Carnival Cruise Line Complaint - Poor Service, the cruise has not even started...
January 31, 2011
What happened to resolving customer issues? Especially when the company brought the issue upon themselves, and now they are not willing to compromise or fix it. Let’s start from the beginning. My wife and I have been cruising for many years and have traveled on Celebrity, Norwegian, Carnival, and Princess cruises over the past 10 years. In August of 2010 we decided to take a cruise with out 2 young daughters and invited their Great-Grandmother and a friend to join us. Considering we have cruised Carnival 4 times prior including a 40 passenger booking that my wife lead the charge on we naturally were drawn to re-book with Carnival Cruise Lines. This will be the first cruise for our family friend that is joining us. In August my wife and I booked our reservations and made payment on our deposits with the intentions of booking our daughters at a later date when we paid the cruise in full. At that time we informed Carnival of this so they noted it on our account and placed us in a room that accommodated the 4 guests.
About 2 months ago I called Carnival to make final payment on our cruise and to book our daughters on our cruise. At the beginning of that call I was informed by the agent on the phone that because we were past cruisers with Carnival we were eligible for a 5 category upgrade which would give us the option of a balcony room. Naturally, I was ecstatic and for a moment I could not wait to get off the phone and tell my wife the great news. As we got further into the call and booked the children I was then informed that since I was booking additional members in my cabin that I would not be eligible for the upgrade. The agent on the phone was extremely apologetic and explained that she had spoken out of turn before reviewing the details of the reservation and at that time there was nothing she could do. For obvious reasons I was disappointed and not because I expected something for free. I thought to myself wow; I am actually being recognized for my loyalty to a brand. Typically you hear these types of things happening but it never happens to you. In the end I thanked the agent for her help; we booked my daughters on the cruise, made full payment and ended the conversation. At that time the representative told me to continue to call back and check because upgrades become available on a regular basis. Not knowing this or expecting it I made a mental note and mentioned it to my wife.
About six weeks ago my wife made another call to Carnival to confirm a few questions about the cruise. Mainly we wanted to ensure our dining arrangements were in place to have dinner with our other party and that the seating time was noted on the account as we are traveling with small children and wanted the early seating. During this call another representative brought up the fact that we were eligible for a 1 category upgrade. Again, my wife was excited. To be not expecting something and then to be offered an upgrade is fantastic even if it is a single category. The agent went over options with my wife discussed actual cabin numbers on the ship and what was available within that one category upgrade. The two of them decided on a cabin with the recommendation of the agent as far as location on the ship and the vicinity to our other guests. According to the agent she was going to have to get the “Customer Solutions” department on the phone to finalize the process.
My wife waits on hold for several minutes, still excited about being offered something for being a past cruiser but that quickly came to an end. The agent returned back to the line and explained that she had made a mistake and that we were not eligible for the upgrade because we had paid an early booking rate and the rate did not apply to the upgrades. She was extremely friendly, sweet, courteous, and could not apologize enough for her mistake. The agent again told my wife that upgrades are constantly changing and to reach out to Carnival about a week prior to check on availability. Let down again my wife thanked her for assistance, ensured she her questions answered and ended the call. At the time my wife and I even discussed how ironic it was that both times the agent brought up the upgrades to us when that was not even the reason for our calls and both times we got our hopes up to be let down by gracious but ill equipped customer service agents that are incompetent in providing their customers correct information about the brand that they represent.
Tonight, 11 days from our cruise my wife calls Carnival Cruise Lines with the intention of asking about the possible upgrades available to us considering we are past cruisers with Carnival and the past two customer service agents have advised us to do so. The first agent flat out advised us that there was nothing available for an upgrade within our available categories. She also advised us that there were upgrades available but we did not qualify for them including the balcony rooms which 2 months ago we were told it was an option. She also advised us that no notes had been placed on our account regarding the previous conversations. We should have expected that they would not document their mistakes. At this point my wife is just angry.
Not because the people we have talked to have been rude or made mistakes but the fact is that we had been told on multiple occasion to contact Carnival to discuss our options, been given details about possibilities of alternate rooms and in the end nothing. We asked to speak with a supervisor tonight because it just seemed like nobody cared to address our concerns. We were given another agent (Guest Solutions) who explained to us the same thing and that there were no options available that they were allowed to upgrade us to and that there were no managers or supervisors at the call center. She could not recollect the agent who transferred our call to her. She offered to transfer our call to the Elite Services desk to handle our problem which is simply another area of customer service.
My wife asked for the name and number to reach out to someone tomorrow the agent became defensive until my wife explained to her we have every right to ask these questions to ensure our issues are addressed. In the end she provided us with the name [snip - no names please] but could not provide a phone number or email address. In the end we spoke with a Hilda at the Elite Services desk who assured us we would hear from a manager or supervisor in the next 48 hours. After she learned we already had [snip] name she said she would bypass the supervisor and send our inquiry directly to Sheila. We will see what the outcome is of this experience. In the end it is just truly unfortunate that a cruise line would rather a room go empty and lose a loyal customer than to do the right thing and take care of the customer. Our cruise has not even started and I hope this is not a sign of things to come.