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On the Verge of Another Cruise
By -

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 points 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 old 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 alas! 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 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 stopover 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, here 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 karat 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, it's 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 passport 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 policies 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 comes up 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! It's spacious, you get VIP check in and a few other little treats. If you can't afford the suite, 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 babysitting 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 altogether. Hope this helps someone.

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Carnival FunPoints Mastercard Is a Dishonest Company
By -

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE -- I have a Carnival FunPoints (reward) Mastercard issued by Barclays Bank Delaware. I realize that this credit card is not issued by Carnival Cruise Lines, but it does reflect poorly on Carnival when con people as this company is apparently allowed to use the Carnival name and has established a business relationship with Carnival.

Anyway, FunPoints are to be redeemed for statement credit AFTER booking a Carnival Cruise. I called Barclays before I booked my cruise and asked questions about the process. I was told to book any cruise with any travel agency, then to apply for the statement credit AFTER the cruise was booked. I had over 95,000 points at the time which converted to $1,590 in statement credit using their calculator (see http://www.mycarnivalMastercard.com/). I booked a suite on a Carnival cruise for $2,119.44 directly through Carnival. I waited a few days for the charge to be posted to my account, then tried to redeem my points online.

Barclays only offered a statement credit of $1,200 in exchange for 96,000 points. I have called numerous times and was finally promised by a supervisor that the credit of $1,590 would be issued manually within 1 billing cycle. Although this "supervisor" declined to provide her last name or extension, she assured me that this was taken care of and noted in my account. I was informed today that I will not receive this credit and that there are no notes in the system saying such. I have also been trying unsuccessfully to resolve this with email and have an email from Barclays stating that I have enough points for the $1,590 in statement credit that was promised to me.

My history of trying to resolve this:
- July 10th - called Barclays regarding use of FunPoints.
- July 12th - booked Carnival cruise for $2119.44 directly with Carnival.
- July 16th - charge posted, began calling for statement credit (called 5 or 6 times total).
- July 22nd - finally spoke with female "supervisor" on the phone. She said $1590 credit would be issued manually within 1 billing cycle... Said this was noted in the account.
- July 23rd - billing cycle ended.
- August 23rd - billing cycle ended.
- August 25th - now I am in my 3rd billing cycle, and have been told by a male "supervisor" that there are no notes about the statement credit of $1590 and that only $1200 can be issued unless I accrue a total of 126,946 points which will cover the entire $2119.44.

I have also emailed Barclays - July 16, July 19, July 26, July 27, and today. I am furious and will not just drop this. The booklet that came with my rewards card states that the redemption amount increases at 75,000 points, which is worth $1250... But they only offer me $1200 for 96,000 points!!! Every person in customer service is in India. While they do speak fairly good English, they do not seem to understand and do not seem to have the authority or desire to resolve complaints. I was told that $1200 is their final offer and the supervisor had nothing more to say.

Please do not make the mistake of booking a cruise, then expecting the proper statement credit. I spent almost $100,000 on this rewards card to get a fair amount of credit and they refuse to honor it. I am NOT happy!!

Resolution Update 09/01/2010:

Complaint resolved, but it should not have taken 8 hours on the phone over a 6 week period. If you have a similar problem with the Carnival Funpoints Mastercard, visit Carnival Funville and sign up for an account. Post your problem under "Looking for Carnival Assistance". A Carnival moderator will put you in touch with a Barclays manager in the U.S. who is capable of understanding you, and also has the desire and authority to resolve your complaint. I still feel that the program is poorly designed with its "book blindly now, pay in full, then see how many rewards we will give you later" design. You should know EXACTLY what the reward is going to be prior to booking.

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My Letter to Carnival Cruise Lines That Has So Far Gone Unanswered
By -

I hate writing a letter of this sort, but I feel that I need to in order to defend my brother, ** and his wife, **. 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 5:30 pm). We were supposed to board the Sensation around 10:00 am the morning of March 28th, because of the bomb threat we were told we had to wait until further notice. Around 1:00 pm (ceremony time was to be at 1:30 pm) 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 2:50 pm before hearing anything else and were told we were to get on a "€œVIP"€ 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 4:30 pm. 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 10:30 am 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 where 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 5:25 pm my brother'€™s fiancee 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 5:30 pm, 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 "€œYour 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 "€œOh 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 5:40 pm. 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) "€œGet 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.

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Carnival Cruise Line Complaints Carnival Legend
By -

We purchase a cruise on the Carnival Legend leaving Tampa, Florida on December 13, 2009. First problem was the balcony stateroom we purchase had an obstruction in it after being told it had none. Our representative was rude, lied constantly he represent the cruise line not another agency. For weeks prior to our cruise he refuse to adjust our room but demand we pay hundreds more for another stateroom. I specially asked him several times if there was an obstruction. Later he denied it saying he told me there was an obstruction. When I went to file a complaint they switch around to their colleagues and you get nowhere.

On our second night while dining on the Lido deck my spouse ate large shards of glass dinnerware in his food. The shards of glass broke one tooth in half, chipped another. He filed a report immediately at the table, I witness the report. Several staff members were there saw what happen. The manager took the dish away and security came to the table to file the report. After our return they have refused to pay for crowns or any dental work which is all my spouse asked to be done.

They demand he sign a mental health release, medical release and a dental release before he could even address that insanity they wrote saying they would not honor the claim at all. We understand that he has to file a claim in court in Tampa, Fl. We live in CA within six months. It's not February. We're on our second month since returning. His tooth is still broken in half, still chipped as we have no dental insurances. The cost of these two items will go into the thousand dollar category.

From then on our trip went downhill. We had security following us all over a very large ship. We'd find them behind us all the time. Then my spouse was searched. He was the only person singled out when we re-board the ship. He was ordered by this same person many times to empty his pockets. Suddenly for no apparent reason the buzzer would go off when he enter security. There was nothing metal on him. It became quite obvious to us.

At night around three in the morning our stateroom door would every night be pried, someone trying to open it or scare us. At first we thought it was a mistake. It continue throughout the trip.. We end up barricading ourselves in our cabin every night and while using it. We kept the exterior door to the balcony locked. We felt very uneasy.

On the same deck as the restaurant but outside my spouse ordered a drink which spilled over. The staff brought him another one which he handed to me instead then ordered one for himself. This was the only drink that I drank that day, I mainly drink water or juice. This one was the special of the day. After consuming the drink within about a half hour I began to laugh hysterically, and could not stop laughing, I could barely walk to our room for about the next four hours or more. I could not stop laughing hysterically. The world got really crazy for me. Nothing in my lifetime has ever happen like this from drinking alcohol, later I would vomit for hours.

The night prior to departure I had a tally run of all our expenses, I compare that the next day against their tally.. We noted lots of beverages that we could not account for charged directly to our bank account but said nothing out of fear. When we arrived home approximately another thousand dollars was charged by Carnival directly on our account. Carnival refuse to answer my emails regarding the funds, or calls. Our bank reversed all the charges thereafter. Carnival did nothing to repair the problem of over charging my account.

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Carnival Destiny Disaster 1/16/10
By -

I recently took a cruise on your cruise line and I was grossly disappointed. The cruise was the Carnival Destiny which set sail on Saturday January 16th 2010 from Miami, FL. This was my second cruise and I was expecting a great experience, especially since I was cruising with a self-proclaimed leader in the cruise industry.

The misery began when we boarded the ship and found out that we would be delayed in our departure from port. After not leaving on time we were advised that there was a problem bringing potable drinking water onto the ship. I find this to be disconcerting knowing that there was enough time to reprint that day's edition of “Capers”, this indicating that the problem was known well in advance.

Considering what happens in the next several hours one has to question whether your staff was being completely honest with the passengers about the true problem. Once we left port, nearly four hours late, we set out to sea only to be told that there was a problem with the ship's propulsion system. Here is where one might ask if the true problem was being dealt with at the port? Although only a mere passenger, I am very well aware that if that ship were to never leave port, your cruise line would stand to lose a substantial amount of capital and suffer quite a tarnished reputation.

However once the ship sets sail all passengers now become prisoners of the fine print of the sailing contract. To be brief, this cruise never made the two original ports of call, which I was planning my vacation around seeing as I had never been to these places; this is why I selected this itinerary. What transpires next is the complete addition of insult to injury.

In an attempt to compensate the passengers for this “technical problem”, you offered each passenger $75.00, which was deemed a refund of the port taxes for the non-visited ports of call. No other compensation was offered. This money, by law would have to be returned, as these ports were never called on. During the nearly three days at sea, the mood of the passengers was, as expected terrible, with no help from the staff to pacify the passengers. No offering of a complimentary cocktail or even a smallest token of apology from your cruise line.

One particular instance to make note of was the insults delivered to audience by one of your entertainment staff during a karaoke performance. The staff member while moderating karaoke, tried to make jokes about the missed ports of call and, when booed, told the audience, “I'm not the captain and you can just leave”. My mother called Carnival cruise lines and asked where our location was and she was told we were in Grand Cayman, meanwhile we were in Nassau, Bahamas.

I think this bothers me the most especially since a 5.8 magnitude earthquake was felt on Grand Cayman the day we were supposed to be at that port and my mother was scared for my safety. All of these experiences combined with the fact that the two original ports of call were missed made for what I consider the worst vacation of my life. On top of that, this was my second cruise experience with Carnival, which has brought me to never want to board a cruise ship ever again.

I am incensed at the fact the Carnival made such a feeble attempt to compensate passengers for such a major problem. I am also concerned by the idea that this problem was known, prior to the ship's departure however the ship still set sail. Seeing as Carnival is refusing to offer any other compensation, I find no other alternative than filing a class action lawsuit against your company.

I also plan to file complaints and inquiries with maritime safety authorities regarding the sailing of this vessel, especially considering the same problem occurred in September of 2009. I am grossly disappointed in the business practices of your company and plan to enlighten the world and show them that you are clearly not the leader of the cruise line industry. I have already made contact with several news station investigative reporters to share this experience with them. If you truly are the leader of the cruise line industry you will try to make good on this and show the industry that you stand behind your commitment to quality.

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Carnival Cruise Mobile Disaster
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Never, never again on Carnival! We booked a 5 day cruise December 14th out of Mobile as a Christmas gift to our kids. We drove 4 hours from Chicago and arrived around 10:00 A.M. to find that the ship was delayed coming back due to fog. My complaint is not about the weather conditions which Carnival couldn't help but how often they lied to us regarding ship information.

They put all passengers into a dome facility in Mobile. We stayed in the dome from 10:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M. It was very cold in the dome and pouring rain outside. For several hours we were told by Carnival representatives that they didn't know where the ship was! Imagine a major cruise line not knowing that! Impossible! At about 2:00 P.M. they brought in sack lunches for the crowd. Still with no information as to whether the we would be boarding today or not.

Their spokesman "Mark" would give us updates. Most of the day they didn't have any information at all, so the reports that people went out shopping to to see a movie couldn't possibly be true, as you couldn't leave the dome less you missed the information. People were tired and angry! Carnival's bright idea was to bring in liquor and set up tables to sell it to the crowd at ridiculous prices! A 25 cent bag of potato chips was suddenly $3.00 to purchase. By 6:00 P.M. they finally told us that even if the ship did dock that night, it would take three hours to make it down the canal and another 2 hours to disembark the passengers.

They made no offers of any kind of evening meal. At approximately 7:00, Mark went on stage to tell people that the boat was not expected to dock until the next day that the cruise would be one day shorter. Carnival did not offer any kind of an evening meal. You were on your own. At first Mark told the whole crowd that Carnival would pick up the tab for hotel rooms. He told us all to get in lines. One for those wishing to cancel, one for those needing hotel rooms and one for those who wished to continue on the cruise the next day.

Everybody got into the very long lines and waited for an hour. Nothing happened. Mark told us that Carnival had let all of the employees go for the night and he only had three workers to collect the information from all 2,000 of us. Then he told us that everybody should go to the terminal to pick up our luggage and return to the dome. We went back to our car, and got into the very long line at the terminal to pick up our luggage, only to be told by the police that the terminal was not open and that there were no Carnival workers at the terminal to hand out luggage anyway.

We again waited in the long lines of traffic to go back to the dome where Mark told us that we were wrong. He had information that the terminal was in fact open and we should go back and get our luggage. We kept trying to tell him that the terminal was not open, but he openly laughed at us. By this time, the crowd was getting angry... Thanks to Carnival's decision to make sure there was plenty of booze available, but not food or water! We should have figured Carnival would use the opportunity to make more money from all of us!

Then Mark got back on stage and said Carnival has changed their position and will now offer hotel rooms. But only at a 10% discount. The Holiday Inn rooms they were offering were $99.00 per night and you had to stand in a 1,000 person plus line to get them. It was now almost 9:00. The crowd was really angry now. Many folks didn't have the money to pay for dinner that night, a hotel room and breakfast the next morning. There were some college kids that didn't have that much.

One women with two small children asked Mark if she could get her hotel now so that she could find something to feed her children who hadn't had anything to eat since 2 pm. He told her that if she left the hotel line, she wouldn't get one of the blocked rooms. She was angry and asked Mark what she should do? Several people in the crowd were yelling also. So Carnival's representative solved the problem by having the police threaten to arrest her and her children if they didn't "shut up".

Our group found our own hotel rooms as we were not going to wait 2-3 hours in that line. But I did feel terrible for the many folks who had nowhere to go that night. Carnival's representative was clearly not very well trained. I think what inflamed the crowd the most was Mark's constant smiling and laughing at the people. How could anyone do that? Why did Carnival think it was a good idea to sell liquor in that kind of prediciment?

It gets worse. When we did finally get on board, we received incredibly bad service the whole cruise. When we put the luggage under our bed a half eaten and seriously moldy apple and a Carnival cup with whatever was in it was under the bed! Our carpet had nail clippings on it that were never vacuumed up! Our dining room waiter never remembered our names, forgot what we ordered, brought out the wrong food and one night, just didn't bring our coffee order at all. It was the worst service I have ever experienced on a cruise. We've been on both NCL and RC cruises and have always had a good experience... NEVER, NEVER again on Carnival.

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Stranded in Mexico
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MIAMI, FLORIDA -- My wife and I were on a Carnival Cruise this past year. The first night on the cruise, a drunk passenger came over to where I was at and grabbed a girl's drink that was sitting next to us and chugged it down. We had been watching this guy for thirty minutes trying to agitate other passengers. And three security persons were there and did not attempt to confront the guy and prevent an incident from occurring. When drank the girl's drink, I told him that wasn't his drink and he should buy the girl another one. Well this set the guy off to where he was yelling obscenities at me. I told the guy to forget it and asked him just go away.

The guy would not go away and persisted to continue cussing. After 5 minutes of yelling at this guy with security standing no more than 15 feet away, he started mocking me both my words and actions. I asked him how old he was, 12. He then stepped so close that he was only inches from my face. At this time I felt physically threatened and took one hand and moved him back to gain a more comfortable distance away. Because of the obvious extent of his drunken state, he lost his balance and fell down on his butt. That was when security decided to intervene.

I know they had to be standing there watching the whole incident because they were right there as soon as he landed on the dance floor. I told one officer to just get him away from us while he was fighting with the other two officers. Through the whole process of writing reports and giving statements which lasted for two days, I cooperated completely and thought that was the end of it. When we docked at our first port and my wife and I were getting ready to go ashore we were, I was told to disembark. Their reasoning was they have a no tolerance policy on passenger confrontations that was in the ticket contract. Two people involved, two people leave.

There is no such contract clause of that sort cause I've read it three times. There is a clause that I'm sure most people don't know because it is hidden in there pretty well. Carnival holds itself not responsible for any actions taken by any employees off duty, any of the vendors on the ship or other passengers, or any services contracted through Carnival. That means that if you accept this contract and board their ship, you can't sue them for anything that happens to you on the ship or on shore with any of their contracted excursions. Sweet deal huh? My wife was told that she could get reimbursed for her cruise since she was not asked to leave.

They have since denied that to her. They set us up to meet with a travel agent on shore to assist us in making arrangements to get home maybe even stay in port a couple of days we liked or needed to in order to get to the desired destination. When we got off the ship, this agent had us sit in the sun in the public eye waiting on transportation. To we assumed would be his office to go make appropriate plans to go home when after 30 minutes of sweating in the sun he rushed us through alleys to meet a van. Once in the van, he told us there was one flight out of the country and we would make it in time to make the plane.

I asked where it was going to and he said Texas. I told him we didn't want to go to Texas, we needed to go to either Orlando where we already had return tickets home or Cincinnati. He said only one flight out for US would be on it. I've researched it. We could have flown to Cancun, spend one night there and flown to Orlando the next day for less than $400 and we could have salvaged our vacation somewhat.

Instead we given no other choice but to fly to Dallas then home for over $1750 and getting home broke. I've contacted Carnival twice and they deny any responsibility for any of the unfortunate incidents. See again their clause of not responsisbility for anything (but taking as much of your money they can get.)

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Not Satisfied at All
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The ships decor and atmosphere is terrific. But every activity costs a fortune and you have to use a sail and sign card (no cash accepted). The fine dining wasn't that fine. They had alternate dining of crappy food with fancy names, like fresh eggs that were powdered eggs, and only unsweetened tea and water and coffee to drink. They only have coke products for your fountain card, and they only come in can form. I didn't purchase one and I had tea or water all day, and oj in the morning. When I asked for oj in the day they wanted to charge me. So if you don't enjoy water or tea you will be thirsty.

Their 24 hour pizzaria offers pepperoni that I'd never pay for so thank god it was included, and the five deli options never change. The other pizzas offered had weird things on it like artichokes and anchovies, and the pizza maker loved to ignore customers. My fine dining was awful, wrecked by some redneck with no shoes always coming to dine drunk and loud, and even though we asked the waiter to ask him to calm down they did not, and I didn't want to return for a third try at "fine dining" in which the food portions are so tiny and they bring you coke in a can to sit next to your fine silverware. Overall it did not feel fancy at all.

The bingo offered on the ship is $20 for three tiny squares, and everything seemed to have a hidden motive to get you to spend money. I felt so hungry at the end of everyday that I ordered room service (inclusive) but the ten options on room service were awful too, and I ate pbj all week. It didn't seem like we ever ported long enough to spend a true day at either destination, and you can't swim in the two pools onboard because they are super tiny and full of children.

The nicest person I met was Greg, our housekeeper, and the best activity offered was the casino and the comedy acts. The song dance shows they put on are good if you're into that kind of thing, but all the free giveaways come with long seminars that push you to buy things from them. They had cheaper alcohol onboard but you can only order it and receive it when you get OFF the ship, and if you have access to any military posts you get the same price because it's tax free.

Overall I had an awful time and wasted enough money that I could've gone on four other vacations. I'll never cruise Carnival again. I'd rather spend the same amount flying to the same destinations to visit. And be careful of the hidden gratuities they try to sneak on your sail and sign bill, and the 2 dollar gratuities tacked on to every alcoholic drink. I had more fun in Jacksonville before boarding the cruise, and I had more fun on my ten hour drive home than my five day all inclusive but so inclusive cruise.

Please research carefully before choosing your vacation on the water. The pictures and excursions are not what they seem, and they offer things you can experience and buy anywhere else for cheaper or the same price. Although I cruised Fascination, I feel that I was deceived and do not feel as though their other ships would be any better.

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Advertisement
Carnival Happy to Leave Mother and Daughter Behind While Rest of Family Cruises!
By -

MIAMI, FLORIDA -- We recently booked a cruise out of San Diego with Carnival. We booked in late June through Expedia. We worked with an Expedia agent over the phone and he also worked with a Carnival agent over the phone because we needed two cabins near each other. We are a family of five, including three kids (ages 12, 12 and 15). After forever on the phone, we gave our credit card to the agent and our reservation for two cabins was confirmed.

Fast forward to August 3rd. After flying from our home in Florida to the West Coast for the Mexican Riviera cruise, we learn *the morning* of embarkation that we actually only have one room for three (husband and two sons) booked and that the room for my daughter and I was cancelled in late June because the payment "was declined". Interesting in that we gave our credit card over the phone at the time of booking and when we hung up, our reservation had been fully confirmed.

The Carnival agent we spoke to the morning we were supposed to embark on the cruise said:

  1. "We sent an email informing you of the cancellation." --> False. The agent actually gave the husband my email address. It was correct, but there is nothing in any email folders including the Spam folder from Carnival - or Expedia, even though the agent said Carnival had emailed us.

  2. "Your credit card company denied the payment transaction." --> False. Our credit card company has confirmed that there was one successful charge from Carnival (which turns out to be only one of the rooms - God only knows why). There were no denied transactions against our card, nor any other attempts from Carnival to charge the card. We have now called our credit card company twice to verify this and have asked Carnival for the unique transaction ID related to this charge. Carnival has yet to provide that information.

  3. "Sorry. We are fully booked and have no solution for you. Call your travel agent." --> How's that for customer service? There wasn't even an attempt by the Carnival agent to get us on the ship as a family.

So, Carnival Cruise basically gave us the bird. The agent knew full well that for some bizarre reason half of a reservation had been cancelled and now - *two hours* before embarkation - there is a situation where a mother and 12-year old daughter are going to be left 3000+ miles from their home while the father and two sons cruise for 5 days to Mexico.

We called Expedia. They managed to find a room on the ship that Carnival agents told us was 100% sold out. Of course, we had to pay Carnival $570 more due to an increased room rate and the loss of $150 in shipboard credits that were a part of our original reservation price. Of course, Carnival won't refund even one penny of that.

At this point, our options were:

  1. Cancel the cabin reserved for my husband and two sons and lose $1300+ that we know we'll never see again. *And* scramble to find - and pay for - a place to stay for 5 days in San Diego until our August 8th flight back home to Florida.

  2. Pay $570 more so that my daughter and I can be with my husband and sons on what was to be the highlight of our summer vacation, our "family fun cruise."

  3. Wave goodbye to Dad and the boys and then hope that my daughter and I can find a place to stay in San Diego while the boys are on our family vacation (would have been miserable for all involved and, of course, costly.)

Repeated emails with Carnival's "Customer Care" representatives have gotten us nowhere. We still don't even know why this happened. I requested the transaction ID of the supposed failed credit card attempt and the representative sent me a denial code that is in no way unique to "my" transaction and one that my credit card company doesn't even recognize. I have a feeling that Carnival knows exactly what happened, but prefers that we do not.

How does only one of two cabins in a reservation get paid? How is half of a family reservation cancelled? How does no one find the time to notify the family that their vacation has been ruined? We still don't have any answers to these questions. We are repeat Carnival "cruisers" and Carnival had all the information for our family on file.

Bottom line is we will NEVER cruise again on Carnival or any of their sister companies and will advise all friends and family to do the same. It's a shame as my husband and I were planning to take a Yachts of Seabourn cruise for our upcoming 20th anniversary. But, that's another Carnival company so we'll be going with another cruise line. Fortunately, there are many other cruise lines that I'm sure would be happy to have us as customers.

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Cabin Bedding
By -

My wife, mother-in-law and myself took a 4 day Mexico cruise on the Carnival Paradise from Long Beach on Aug. 3, 2009. We were to have a handicap accessible cabin (my mother-in-law is 87 and needs a walker/wheelchair to be mobile) and to have 3 adults in the cabin. The cabin we were given had no 3rd bed (usually a bunk-type bed) or handicap access. What it had was a bed that perhaps my 7 y/o grandson would be alright with. The bed was about 7" high from the floor to the top of the mattress and was only about 5' long. I'm 5'10" and everything longer than 5' extended beyond the end of the bed into the hallway.

During the night, I had to be aware if my wife or mother-in-law was getting up to go to the bathroom and be sure that I pulled my legs out of the hallway so they could safely pass to the bathroom. Needless to say, my sleeping was not restful.

I brought this to the attention of the ship staff at the information desk and was informed that there was nothing they could do since the ship was full. I have contacted Carnival through the travel agent who arranged our trip and Carnival has informed her that there is nothing that they are going to do. My feelings are we paid for a handicap room and if they had none available, we should have been informed. Needless to say, never again Carnival.

For those who were so negative in their comments regarding my review. First of all, our travel agent had requested Carnival for a three person stateroom for handicaps. My wife even contacted Carnival prior to our cruise to confirm this. I took this complaint to the ship's purser when we were onboard the ship only to be told there were no other cabins available.

This cruise was to be a family cruise to hold a memorial for my wife's Aunt Fern who had been planning to have her 100th birthday celebration with 30+ of her family. Unfortunately, Aunt Fern passed away a couple of months before the cruise, but her 3 daughters said for all of us to go and we would have a memorial for Aunt Fern instead. We did not plan to have this cabin, our cabin was to hold 3 and have handicap access. My mother-in-law needs her walker to travel about, she is not an invalid and is capable of walking the distance required.

My wife and I are seasoned cruisers on HAL, Princess, NCL and even Carnival, we paid for a handicap accessible stateroom for three, what we received was a stateroom for 2. Some of you folks appear to have no knowledge and some of you are downright ignorant of life itself. This is for kenpopcorn: The room was not designed for handicap, I slept on the cot, my mother-in-law is 86 y/o. I did not chose this stateroom, Carnival assigned us to it. Just what gibberish does your last sentence mean? This is for Doctor Charlie: You are an idiot, we went on a cruise ship, not a hotel. This is for spiderman2: Read what I said to kenpopcorn.

This for pepperelf: I spent 7 years in the Navy, most of them at sea, I won't even compare Navy cruising with cruising on cruise ships. This for Eloise: You don't need to get a suite to have a 3 person stateroom. Most ships have a bunk that hangs from the ceiling (read overhead pepperelf) and the room stewards arrange it when turning down the beds in the evening. Handicap does not mean a accessible bathroom, it means a stateroom designed for persons with the need of a wheelchair. The entire stateroom, not just the bathroom (read head pepperelf).

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