Carnival Cruise Line - Page 2

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On the verge of another cruise
Posted by on
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.

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My Letter to Carnival Cruise Lines That Has So Far Gone Unanswered
Posted by on
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 fiancé 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.

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User Replies:
goduke on 04/13/2010:
This is essentially a contract dispute between your brother and Carnival. I can pretty much assure you that they are not going to provide you on the status of the negotiations or settlement regarding the contract dispute. While I know your brother really appreciates you standing up for him, and it does sound like a pretty rotten situation, the lawyers won't let them respond to you about what they are going to do (or not do) to compensate another party.
clutzycook on 04/13/2010:
Wow. That's horrible! Unfortunately, Carnival will not likely respond to your letter because you were not their customer. Hopefully your brother will come to a more satisfactory resolution with them.
Ytropious on 04/13/2010:
This is why I would never do a wedding like that. It sounds super romantic but when you are relying on something as big as a cruise something is bound to happen to ruin it. I would have just had a small one on a beach somewhere sans cruise...oh wait that IS what I
MRM on 04/13/2010:
Awww... Ytrop!
dan gordon on 04/13/2010:
when you write a complaint letter but at the same time tell them your informing 391 Facebook friends not to use Carnival it makes it pretty hard for them to be empathetic to your issues.
Inat on 04/13/2010:
I think a wedding in a public place is a mistake. I had my reception at a golf course. I had a 'grooms table' with cigars a scotch - by the time we got to the reception, there were 20 random golfers enjoying my cigars and scotch :( - the employees at the host venue don't care as much as YOU do, sadly
Anonymous on 04/13/2010:
I had no idea you could plan a wedding on a cruise ship, and not actually book a cruise.

Ytropious on 04/13/2010:
Ugh Inat that sucks! I would have been like, those aren't free you moochers! Hell my gazeebo was in a state park on the beach in a very secluded area after hours so I didn't have to even SEE other people not in my party. It was perfect.
PepperElf on 04/13/2010:
all I can say is that thing can be very hectic after a bomb threat
I am glad the wedding was able to continue.

have you - or your brother - perhaps considered suing the passenger who made the threat?
goduke on 04/13/2010:
sounds like a very cool wedding, ytrop!
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Carnival Booking Scam
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
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 4pm. (Ship was to sail at 4pm) 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.
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trmn8r on 06/13/2012:
I am not sure I understand. Is it Carnival's practice to overbook (!!!), or is this problem related to not getting the reservation right in the first place? Both?

Overbooking a cruise, and not telling the people until they arrive at the ship, seems almost criminal to me.
barrykromann on 06/13/2012:
I must tell you that it has never happened to us before. It should never have happened. However, people are fallible. Looking back, I should have tried to print my boarding passes sooner during business hours. If there was a problem, we could have checked it earlier. However, I was hesitant to do that for fear that I would misplace or lose them during the chaotic month of MAY with all of the end of the year activities. I really doubt that we will ever use Carnival again. They were unsympathetic and unapologetic. They treated us horribly. I'm merely putting this post out there with hopes that other families can avoid a mess like this.
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Vista Suite, Room 7298 Online Photo Very Misrepresented
Posted by on
This was my 3rd year in a row on a Carnival Cruise Lines. We sailed to Bermuda out of Baltimore, Md. My cruise did not start off on the right foot. I started cruising back in 2009 with Carnival and each year we would upgrade to another room. Well, was I ever surprised when I opened the door to our Vista Suite, Room 7298 this past September 18th, 2011. The room was entirely different than the photo used to depict the Vista Suite on the Carnival Cruiseline website. Each category of rooms has an identifying picture, but this particular Vista Suite photo was NOT the room I walked into that day. I immediately called the front desk and told them of my dissatisfaction about this suite. After telling her how I felt the picture of the suite was misrepresented and I was not satisfied, the first thing she said to me was "I see you booked this cruise with". I said "Yes I did" but the photo I saw when searching my cruise for the Vista Suite didn't look anything like room #7298. I told her I would like to be accommodated with another room like the one in the photo. She asked me to hold on, then got back to me telling me that Carnival was sorry I was not satisfied with the room but they unfortunately had no other rooms available as it was a sold out cruise. She also said in a few days Carnival will be in touch with me. Well, two days later I received a letter in my room from Carnival thanking me for choosing the Carnival Pride for my vacation, appreciating my patronage, regretting no other cabins available at this time but should one become available, they would gladly contact me to make arrangements to relocate and should I require further assistance, and not to hesitate to contact Guest Services should I need any further assistance. What a joke that was !!! and how did they expect to get another cabin available if it was a "Sold Out Ship" !!! This letter came from the Guest Services Supervisor, Ma Vanessa Ungson.
I will also be notifying of my situation. Although I feel the responsibility of the misconceptive photo belongs to Carnival Cruise Line.
Let's face it... we all know how photo lenses make the difference in a photo and that is exactly what happened here !!! So, I spent $3,375.41 for this Suite and it was NOT what I thought I had purchased.

DO NOT book the Vista Suite as it is NOT depicted properly online.

"BUYER BEWARE" of Room Photos for the Vista Suite, Room 7298.
This room is very DECEPTIVE as to actual room on the Carnival Pride.

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raven2010 on 09/26/2011:
What specifically was different than the provided photo(s)?
At Your Service on 09/26/2011:
Better than the room depicted seemed deceptive because of a lens. It could have been because the photo was taken upside down -- as the ship was sinking ;-)
fumblebee on 09/27/2011:
What about the written description? What did it say? How accurate was it? While the photo gives a general idea of what the room looks like, they cannot show you exactly what your cabin will be. Every cabin is a little different. The best thing to go off is the written description.

Secondly - if you booked through a third party website, then perhaps you should take it up with them regarding the photos they use. While the images may come from Carnival, it is the other site that chooses how to present them.
Slimjim on 09/27/2011:
That is pretty ridiculous to offer a cabin change should one become available. Do they have many occasions were guests fall overboard or are left behind at ports?
I read your complaint twice and it seems you saw the photos on, not Carnival's website. That is going to be tough to hold Carnival to anything. As already experienced, they will deflect this to the broker, who must have had a stock picture up of another suite, probably on another boat.
Like Raven asked, how was it different? Were there major deficiencies from the photo unit? Was the features punch list short compared to what you booked? While disappointing, this is all things you will want to consider as you try and seek remedy from them. Unless they put you in a closet, consider perhaps being a little more reasonable on your refund request.
bhskittykatt on 09/29/2011:
I would be upset with, which was using the photo. I went to, and it says "No Image Available" for that suite when I looked it up. So what photo was using?

Even if they displayed a photo, it also says "All photos are representations of staterooms. Actual configurations may vary." So what you see may not be EXACTLY what you get.

What was the major deficiency in the room that you booked? How specifically did it differ from the photo?
PepperElf on 09/29/2011:
"That is pretty ridiculous to offer a cabin change should one become available."

Slim, IIRC some people only take partial cruises and disembark.

However even if that isn't happening... how can they possibly give the OP a different room if they're sold out? Kick someone off to make room? Throw another paying customer overboard?
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Final Payment Notification - Not Received
Posted by on
On July 22, 2011 I booked two cabins for 7 passengers, sailing on November 6th. I gave my credit card info to the representative to pay the deposit due for the booking. I was informed I would receive an email reminding me when the balance was due. As it turns out this notification is only a late reminder and is generated only after the final payment date has passed and the booking has been canceled. On August 24th, during Hurricane Irene, the email was reported to have been sent but it does not appear in my inbox or spam folder, although the confirmation had no difficulty reaching me. When the cancellation was discovered and contact was made with Carnival they insist the responsibility to pay was mine and the reminder is only a courtesy - contrary to what I was told during the booking. A recording they say is no longer available regardless of the fact that they stated their policy is to hold on to them for 60 days. We are only at day 55 as I type this. They further admit they have bounce back reports which tell them which emails were not deliverable. No effort is made to correlate non-deliverable email with unpaid final payments. If they collect my phone number and physical address at the time of booking, why would they not review the email bounce back report and attempt to contact their guests through another means if their goal is to prevent the booking from being canceled and possibly needing to be re-booked with penalties, interest and rate increases. Is there no protection for the consumer with regard to purchases made with a payment plan and notification of pending cancellation for non payment? I was told by a Carnival representative, whose contact information I have available, they are able to offer guests an auto-pay plan when booking so the final payment is automatically made using the credit card information supplied during the original booking. However revealing this payment option is not required of the representatives. Why are they able to discriminate who receives which payment options? Something just does not seem right about that. Upon reviewing both the fine print on the booking confirmation email and the Carnival "Ticket Contract" I have found no language supporting their policy of canceling for nonpayment the day after the final due date has passed.
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kellie on 11/05/2011:
ALWAYS book with a real travel agent! it does NOT cost any more money and sometimes you get a better price than with the cruise line directly. this NEVER would have happened, as your travel agent would have "reminded" you and taken care of it. next time!
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Medical Emergency prior to cruise date/No refund
Posted by on
Booking number 76XK97 / Medical Emergency Cancellation Complaint 1/14/2011
On Friday, January 14th, my wife slipped on the ice in the drive way and broke her arm and wrist in several places. As the weather for this area in and around Charlotte was very bad for several days, there was much ice and what not on the roads. We and another couple had booked this cruise a few months ago as we typically cruise on Royal Caribbean and had never experienced Carnival. We had heard allot about Carnival and decided to try the experience. Needless to say, the doctors basically told us that we could not go anywhere for the next couple of weeks and the reconstructive surgery require us to stay within the area due to potential complications with infections and what not. Our friends, the other couple, were disappointed and sorry for us at the same time, but are still going on the cruise, as like us, they had paid in full.
I called Carnival to see what they could do for us and they told us to contact AAA Vacations as we had booked through them. We called AAA and explained what had happened. They were very understanding and nice to us and told us that under the current policy with Carnival, we could only get half of our money back. With this said, we were very appreciative and understood this and graciously accepted their explanation and thought, “At least we got half of our money back, $614.83. “
Later on that evening, we received a call from AAA saying that they simply could not explain why Carnival would not honor the original terms by giving half of our money back, but that Carnival refused to even let us reschedule for a later date or put the funds towards a future cruise. I was stunned at this sudden reversal. I was told to write this letter by AAA as they assured me that they value their customers and felt that we should, at least, express out feelings in a letter.
My friends and us, we cruise every year. We have never missed a cruise and I’d say the odds are, we will not miss next years or the year after that. With that said, do you think that we and our friends and my family, sisters, brothers, etc., will recommend Carnival for a cruise vacation? What would you do?
My wife is a registered nurse and has been for 27 years. The hospital where she works and the doctors whom she knows on a first hand basis are appalled by us not getting, at least, a partial refund. They have said that should we need assistance or verification of the accident and the reasoning that they recommend we stay at home for the next 3 weeks, would not be a problem. I wonder if any of the doctors or her co-workers will consider Carnival after this as well. It simply states a bad precedence with no compassion what so ever.
To summarize, my wife’s health is worth allot more than $1,229.66. It is the principal of the thing that bothers us. We will cruise again and I told my wife that when she gets well, we’ll take vacation then. Do you think it will be with Carnival?
We will continue to use AAA Vacations because they are upfront and honest with us and we like their benefits in many of the facets of business that they offer. I’ll be 50 years young in 2 months and I can’t wait to get my AARP discounts. With all of this said we would hope that you (Carnival) would go back and look at this situation. We really would like to experience Carnival sometime and perhaps something can be salvaged from an already distraught situation here.


Bobby & Laurie Furr

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Ben There on 01/19/2011:
All cruise lines have strict cancellation penalties, especially as you get closer to departure. That is why travel insurance is so common on cruises.
Mrs. V on 01/19/2011:
Cancellation Policy

CHARGE(per guest)

Up to 61 days
None(except Cruises to Nowhere and Early Saver Fares*)

60 to 46 days

45 to 30 days
Deposit or 50% of Total Fare, whichever is greater

29 to 15 days
Deposit or 75% of Total Fare, whichever is greater

14 days or less
100% of Total Fare
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Is Carnival canceling cruise bookings the day the final payment is due so they can charge more when you rebook?
Posted by on
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- I would like for you to share this story with your readers. It is something all potential Carnival cruise customers should be made aware of so they too do not fall victim to what I view is an under handed scam.
Is Carnival canceling cruise bookings the day the final payment is due so they can charge more when you rebook? Are they preying on their passengers to generate more revenue for CCL? It sure seems this way. When I booked on September 1st for my January 9th cruise I was told by the CCL booking agent that my balance would be due in November. He assured me I would receive an email with my booking confirmation which I received shortly after I hung up the phone. He also said that sometime before the final balance was due I would receive an email with a notice to pay the final balance. He said that in the body of the email there would be a hyperlink that would take me to the CCL website where I could pay off the balance online.
A few days later, I received another booking confirmation from CCL except this time it was for a different passenger and not even on my cruise ship. I noticed that the passenger had the same first name as me “Vanessa”. Although we had different last names and were booked on different cruise’s I decided the right thing to do is to alert Carnival and I did so by emailing them to make sure that they did not send me this person’s information anymore. Four days later I received another email for the same family even though I alerted Carnival of the mistake.
During our Thanksgiving dinner this past Thursday the discussion about the upcoming 70th birthday cruise for Grandpa came up. My mother in law mentioned that she received notice that the balance was due and that she had paid for her two cabins. I told her I had not received any emails from CCL relating to final payment. So I decided to go online to pay the balance. When I logged in to CCL my booking number came up invalid. I decided to email them and received an auto generated email response to call in to their call center.
I called the call center this morning and they instructed me that they had cancelled my reservation and if I still wanted to take the cruise they would have to rerate my fair, the new fare would now be 20% more than the reserved fare I had previously booked. The woman explained that they had sent numerous emails to remind me that my final payment was coming due. She also said that they even sent a letter to my home warning me that if not paid that the cruise would be cancelled. I explained that the only email I had received was for the original booking on September 1st and the two other emails I had received were for Vanessa Gomes a family that had no relation to me.
She had me look at my original booking confirmation and low and behold it said Final Payment due on November 11, 2010. However, nowhere did it state that if not paid by this date that the reservation would be cancelled. I explained that I had not received any emails from CCL requesting final payment and offered the chance that perhaps the other party I did receive emails for was perhaps receiving mine. She said that she does not have the permission to honor the old reservation even with the email mix up and that a supervisor would be able to help resolve this. She also agreed that the email mix-up could be the reason I did not receive any emails from them, she offered no explanation for the letter never being received.
When Mr. Orion Mendes from Guest Solutions came on the phone he made it very clear that CCL does not have a policy or a standard procedure in place that would alert passengers that their final payment is coming due. He also said it is not Carnival’s responsibility to warn customers that they need to pay their final balance by email or letter. He also told me that they do not owe me anything and that it was my fault solely that they cancelled because I did not pay by November 10th. He also said that they never know when a reservation will be cancelled and that CCL does not need to provide any of this information to the customer. He stated that Carnival can cancel a reservation at anytime they choose including the day it is due solely at their discretion - all without notice. In my case they cancelled my cruise on the day it was due according to Mr. Mendes. He also did not see that any letter was sent (even though the previous Carnival representative said one was sent) but he did say an email reminder to pay the final balance was sent to me on the day it was due November 10th and then a cancellation notification was sent the very next day on November 11th stating that my cruise reservation was cancelled on November 10th.
He said the only thing he could do for me was to re-price the fare as my cabin was still available. He said the new rate would cost 20% more than I my originally booked fare. I told him before I shelled out more money for the cruise that I would like to verify that I truly did not receive these emails. I told him if they truly were sent and it was my oversight that I would call back and pay the additional fare. I searched the company email server and confirmed that none were received from Carnival on the subject dates in any folder, received, deleted including the spam folder. Mr. Mendes did say that if I could confirm with the other passenger Mrs. Gomes that she was receiving emails relating to my reservation from Carnival that then he could accommodate me. At this point I was scratching my head - and how will I reach Mrs. Gomes? Calling Carnival back appeared to be a mute at this point.
I am completely baffled about this situation especially on the heels of the recent bad press received for their Carnival Splendor disaster. My only guess is that they are trying to recoup some of the refunded monies and free cruises they had to give away as a result of the Splendor.
One would think in an economy like this where people are very cautious about their spending that Carnival would institute a much more customer service focused process and less self absorbed approach to their customers. I still have not decided if we will go on this cruise or not. I must admit it really is a disappointing experience as a past cruiser on Carnival and at one time a cheerleader for them.
I am hoping you will write about this undocumented cancellation policy Carnival has with your readers as I think this is important information.
Resolution Update 11/30/2010:
I received a call from Carnival Cruise today. They have decided to honor the fare I was originally promised. They apologized for the inconvenience caused. I am content with this action and am hoping they will develop better customer resolution processes.
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trmn8r on 11/29/2010:
This sounds not like fleecing the customer, but an oversight on your part and an error on theirs. You didn't call to find out your due date (after being told you would receive it), and they got at least an email address mixup up.

I can see why they have a policy that automatically cancels a reservation when the Final Payment isn't made, generally speaking.
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Discrimination And Rude Treatment
Posted by on
CARNIVAL PLACE, 3655 NW 87 AVENUE, FLORIDA -- I am very upset with the utter disrespect and discriminatory treatment my group received from Carnival Cruises. We had so many issues on this trip it’s shocking. As there are so many issues I will list them by location and then by day.

Rex Lounge:

Monday night several members of our group were in the Rex Lounge. There was an incident that began with the DJ. When J approached the DJ booth the security guard allowed her to enter the DJ booth to request a song. When she approached him to request “Birthday Sex” he told her “back up b#@ch!” I cannot imagine what could possible happen that would cause this type of response. The group was sarcastically told that it was the end of his contract, which apparently meant he didn’t care about repercussions. Regardless of the length of his “contract” he is still a representative of Carnival.

The next issue that even was also in the Rex Lounge, J was dancing proactively in the adult club and while dancing became overheated and removed her upper shirt revealing a sports top underneath. This prompted security, Franklin A, to demand they leave the club due to this incident. I do want to call attention to other similar incidents we videotaped in the Rex Lounge. There were some homosexual men that removed their shirts revealing only their bare chests and proceeded to lick one another’s chests. This same evening there were women scantily clad with very revealing tops that resembled bandeau bras.

On Tuesday evening there was a bachelorette party in the Rex Lounge between 12-2 am who were performing pole dances and erotically simulating sex acts on one another on the dance floor in front of the DJ. Shortly thereafter there was a man sitting along the wall across from the DJ bar who removed his shirt and began giving a lap dance to another male. After this incident a member of our party was sitting at the bar and another member climbed on to the stool she was on and was hugging her from behind. Interestingly enough they are sisters. Immediately the security approached our group and advised that Jessica would need to leave the bar immediately because by climbing on to the stool she was “endangering the safely of the other travelers.” I can certainly agree this was not safe behavior but I do not feel it was handled appropriately. In a normal bar setting this type of display would result in the bar staff warning the culprit. However in this instance Franklin removed her from the bar. I find it disturbing that the ethnic individuals in my party seemed to be discriminated against. I don’t know if this is race related because the bachlorette group were all composed of Caucasian female and the males that were performing oral acts on one another were also of Caucasian descent. Yet another example was during the Carnival sponsored hairy chest contest when a contestant, at the direction of the Carnival staff, told to parade down the stairs and upon performing he nearly fell from the middle of the stairs. Not only did our group capture this on film Carnival has included this in the DVD from the sailing.

On Tuesday I wanted to request a song, but felt very worried about the complaints and reports I had received about the DJ. I gently approached security and asked if the DJ took requests, he smiled and said yes. I asked where to go and he told me to enter the DJ booth. I stepped about 2 feet into the DJ booth and politely said “excuse me, may I request a song.” At this time the DJ glanced to his side at me with nothing but distain and turned back around. He was incredibly rude and didn’t have enough respect to nod or give me any kind of acknowledgement. After he played the wrong song I returned to the booth and again tried to have a song played. He was visible angry for some reason. Certainly employees have bad days but Carnival is advertised as the fun ship and is marketed as a vacation getaway. All of the internal issues within Carnival should be invisible to guests.

On Thursday my group was to have a happy hour. I gathered my group of 37 cruises and one member entered the Rex Lounge and asked where to go. My group member was told that the staff member didn’t know what he was talking about. A moment later I received the report from my group member and went into the Rex Lounge personally. The bar staff member yelled at me stating, “I don’t anything about your group, that is Linda’s party, they are old ladies.” I was furious and left the lounge to retrieve the letter from Carnival placed under my door the day before. Upon returning I spoke with Lancelot, he saw that my group was on the list and Emil was just being lazy. I demanded to speak with Clarke the contacted listed on my paperwork. Prior to Clarke arriving the F & B Manager came. I spent additionally time retelling the story. I was assured my group would get their full hour as we agreed to with Carnival. I was trying to enjoy our get together but found myself running around calming everyone down over yet another issue and rehashing the issues with the various members of the management staff. The F & B manager assured me my group would get a full hour, however our time was cut short due to the issues. Yet again I had 37 upset travelers.

Paris Restaurant:

The staff working with the Paris Restaurant all seemed to be unhappy; none smiled or acknowledged the cruisers. I saw numerous travelers trying to get some attention from the staff for ketchup, mustard, or assistance. I personally was in the buffet line on Mexican night at 11 pm and there was a female employee preparing the tacos who was involved in a very intense conversation with another staff member regarding how upset she was that another employee was not back yet to help her and apparently she was supposed to have a break. The traveler in front of me stood there for several minutes waiting for her attention. This held up the entire line. Also waiting for her conversation to finish I attempted to get serving of the taco meat for my plate and I was immediately reprimanded.

Destiny Dinning Room:

I arranged for my group to have a bottle of red wine during the cruise. On the first night there were bottles of wine on the 4 tables assigned to my group in the Destiny. As members started being seated some bottles were opened. As the wait staff was opening the bottles we were asked to sign a document acknowledging receipt. During the dinner bottles were taken from some tables and given to other tables I believe because not all members of attending the dinner. At the end of dinner I was approached by the headwaiter advising he was missing one signature and he was unable to locate the 1 bottle of wine. He approached me and other members of our group many times. So much we felt uncomfortable and just signed the slip. Due to the issues on Monday night 33 travelers in the group did not attend dinner in the dining room two nights. On Thursday night I returned to the Destiny for another try and I was again approached about the bottle of wine because one couple did not get their bottle. I was so frustrated, irritated, and embarrasssed that he would continue to draw attention to this issue I finally just told him to give them a new bottle of wine and I would pay. I believe that if there was a bottle of the wine missing it was the fault of the wait staff for failing to get the signatures or paying attention while opening the wine. The entire group complained about the headwaiter but wanted to make note of the other waiter, although we cannot remember his name we do remember he is from St. Vincent. The maitre de and this gentleman from St. Vincent was the only redeeming quality of the dining room.

Pool Side Bar / Bar Staff

The bartenders at the poolside bar and the America bar were clearly bitter and uninterested in refilling sodas or performing any form of customers that did not yield a tip. We were all educated on the “slave like” wages they were paid and how dependent the wait staff was on the tips. These are terms and opinions that were articulated to several of use. There was many times the poolside bartender (an older gentleman on the smoking side with glasses) that members actually had to wave him down and plead for his attention. J was unable to receive any assistance on Monday that she finally gave up and went to her room to retrieve soda. This same evening S, L, D, and myself had to stand up and wave our arms around to get his attention. I would understand if he was helping another customer or performing any of his job duties but flirting with a few drunk bachlorettes should be done on his break or personal time, or if anything have a helper at the bar.

Each member of my group ascribes the continual agonizing, annoying, badgering from the wait staff to buy the drink of the day as harassment. It became so bad nobody wanted to be near the pool and we opening joked that a restraining order may be necessary. I am also very concerned with the alcohol beverages that were served to a 16 year old.

Lastly, I believe her name is Melanie who conducted the section E Muster’s drill, the game show on Monday night, helped with Bingo, and introduced the comedian made it a point to tell us at each opportunity that it was the end of her contract. I can certainly understand being eager to return home but the emphasis that was placed on her leaving certainly made it abundantly clear the ship was not the fun place we were sold on. This behavior does not seem to be appropriate and certainly got travelers to talk and discuss the unprofessional staff.

I want to draw attention to the fact that each member of my party became so resentful of Carnival all gratuities were removed from each traveler. Many had planned on making various purchases in the duty free stores but opted to forgo the savings because they were so bitter about the ongoing disrespect they received from Carnival staff. You will see that each member of the group also took significant time to fill out the comment cards in great detail. I would also offer you the photos and video we began taking of the issues. We were all so frustrated that we began recording some of the issues that we saw as evidence.

My group ranges from 35-53 individuals and we book a group cruise once a year. In the past we have always traveled with Royal Caribbean and had no complaints. We have all raved about being treated like royalty on the Monarch of the Seas and the Pride. However, on the Paradise we feel like we were treated like trash. We selected Carnival this year due to its reputation and price. We were all very upset with how poorly we were treated. I would request that each member of the group is personally contacted and receive an apology.
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MacOSXpert on 02/06/2010:
I am interested in the videos and pictures. Please link.
yoke on 02/06/2010:
I have a feeling there is A LOT more to this story then we are being told.
jktshff1 on 02/06/2010:
Looks like too much time was spent in the bars. LOL
i_am_canadian on 02/06/2010:
Okay, I almost went blind trying to read all that, but I would very much like to hear the story from Carnival's perspective.
Ytropious on 02/06/2010:
Me too yoke. The fact that the OP has issue with seemingly every service staff member makes me wonder if it's just her attitude towards them.

Also, "Birthday Sex"? Are you kidding me? That's a song 17 year olds request at the school dance in the cafeteria, not a grown woman on a cruise. If I was the DJ I'd be mad too. Lastly, you don't understand what the job of a DJ is, he is syncing songs together which takes a keen ear and concentration, he doesn't have time to listen to requests, he was not ignoring you, he was engrossed in priority #1, his job.
DebtorBasher on 02/06/2010:
Are you sure the DJ didn't say, "Back up a bit"???? With loud music being played right there, it would be easily misunderstood.
PepperElf on 02/06/2010:
DB - that's entirely possible.

I once told one of the guys to go change in the "second deck head" instead of the equipment room I was trying to work in.

He flipped out and started screaming sexual harassment. Apparently he thought I said "sucking d*** head" and that I was accusing the guys of being gay.
Ben There on 02/06/2010:
How does one dance proactively? It sounds like this group was reprimanded a lot for various activities... I am wondering if they were disturbing other guests and that is why they kept getting kicked out of places.
Anonymous on 02/06/2010:
I danced proactively once. I put my left foot in and my left foot out without being asked to do so.

Jessica sounds like a mink. It's a shame they wouldn't let her get her freak on.
Slimjim on 02/06/2010:
Well I can't blame you for your entire party revoking gratuities, as they weren't very deserved. Just being the devils advocate, I'm suspicious as to why such a large party kept having issues all over the ship. Any chance a few (or more) were a bit out of control and disruptive the whole trip? Perhaps this Jessica for instance.
Ytropious on 02/06/2010:
I think she meant "provocatively", which means she was dancing in a way she thought was sexy. Apparently others did not agree.
Our group ranged in age from 14 to 56 years of age. The group was composed of various business associates and some children. Even the teens were unhappy with the teen rooms and problems getting their sodas filled with the fountain card. Although I wasn't present when the member was called out of her name, but I did request a song from the DJ completely sober and not intoxicated and was treated rudely. DJ's do take requests and in my experience with him he was incredibly rude. At one point he was standing outside of the DJ booth, leaning on the wall clearly angry about something. I am not sure if his 2 week contract had something to do with it. I generally book our group on Royal Caribbean and we have never had any issues with this same group. And certainly there were a lot of issues but the likelihood that 37 people would have all experienced problems individually certainly reflects on the level of service on the ship. As far as the constant badgering by the drink servers, unresolved problems, poor food, rude treatment is documented throughout the internet.
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Carnival Cruise Does Not Do as It Says
Posted by on

Mobile on 12/14/09 (12/15/09)

Carnival Cruise Lines:

We are writing to inform you about our experience with your cruise line. First, let me explain that back in 1998 my family, and fifty of our guests, sailed with Carnival for our wedding. We had a great time and most everything went as planned. We took this shorter cruise (12/09) as we were seeing if our children (6 and 8) are ready to begin to vacation as cruisers. We were hoping for a great cruise so that we could begin a yearly summer tradition of taking Carnival cruises.

We were extremely disappointed in this cruise and the way that Carnival handled it. As I am assuming you are aware, Mobile had heavy fog on 12/14/09 – our day to begin cruising. We were told through our hotel that Carnival had directed us to drop off our luggage as typical and at the luggage drop off we would be directed somewhere else. After calling Carnival, well over 20 times over the next 2 days (as I was instructed “We don’t know anything, call us back in an hour”), I didn’t hear the same thing consistently, so we did what all the other passengers seemed to be doing, and dropped off our luggage and then were directed to the Civic Center in Mobile. We were traveling with my parents and our two small children. Even after the flashbacks of the Katrina people being shuttled into a civic center, we were pleased to see that Carnival seemed to be trying to handle a bad situation well. This was at 11:00 AM. After many hours and no updates, things didn’t seem to be going well.

Then the official spokesman for Carnival got on stage (about 6 or 7PM) and said we weren’t going to be sailing out and that Carnival would provide hotel rooms and transportation for us. We would just have to wait for an official list of hotels. He also said we could cancel our cruise for a full refund. After hearing that one out of the two ports would be canceled, and that the one port we arrived at would be shortened, we seriously considered this. Our children and parents (and ourselves) were not doing too well after being left in limbo for over 12 hours.

Then the spokesperson got on stage about 30 minutes later and said, “No, Carnival would not offer refunds, just a credit toward another cruise. AND there would be no hotel room provided. If we waited around, we could get group rates that may drop the price 10 or 20%.” Well after people were yelling and shouting (oh- and upset that they were told they could get their luggage, but then turned away by the police after getting a taxi or shuttle to the dock) and throwing things at your spokesperson, we saw the police presence WAS necessary. Our children saw a man get carried away in handcuffs and more yelling and screaming was going on.

Fearing for the safety of our family, we took our children and walked (as we had no car and no money left for another shuttle service) through the streets of Mobile and luckily found the hotel we stayed at the previous night. So instead of enjoying a cruise we paid and additional $40 for shuttle fees earlier in the day, $ 40 for dinner, $10 for breakfast, and $158.46 in hotel fees. We lost over 50% of our cruise (as we consider the ports the reason why we booked our cruise) and the one fabulous private excursion we booked in Calica. Fortunately, the hotel was wonderful and allowed us to use their computer to cancel our excursion and hopefully he was able to rebook with other people.

The less than $200 we are supposed to receive back from Carnival does little to make up for the misinformation that Carnival officially provided to us. We paid well over that amount to stay the extra night in Mobile. We suffered through a very difficult day in the Mobile Civic Center where we were given little information, and while did patiently wait for your spokesperson to update us – you then lied to your passengers and did not back up what your spokesperson said. This is a true disappointment to us. We would love to begin a Carnival cruise each summer; however, if this is how you treat your passengers, I will never book another cruise again through Carnival. We were planning a “reunion type” cruise for our wedding and will not consider Carnival if this is the end result of our 12/09 cruise.

Also, once on board, no one ever mentioned our previous day’s challenges or even apologized. We left Mobile late, even though the ship arrived earlier that typical. It was past 5:30 (not 4 as we were told) when we left Mobile. One worker told us it was because Carnival was trying to rebook the canceled cabins. If this was true, I do not feel it was appropriate to punish us even more.

The rest of the cruise was difficult as you may know. Our “Fun Days at Sea” were confronted with two major cold fronts. On our return the pools and top decks were closed down and “sickness” bags were full and throughout the ship. That did not help seeing when you were already sick.

Luckily, the few hours on 12/16 that the slides where open (the only time by the way) my children went on them. The water was gray/green and we asked why and the attendant said it was because of something with the engines. My daughter did come out with a huge black grease stain on her suit. I would be happy to send you pictures of this water. Is this typical? It sure doesn’t show that in your website pictures. Another cost for us to incur – a new swimsuit??!!

What we would like is for Carnival to do as promised. We would like our hotel and meal to be repaid. We also incurred additional cost of shuttles back and forth between the hotel, dock, and civic center totaling $60 (or $40 additional as we would have paid $20 no matter what). We also feel we received less than 50% of our cruise because you canceled one port and shortened another. I wonder if we had left Mobile on time if we would have had additional time at Cozumel or even a stop at Calica. We have yet to receive our $199.02 back as promised, but we feel we should receive $498 (1/2 of our cruise), plus hotel and other expenses.

While we all understand that you were not in control of the weather, we do however expect you to stand by what your official spokesperson in Mobile said. You are/were considered a reputable cruise line and we will make sure we tell our friends, family, travel agent, and web review friends your response to this letter.

On a positive note, most workers (most elderly) in Mobile were helpful with whatever they could help with. They were kind and understanding.

We look forward to your response,

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goduke on 12/29/2009:
I suppose there are really two issues.

First is about the change in the story about Carnival's policy in regards to issues like this. I, frankly, have no idea what it is. But it would seem that the policy statement was corrected in a matter of a few minutes, and that no one took any action in reliance upon (what appears to be) the misstatement of the policy. If there had been some action -- spending money or not spending money -- because of what the first guy said, then there'd be a great argument. Every expense, however, was incurred with Carnival clearly stating they weren't going to foot the bill.

The second is what they should do for paying, and loyal customers when the weather jacks up the cruise. That's a hard call, as they have to take into account the economics of the situation. I guess they have language in their sale contract that says they don't have to give refunds if the cruise is materially altered due to the weather.
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Cruise From Hell
Posted by on
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- I'm a single mother and my daughter goes off to college next year. I knew money would be tight then, trying to support her education and this would have to be the vacation to remember. So, I went all out on my credit card and booked a Carnival cruise for me, my son, and my daughter for August 2 through August 9. The second day of our Carnival cruise proved to be gut-wrenching, horrifying, humiliating and mentally and physically damaging for the three of us. The event on this day caused me to fall to my knees in anguish. I could only compare this day from hell second only to the day that I was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm 3 years ago.

On the second day of our Carnival cruise we docked in Nassau/Bahamas and the three of us went on a ship-sponsored shore excursion (interacting with dolphins). Afterward, we made our way back to the ship (I don't walk as fast as others, as I have advanced osteoporosis). When we got to the dock where our ship was, we noticed the ropes of the ship to the dock had been pulled and the ship was idling. We started to scream and wave to the ship personnel (recognized by their white uniforms) that we needed to get on board. These ship personnel started to laugh at us. With sheer horror we watched as the ship started to pull away without us.

We were hysterical and out of our minds. My anti-seizure medication as well as other important medication was on the ship, as well as our money, credit cards, lap top computer, cell phone, jewelry, clothing, etc. I fell to my knees as my body felt as though a huge vacuum sucked all the air out of me. We alerted dock personnel who assured us that a pilot boat would be sent for us and we would be able to board the ship. There was no pilot boat. The hysteria started all over again...We had nothing!...A woman who said she was an agent for Carnival brought us to her office and said there was nothing Carnival could do for us. Hysteria again. Finally my daughter called her aunt and was able to secure her aunt's credit card information so we could secure a hotel for the night. We got the hotel and my daughter spent at least 6 hours trying to arrange flights and another hotel so we could meet up the ship and retrieve our belongings. This was no easy task. The ship was to be at sea for two days and then dock at St. Thomas.

There were no direct flights from Nassau (where we were) to St. Thomas. After spending the night in the hotel in Nassau we boarded a plane for Miami (we are still in our bathing suits from the shore excursion because that was all we had to wear). During this time we had one meal at Mcdonald's in Nassau--my son found a small amount of money in his bathing suit pocket. From Miami we flew to St. Thomas (still in our bathing suits, no hairbrush, no toothbrush, deodorant, nothing!)..I did contact the us embassy in Nassau but they said they couldn't do anything for us and that Carnival told them that Carnival had booked and paid for our hotel in Nassau.

Carnival did nothing of the sort. Carnival did nothing for us at all. I might add that we were labeled Vip status by Carnival because we had taken several cruises on Carnival before. Ha!... Vip my foot! We had to spend another night in a hotel in St. Thomas because the ship wasn't due to dock there until the following morning. I endured severe headaches for lack of my anti-seizure medication and my son was wracked with nightmares that we were going to be left behind again. When we did finally board the ship in St. Thomas we would have loved to have gone directly home but we were already seriously in the red -- almost $7000 for the cruise and almost $3000 to my children's aunt for the hotels and flights.

My son had found some money in his bathing suit pocket which was enough for us to eat at Mcdonalds in Nassau, but substantially that's all we had eaten in two days. When we got back on the ship in St. Thomas, many guests of the ship recognized us as the people that were left behind because they had witnessed the whole scenario from theDecemberof the ship. One man who recognized us was at least 70 yrs old told us he saw the entire episode from the ship's deck, which leads me to believe that those ship personnel saw and heard our desperate cries for help....When we got back to our room on the ship I asked the purser if we were going to be compensated at all for what had happened to us and they emphatically stated "no!"...There ought to be laws to prevent this from ever happening to another human being (or animal for that matter). September came along with my son's 16th birthday. He was so anxiously awaiting birthday money for a down payment on a car. Did he get it? No.

I had to pay back the money I borrowed to sustain us through the nightmare in Nassau. Did my children get new clothing and shoes for the start of school the first week in September? No, I couldn't afford it - had to pay back the money I owed. Did we celebrate labor day weekend? We had sandwiches. Did I get two new tires that I desperately needed on my vehicle so I could travel the highway safely to get back and forth to work? No - I had to pay back the money I owed. We have memories alright, nightmares are more like it. I have written to better business, the attorney general of ny, and consumer complaints among others. Did I get a dime back from Carnival? No. They claim they have no control over their ships.
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User Replies:
yoke on 09/15/2008:
You missed the boat, how is that the cruise ships fault? You were told what time to be back and you weren't back in time. Did you really expect the ship to wait for you? The rest of the passengers managed to be back on time.
Suusan B. on 09/15/2008:
Two questions for you - - what time were you instructed to be back on board and what time did you actually arrive?
madconsumer on 09/15/2008:
if you are experienced at cruises, I find it hard to believe you left the boat un-prepaired as you did. also that you missed the boat due to your own lack of time keeping. I thought all cruises made you check in and out went off the boat, no?
Ben There on 09/15/2008:
You mention that you were on a Carnival shore excursion... Did anyone else miss the ship or did you leave them at some point to do your own thing.
Anonymous on 09/15/2008:
I call shenaningans!!
Anonymous on 09/15/2008:
Ben There, excellent question. My heart goes out for the OP and her children but missing a ship is pretty hard to do. They tell you 20 times what time to be back.
b5ster on 09/29/2008:
Sorry but Carnival goes out of there way to let every passenger know exactly what time to be back on board..They even go as far as to warn passengers that...they will in fact leave you if your late!
They warn you on the in room TV re-broadcasts of the passenger information meetings you could have attended about leaving the ship, Over the loud speaker on-board before you leave the ship, In writing in the Carnival news letter you got every morning, And in writing on the travel info paper you get leaving the ship at every destination!

Carnival could not make it any clearer that you must be back by the stated time and that stated time is mentioned again and again. Or else you will be left behind and have to catch up to the ship at your cost!

Sorry this cost you money and headaches (due to the lack of your meds) but it's not Carnivals fault you did not plan your time correctly.

I'm also sorry to be blunt here but at some point you have to take some responsibility for yourself.
clutzycook on 10/12/2008:
I've sailed with CCL twice in my life. The tell you that one of the advantages of booking your excursions through the cruise line is if your excursion is running late, they will hold the boat for you. This doesn't apply, of course, if you go off on your own and book your own excursion; or, if you complete your excursion and then go off on your own to do some shopping, sightseeing, etc. Were there any other people from your ship on the same excursion? If so, did they miss the ship as well? That might be the deciding factor here as to determining if you have a case against CCL. If you were the only ones to miss the boat, you're probably out of luck.
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