stateroom was at the back of the ship Upper Deck 6, our bed vibrated for 3 nights, so much so that we couldn't sleep. The Captain makes the announcement that we would not be going to St Thomas. I'm sure you can imagine how upset the passengers were, the problem a broken engine the ship had very little power to move so we sailed at sea for 3 days on a vibrating ship before arriving in San Juan late in the evening.
Very little was said to the passengers which upset everyone even more. Prior to arriving in San Juan the Captain makes the announcement that he would decide if we would leave San Juan at midnight or pull out the next day. This would mean 2 ports that we would miss. The following day the Captain announces we will be in San Juan for the day, this upset passengers even more as we could not book any excursions due to the lack of communication to the passengers on a timely bases.
Crew on the Liberty tried to avoid the conversation regarding missed ports, vibrating ship and the lack of communication. Finally with a ship of upset passengers the Captain announces we will all receive a $50.00 rebate towards our sail and sign, as you can imagine this just upset passengers even more.
I do understand that things go wrong however the customer service we received was very poor not only on the ship but from customer service. I did email Carnival and received no reply, when I phoned I was told they could do nothing for us the $50.00 we received is what Carnival pays. There was no compensation for our room vibrating for 3 days, it was too bad so sad mentality. I was told a ship would never leave port if there was problems with it, however it did just that. I think Carnival needs to realize Engineers also go on Cruises and they know when something isn't right.
I would not book another Carnival Cruise, check out BBB and Consumer Reports and you'll see how many complaints they receive and what their true rating is, I wished we would have done this prior to booking. I have gone on many cruises and have never experienced such a lack of communication or lack of concern for passengers.
Carnival instantly went into protect themselves mode instead of making sure every passenger on board was communicated to and the service they say they give stays at that level. It's a shame when they forget a little customer service goes a long way, I know if I would have received good customer service I never would have written this letter.
Carnival isn't the top of the line for cruises however good customer service doesn't cost anything but it sure keeps customers coming back, word of mouth and Internet is a great way to let people know how poor or good service was, loss of business doesn't seem to concern Carnival. I was glad to find that out prior to booking our next years 2 week cruise vacation.
MIAMI, ILLINOIS -- Just two weeks ago, I went on the Carnival Inspiration 4D Baja Mexico cruise spanning Thanksgiving with my parents and my grand-aunt. Our experience was sub-par due to an amalgamation of reasons, and I sent this review to the Carnival executive office for future improvement, but received no response for the entire week, so have no choice but to start seeking other venues to voice my dissatisfaction. This was our family's first time on Carnival Cruises, but we have been on your sister company Princess to Alaska and Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas, so have experience to contrast against.
Traveling is one of my life passions and I do so fairly extensively (about 3 times internationally a year) and hope to sustain a recent tradition of cruising annually since my mother has especially loved cruise experiences. For a Thanksgiving cruise that came at a premium for (and I even booked a suite for my parents - we were in V25 & M219), I expected all the services promised to us delivered, but they were not.
One of my parent's key fascinations with cruises stems from the variety of nightly productions and comedy shows on board, and on this specific cruise, the Fiesta Latina show was cancelled Tuesday night with nothing to replace it, and then again Wednesday night, with "Showtime" to replace it. Unfortunately, that same "Showtime" was repeated Thursday night, leaving no real value-add. This was a key letdown for us because in our minds, the 4 value foundations of a cruise are the floating hotel, the food, the service, the entertainment, and that last two were significantly lacking.
We were never told what these "circumstances beyond our control was" and I feel that a great company has a contingency plan especially on such a big holiday cruise. Even having 2 separate, less glamorous shows instead of one cancelled and another repeat would have been a huge boon, and we had never experienced such low quality on Royal or Princess.
My next 2 issues deal with safety & hygiene on-board the ship. First, I recognize that Carnival is a family-oriented cruise, but better emphasis needs to be placed on parents to take care of the children or more attentiveness from staff members need be exercised. My aunt of age 77 was knocked over by 2 youngsters on the Lido deck the first day. Fortunately, she was fine, but had she suffered an injury, Carnival would have a potential general liability claim on their hands. I am an actuary in an insurance company, so I know this risk is simply too significant to ignore.
Next, I noticed that virtually nobody on Carnival uses the hand sanitizer before meals. When we were on Royal & especially Princess, there was only 1 entrance to the buffet lines, always with a staff member there to request customers to use the sanitizer. Perhaps this is why Carnival is often on the news concerning norovirus outbreaks, as recently as May of this year. The fix in adopting models that have worked on other sister lines should not be onerous, so I strongly encourage this change on Carnival.
Service in some areas need improvement, and 3 small illustrations can highlight this well. First, when I was in line at the Fun Shops, I overheard a lady asking one of the staff members about their work schedules and environment, and she immediately groused about how they got no time off between cruises, how she worked 7 days a week with low pay, that as soon as one group disembarked, another boarded. Corporations have to maximize profit, but they can also do so in a way that their employees do not feel unsatisfied, and it was disconcerting to hear such an experience as a customer.
My time at the craps table in the Monte Carlo Casino was unsettling as well, because the young lady working my side was most inexperienced, and I caught her twice distributing incorrect winnings to me, and fear that I may have missed more. I recognize that being a craps dealer is not easy and I probably make more complex bets than many people, but the training needs to improve and again, I did not experience this at all on Royal or Princess.
Finally, and perhaps this is due to over-heightened expectations, I expected a suite booking to come with more amenities. For examples, in other lines, VIP access comes with access to private clubs, private pools (which would've been tremendous given the number of kids in the Lido ones), fresh flowers, and more attentive service, but all my parents received were priority embarkation and de-embarkation, 35 more square footage of space, and a 30 square foot balcony for nearly double the price.
I simply cannot find a compelling reason for clients to book in a Carnival suite, which is ironic because the high-end market when treated properly tends to be most high-margin as well, so a few extra courtesies could go a long way.
I want to highlight the positives as well on the cruise, so that Carnival can continue to improve its strengths. The mini golf facilities and waterworks available are great for kids and grown-ups alike, since even my parents enjoyed trying the variety of entertainment on board. Food is wonderfully crafted, although the soups were consistently too salty. Our rooms were well-serviced and the dining staff top-notch in professionalism and courtesy. The many lounges, bars, galleries provided the multifarious environments we had come to expect on cruises. Shore excursions went smoothly and we enjoyed a fun time on them.
So, what is the consequence of all this? Well, we will not be using Carnival's services again and unless Carnival addresses this issue for us, will try to let the world know of our experience so that future customers know what to avoid.
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- I am in the same boat as many of you (pun) who I have read are upset about the itinerary changes at some Carnival port stops. I am a first-time cruiser and agonized for a year over which cruise to take my family on as our fist official big vacation in 15 years. I settled on a Bahamas cruise out of Orlando on their ship the Sensation and was thrilled to see a full 24 hr stay at Nassau, then just got the email showing the itinerary had changed and cut the day down to 8 hrs.
I called customer service as well and it was explained to me that the Bahamas were no longer allowing overnight docking. So not Carnival's fault, no ill will towards them for that, but it still is not the cruise I expected. I Wasn't looking for an upgrade, comps, or discounts which is good because I was not offered any, just an apology (Well had to call customer service twice to get an apology, the first time I called I was rudely told that I had no recourse and If I liked I could just cancel and lose a $700 deposit.).
I see Carnival's point of view on this but still wished that I had not booked this cruise since the overnight stay in Nassau was the big draw for me. I understand that the itinerary can change, no need to tell me. I understand some people think Nassau is overrated and that I am not missing anything by the loss of 16 hrs but that is a matter of perspective. I thought about just cancelling the cruise but since I booked Early Saver I would be out about $700, not too bad but I am not used to just tossing several hundred dollar bills on the ground even for the purpose of a learning experience.
So here are my revised plans thus far. I will go to Orlando with the family and do the typical touristy things (Disney, Universal, SeaWorld), then I will go on the cruise. I was thinking about leaving my family in Orlando to wait the one day or so it would take me to get back, but I figured what the Heck. Even 1 day on a cruise ship (since I did pay for it) may be worthwhile, plus the day in Freeport will add a little flavor to my vacation. You see, I plan on using Carnival's Vacation Guarantee.
As long as I inform them that I am not satisfied before we hit our first non-US stop, I will get a prorated refund plus Carnival will refund me for airline tickets to get me back to Orlando. After doing the math I see that I will still end up paying Carnival $320, will get back the bulk of my payment, get to see Freeport until our plane leaves. Bottom line cost to me will be $320, cost to Carnival will be the price of the plane tickets minus the $320 or at the cheapest air tickets I could find. Carnival will be in the hole -$1,100.
As I said above, I understand things happen, and Carnival is not to blame, nor can I not expect them to not protect their interest. With that said, same thing applies to me and my interest. To be honest a polite customer service representative may have avoided all of this, but after reading the multitude of complaints against Carnival, add my own experience, and you get a customer who just doesn't trust this company.
If this option is available to you (using the Vacation Guarantee) you will need a passport to fly back to the US from the first port your ship stops at, and this guarantee does not apply to all of Carnival's cruises. I called Carnival's reps using all 3 phone numbers they give on their website and it was verified that yes I could do this per the vacation Guarantee, but call for yourself to see if this can apply for you if you wish to pursue this route.
I was amused when the reps stated they couldn't understand how it wasn't in Carnival's best interest to either refund my cruise price, or apply the amount paid towards a credit for a future cruise, since now they will actually be losing money in paying the airfare back to Orlando. I told them I couldn't understand it either, but as the first representative told me when I first called to say how disappointed I was in the itinerary change, them's the breaks.
You get what you pay for. I realize Carnival is what it is. And you get what you pay for but I was surprised at the rudeness of the staff from the very get go. I drove from Ohio with 7 family members to celebrate the last of my children graduating from high school. Got a great last minute price from Carnival for 3 rooms all at around 3100.00 all inside cabins. My drive was so long I wanted to get straight on board the ship since we got there and were checked in around 1:30. We were told our rooms were ready and I was ready for a quick nap before the safety drill.
When trying to get onboard I bypassed the family photo thing that was set up but I was blocked from entry by a photographer. Not a good thing to do to a guy who just drove 19 hours. He stated we needed to get inline and get a family picture taken before we got onboard. I told him no thank you because we were tired and I was sure there would be lots of other opportunity onboard for other pictures. He insisted and told me I needed to have the picture taken still blocking my way. I then told him that he would need to move now.
He then had a friend come over and state "So you are just traveling not cruising" adding insult to injury. My son was getting ready to step in so I told them I didn't want any trouble. Can you believe a crew member blocking a passengers way onboard, acting aggressive and insulting a passenger?
We then proceeded to the Grand Atrium where a fight had broken out between a guy and a girl (who continued to argue and fight all over the place on the cruise.). Wow and this was in my first ten minutes. Not to be negative about Carnival but you get what you pay for. I did speak to Guest Services about the incident and kudos to Ngonidzashe ** who was a real gem and set up a meeting with the photo manager with me.
The photo manager told me he had tried to get ahold of me several times Hmmm there was no indication of those efforts. We discussed the incident. I asked him to comp one photo for me because of what happened. He refused to do so but thanked me for my comments. Okay.
I have never had an inside cabin before (I'm a balcony guy) but I can tell you it was a very nice cabin. Lots of space as well. I booked two other rooms for my two daughters and two sons plus one girlfriend and they were all nice rooms at a great price. Here was another great surprise. Ketut our room attendant was the best we have ever had and I have cruised on the Disney Dream and RC as well. Ketut was great he knew our names and used them as well as our family members.
The food was good and they did have the Chocolate Buffet at noon one day which looked nice. The food was every bit as good as RC not as good as Disney serves up though. The shows... Well the welcome onboard show consisted of some people shoving a spoon on a rope down shirts and down pants. Not a very good way to start a cruise. The last show Shout was very good and very well done with some really nice laser effects. All the dancers and singers were spot on. Again though the shows don't really don't compare to RC or even close to Disney. But again you get what you pay for.
Debarkation is Carnival's greatest asset-well organized and easy. Better than both RC and Disney. They may not be very good at getting you on the ship but they are aces at getting you off. I noticed there was no guest survey on if I was satisfied with my cruise HMMM? The ship's decoration was OK a little worn but not bad its typical Joe Farcus stuff plus the Water Park was pretty nice.
Carnival is the one cruise line I noticed that seems to like to say NO to guests. Was in the dining room for only one meal. My daughter didn't like the choice of desserts so I asked the waiter to please go get her a piece of cheese cake with some strawberries (I know they served this in the coffee shop). At first I was told yes. He then brought my daughter a piece of black forest cake. My daughter does not like chocolate.
I asked him again for a piece of New York style cheese cake. He told me he would not be able to get that for me. Wow. I asked for some fresh pineapple at breakfast I was told know they were not serving that until lunch. No one would get me a piece of pineapple I was told no. Wow.
My son (only his second cruise) asked if he could take the rum he purchased to his room. He was told no. Now let me pan out on this one. My son didn't know the rules which are well established but the staff member was rude in addressing him and even made fun of my son to a co-worker calling him a moron for not knowing the rules. Wow.
Are people still going to cruise Carnival? Sure they will because its cheap. Remember though you get what you pay for what ever happened to good customer service on a cruise though? Even if it is inexpensive? Atlantis was great of course and I will go into that on my port review.
I would never cruise Carnival with just my wife and myself but again got a great deal for 7 people. Did we all have a good time? Yes pretty much. A cruise is what you make it. Plus my kids have little cruise experience to compare it to but they did notice how so many in the staff were just rude. Plus security on this ship was a joke. Kids were running wild at all hours of the night and even during the day there was a group of kids pelting guests with ice on the stairwell and nothing was done about it. The comment was made that the parents should take care of their kids.
True but what about the protection of other guests? What happens to an elderly person if they get a hard piece of ice tossed at them from two decks up? Both me and my wife and my two daughters were past guests of Carnival and there was zero recognition or zero coupon books for past guests. I think the past guest thing will be a thing of the past for my cruise dollars. Save your money and go on a better line. Remember you get what you pay for.
I have spent the past month researching my next cruise. This time around I am married and we have a baby. I found this site by accident quite frankly, but I have to admit, after reading most of these stories, my plans are now up in the air. I am wondering how many of these complaints are economy based?
I know a few things can be taken with a grain of salt. People lie, or at least stretch the truth. I also know companies that entertain 100's of thousands of people annually cannot be expected to be perfect. And it is reasonable for a person to expect a full refund in most cases. Granted the cruise lines are about profit. And if you read this completely, you will see my tips, tricks and hints to cruising at the bottom of this post.
Because of these facts, I felt I would throw in my three cents on this subject. So let me start by saying I am not an employee of Carnival and everything you will read is 100% true and of my honest opinion.
As I stated above, I came across this site while researching my family's first vacation. Mainly I was looking into the Carnival MasterCard to see if the point's are worth the trouble. And in my opinion, it's NOT. The biggest reason that lead me to this conclusion is: I simply cannot Google a single positive comment about the card, the issuing company, detail to exactly how many miles = a cruise. So I have decided risking the ole credit rating for a measly $50-$100 discount would be stupid on my part.
As for my cruising history. I sailed on the Jubilee back around 2003. I enjoyed the cruise a lot! It was exciting and there was plenty to do to keep me busy and happy. Everything was perfect, even my tiny bottom of the boat room. I cannot recall a single complaint from that cruise beyond having to pay $27 for a soda card. I will touch on this again later...
So atlas! My opinions, views and advice on cruising with Carnival!
The food was fantastic! The service was what you would expect, perfect! And on top of perfect, they are (excluding those you have to come in contact with) mostly out of sight. Yes, that includes cleaning your room 2 times a day and you never catching them in the act! I don't know how they do it either, but they pull it off!
What you will learn on the boat is that there are so many things going on at one time, you will find yourself trying to decide if you want to go to "this" or "that" because most of the events overlap. You will either chose to miss a few things, or catch the opening of one, and the closing of another. Don't get me wrong, this is a GOOD thing! It beats walking around a boat all day with nothing to do.
Now I did get sick the night of the Formal, just my luck. I was taking my motion sickness pills but I am a seasoned fisherman and I don't believe that was the cause. I think I just had a bug and it went away by morning. Nothing to blame on the cruise, food or anything beyond nature.
On this particular cruise, a 4 day out of Galveston going to Cozumel. I was a bit disappointed that the stay in Mexico was only 7 hours. We had time for 1 excursion, a bit of shopping and we had dinner at a local "cafe". (No, I was sick BEFORE we ate there, so don't ask).
Overall, I have nothing but good things to say about my trip. It was low budget, entertaining and I spent 4 days on a big boat in the middle of nowhere. :)
The Good, Bad and the Ugly
The ugliest part of of this trip was being sick. While it was short lived and I was back in action, it was miserable. Mainly because there was NOTHING onboard to be purchased or given for flu like symptoms. No common cold meds, NOTHING! Ended up bumming something off a neighbor who had cruised before. The Bad: The time in port is short and seems to work in warp speed. 7 hours seems like 3 and the desire to check your watch with every step you take seem to speed things along rather than to slow them. The Good: It was a great time and an experience I will never forget.
Now, my last cruise was 5/08 on Ecstasy out of Galveston. This is the cruise my Girlfriend (soon to be wife) decided to go on. Once again, the people were great, room service was marvelous and everything went off without a hitch. EXCEPT!!! The food service had slipped. BADLY. The 24 hour pizza place is open 23 hours. I understand they have to clean, but the pizza was hardly edible. Unlike my first cruise, the pizza was great! Not this time around. And not only did the pizza suck, but all the meals in general seemed lacking. I will add this one note, I ordered a BLT delivered to the room and I tell you they can make a BLT. It must have had a 1/2 pound of bacon on it. My arteries were hardening just looking at it. I actually had to take bacon off to eat it.
This was a 5 day cruise with a stop over in Cozumel and Progresso. Cozumel had come a long ways since I had visited 5 years earlier. Progresso was in about the same shape Cozumel was back in '03. Not that is a bad thing, we had a good time in Progresso, and did the city tour excursion and enjoyed it.
The Good, Bad and Ugly: The ugliest part of this trip was simply the food. Nothing more. The Bad: Granted we had an Ocean View room and the window was dirty (from sea water I assume) we still has some awesome views of the ocean. It wasn't a big deal, but for $100 person more, you might expect a clean window. I did call and ask them about it and they made a valid point they have a lot of windows to constantly clean. I can see the labor burden plus the potential for evasion of privacy. They did offer me a nice gift on my next cruise but I told them I wasn't complaining, just inquiring about it. The Good: It was a good cruise and we had a wonderful time! I learned a lot of secrets and details on this cruise that I wish I had known beforehand.
So with that out of the way, let's get to the part that counts! The tips, hints and tricks!
I will start with the soda car. Since I hear it is now up to $40 per cruise, her is how to beat the price. You are allowed 2 drinks per trip with the card. You can also share the card since the employees rarely have time to do anything more than look at it. So if you have a party of 4 or more, pass that puppy around! And share the cost of it. ALSO note, Carnival will NOT tell you this but you are allowed to take a 12 pack of sodas on board at embarkation!
You are also allowed a case of bottle water! You have to put it in a suitcase, but who cares! it's nice to have bottle water in Mexico. not because the water is bad. Matter of fact, most of the tourist towns now have water treatment plants. But the peace of mind given to those who worry, bottle water is priceless. And in our case, we use it to mix baby formula.
Another net trick is to get to the terminal EARLY!!! If you depart at 4pm, they usually open the doors at noon, be there at 11, if the cruise is a sellout they open the doors early. Just don't expect luggage to be there when you get there.
Something else I found useful, once you are back home, they prefer you stay in your cabin and wait to be called. This is OK, you can catch an extra hour of sleep if you have a long drive ahead of you. BUT if you head down to the galley an hour before disembarking, you can get in the front of the line and to hell with all that waiting. This is great if you have a tight airline schedule.
Things to get used to on a Carnival Cruise. Cozumel. Almost every single cruise goes to Cozumel. So if you plan to cruise a lot, remember, they shut everything down when in port. If you are bored with Cozumel, stay aboard and SLEEP! Read a book, do something, do nothing!
Carnival provides soap and shampoo in the showers (as well as razors if you need an extra, just ask and they'll get you a couple), this is great if want to smell like you work in a hospital! I suggest bringing travel sizes of everything. Shampoo, toothpaste, old tooth brush, travel deodorant, soap ( I use the stuff I steal from hotels). The reason I use the travel sizes and the old brush is because I can just toss everything when I am done. No need to bring that mess home.
LESS IS MORE! At the beginning of your cruise they make you feel like you are on vacation. They help you with this and that, here and there. You can park and a bus will take you and luggage to the terminal. What they fail to mention is after the cruise, you have to carry all your baggage through the terminal to the buses that take you back to your car. A far cry better than the old days when we dropped people and luggage at the terminal and then drove 1/2 mile to park only to have to hike back to the terminal!! But none the less, do NOT expect any help with luggage AFTER the cruise.
Why do laundry on a cruise? Because it allows you to pack light! Read above for more details!! Plus it gives you something to do while you are in Cozumel for the 3rd time and not interested in going to port. Stay back, relax, do laundry and take some personal time.
The is a safe in the rooms. This is good and bad! It is good in the sense you can lock things away from other passengers, but don't confuse this for safety from the staff. Also, note that there is a lip on the bottom where the safe door closes. You can run your fingers in this crack. I suggest you do it. I found a. 5 carat diamond pendant some poor soul lost. And if you drag your jewelry out, you too could lose something of value.
My 2 cents on passports. Take them! The passport card is nifty, but if you lose it you are toast! Keep your passports in the safe and carry your passport card. If you lose the card you have a back-up. You cannot fly with a passport card, its for auto and cruise travel only. So if an emergency arises and you don't have your Passport Book, chances are you not going to get anywhere fast. Also, on this note, EVERYONE is now required to have a passport, not just adults. if they are old enough to breathe they are old enough for a passport. If you have kids, get theirs now! And get the pass port card as well. And go ahead and get a state id card. TX has no minimum age and I don't believe there is too much positive ID when you are not in your home country.
You should also note that Mexican hospitals DO NOT accept US Insurance. At least not as of my last sail date. They are cash money, you can't pay they don't work. Research foreign travel insurance polices before you cruise. Carnival offers one with restrictions. Something is better than nothing.
Pre-Payment. Don't pay in full. Do anything you can to pay as little as you can. Meaning DO NOT pay the tip in advance. If something goes wrong and you don't cruise, they get tipped for doing nothing. And getting your money back is about as likely as... well. It's not. Pay the deposit only then pay the rest. if something come sup last minute, bail out and keep more than half you money. Always put your cruise on a credit card. You might have something to fight back with if you use credit card, or even better some credit cards off trip protection.
You can Google trip insurance and find a bunch of companies willing to write cheap insurance. I found one that covers the three of us on our trip for $110. And that is 80% of paid up amount. Not too shabby.
And my last piece of advice.
Rooms. If you got the money to spend, by all means get the suite! Its spacious, you get VIP check in and a few other little treats. If you can't afford the suit, the balcony is nice so is the Ocean View. If those are out of your budget too, remember this. All you need is a place to sleep. So the smallest place is good enough far as I am concerned. You still get to do the same stuff as those in the fancy over priced rooms!
My BIGGEST complaint with the cruise lines: Infants don't travel for free. I have to pay $200 for my 6 month old to travel with us. Now, this would not be a big deal IF they provided diapers, formula and such. They don't even offer daycare during the day, just baby sitting after 10pm and it's cost an extra $6 an hour! Makes one wonder why you have to pay the $200 and whether I am interested in the cruise all together.
Hope this helps someone.
To Whom It May Concern:
I hate writing a letter of this sort, but I feel that I need to in order to defend my brother, xxxx and his wife, xxxx. For over a year they planned/paid for in full, a wedding on your Carnival Cruise Sensation. The wedding date was to be March 28th, 2010. Unfortunately, on this day a supposed disgruntled (as described by one of your crew members) passenger on the previous voyage made a drunken bomb threat. I understand and appreciate the severity of this situation and truly appreciate any safety precautions that occurred because of it. But the events that followed once your ship was cleared of any danger, was all entirely uncalled for.
(Please keep in mind when reading, we were told we had to be OFF the ship by 5:30pm). We were supposed to board the Sensation around 10:00am the morning of March 28th, because of the bomb threat we were told we had to wait until further notice. Around 1:00pm (ceremony time was to be at 1:30pm) we were able to board a shuttle that took the wedding party and most of the guests over to the port where the boat was waiting. We waited outside for quite sometime while your staff tried to figure out what to do with us. We were then bussed to another location, which seemed to be another terminal and were told we had to fill out a health questionnaire and would be cleared for entry onto the ship, also that the ship would was being repositioned and would pull up to the terminal we were at to pick everyone up. We then waited until 2:50pm before hearing anything else and were told we were to get on a "VIP" bus to take us back to the original terminal to board. This venture took over an hour due to heavy traffic and a drawbridge that we had to wait for. Once we entered the original terminal and made our way through the metal detectors, we were handed the same health questionnaire to fill out (why couldn't we have just filled it out at the original terminal??). We did not get to board the ship until almost 4:30pm. When we boarded not only did the ship smell like stale urine, it had an overall feeling of being dirty. We were told we could get food in your main cafeteria as a courtesy since we had all been waiting around for so long and hadn't eaten (mind you, breakfast was supposed to be served to the wedding party and guests at 10:30am on board that was paid for by the bride and groom). We noticed people swimming in the pool and lounging in the hot tubs and lounge chairs while being rushed through towards your cafeteria (and how long had they been on the boat for before we were able to board? Come to find out, at least 2 hours). No sooner did we get a plate of food were we told we had 5 minutes to get to the room that the ceremony was in so we could have the ceremony and get off the ship. So, we left our uneaten plates of food and rushed for the room. Well, here we did more waiting. waiting.and more waiting. Finally at 5:25pm my brother's fiancÃ© was finally able to walk down the aisle in order to get married.
The wedding official spoke extremely fast through the entire thing so we could be off the ship by 5:30pm, which resulted in an over all feeling of being rushed. We were then taken to the room where the reception was supposed to be held. The reception was non-existent. It was a joke. The bride and groom were rushed through a bite of cake. The HORRIBLE piano player played Elton John's "Your Song" twice in a row then stopped. Next, the announcement was made that the safety drills were starting. In filed the passengers that were assigned to our reception room, they made a beeline for our hors d'oeuvres table, hors d'oeuvres that we were not able to try for ourselves. When they were told that the food was for the wedding party more than one passenger said something to the tune of "oh well, the food is out and we're hungry". We also were not able to experience the open bar service that was paid for, so why could these random passengers indulge in what we were paid for and were supposed to enjoy ourselves but could not? And what in my opinion is the best part of any wedding; the cake; only the bride and groom were able to have a bite, just one bite. The ice sculpture on display that was paid for by the bride and groom was dripping all over because it was melting. Who knows how long it was really out for waiting for the reception to start?
We left the ship around 5:40pm. When we were off the boat, one of the security guards grabbed my arm and rudely said to me (because she overheard me talking about our experience) "get over it, no one got hurt". Seriously? This had NOTHING to do with the bomb threat from earlier in the morning. The disorganization and lack of concern for a party that was paid for in full on your ship was very disheartening. This was supposed to be one of the happiest day of my brother's and his wife's life. Instead it was filled with stress and worry.
I feel that out of the $2,800 wedding package my brother and his wife paid for, the measly $1,111.30 is a slap in the face. The disorganization, lack of concern and rudeness by your employees was uncalled for. $1,000.00 refund for food? Seriously? You think that is generous? Especially after everything I explained. Then a $111.30 for the piano player who honestly, I do not see how you can charge anyone to listen to his horrible rendition of an Elton John classic not once, but twice in a row before he stopped should never have been billed for in the first place. Talk about a slap in the face.
I would hope that after you review all means of records from the day of March 28th, 2010, you would see that we were more than cooperative and tried to keep composure and a positive outlook on things. But what it comes down to is that it was just a mess based on Carnival Cruises part. A refund in full, not just part, is beyond expected and is just overall the right thing to do considering the mishaps on Carnival's part.
Word of mouth is everything these days. Do you think out of the 27 guests, along with the bride and groom, any of them will have something nice to say about this experience? I already talked one good friend out of having a destination wedding through your cruise line after describing our issues. I have 391 friends on Facebook; I have already updated my status more than once in regards to thinking twice before using your cruise line.
FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Our family had anticipated taking our 4th cruise with Carnival since November. Our oldest child was singing with a local high school choir on the Triumph. We decided that we couldn't miss the experience. We called to book our rooms. Although we had requested that we have adjoining rooms, after we hung up the phone from our booking agent, we realized that the kids' rooms were across the hall. We called back immediately to correct the mistake.
Apparently it was impossible to get the original booking agent. The second booking agent said that it would be no problem to correct it. He gave us a second booking number and we gave them authorization to take out the necessary funds. The weekend before we decided to drive 6 hours to Galveston, we decided to print off our boarding passes. The site seemed to be having some difficulty pulling up both rooms. We called a representative and she indicated that there was no problem. She wished us a great trip and we felt good to go.
We all showed up at 11:30 to find that they had overbooked the ship, and basically had sold our children's room to someone else. They pulled us off to the side, called two security guards over, and indicated there was nothing that they could do. They only had room for two people. After waiting 4 hours for them to locate the luggage that we dropped off, they then had a cancellation about 4 minutes until 4 pm (Ship was to sail at 4 pm). They basically told my husband that the only other room available would cost us $1800!!! Our two rooms were 8 floors apart, but thankfully all of our family was able to support our area choir.
Message: DON'T CRUISE WITH CARNIVAL. They made us feel like we had booked it incorrectly. We didn't raise our voices or curse - They brought over security and treated this little family like criminals. Unacceptable treatment when we did our part to book early and gave them authorization to receive payment on our credit card!!! How it happened is a mystery - but it wasn't our fault! It was challenging keeping up with everyone 8 floors apart. Still thankful... but very disappointed.