Carnival Cruise Line Complaint - Carnival Cruise Does Not Do as It Says
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