On Dec. 1, 2012, My friend and I boarded the Carnival Liberty for a Western Caribbean cruise. I have sailed with Carnival on two previous occassions and had a great time. I had read about some problems online with Carnival and was a little leery but figured they were probably just cranks. Carnival's lack of service and care about their passengers began almost immediately when it would take days, even weeks and a lot of rude behaviour from employees to get the simplest question answered. Even though I qualified for the past guest party prior to their new "loyalty" program, they refused to honor it on board, instead, giving me a coupon for a drink at breakfast.
The embarkation process was smooth, as was the debarkation. Other than that, it was like cruising in a used car lot full of salesmen. A cruise is supposed to include food, accomodations and activities. Unless you are happy with garbage like "Sun-up Stretching" at 7am or the multiple trivia contests, there is very little in the way of included activities. Everything else is designed to squeeze more money out of you. You are constantly being told to buy, buy, buy. The shows were both the same shows I had seen on a cruise 8 years ago. they weren't changed or updated one iota.
The food was abysmal. The best way to describe it was cold and old. I am a chef and know how food should be served. The staff at Carnival don't have the first clue. There wasn't one dish, other than cream of wheat, that came to the table any hotter than luke warm. Most dishes were prepared improperly and tasted downright nasty. The waiters were as cold as the food. Don't go on Carnival expecting the old grandeur. The midnight buffet has been replaced with hot dogs at 11:30. The wait staff shows are nothing more than them swirling napkins over their heads. No chocolate buffets, constantly running out of food at the buffet, powdered scrambled eggs, no bacon at breakfast, pre-cooked re-heated food in the dining rooms, it was worst than a bad fast food restaurant.
If anybody is crazy enough to book with Carnival, check your sign and sail account daily. They put erroneous charges on your account constantly and fight like hell to not take them off. Aside from the bill boosting, we found glass slivers in some drinks and, not only could they not care less, it was hell getting the charges removed.
There were many more problems and absolutely no value. Some staff i spoke to told me that Carnival is like this fleet-wide and constantly on them about saving money. One guest service staff member told me she would get in trouble for removing a false charge to my account. Other guests told me that they have had nothing but problems from Carnival, as well. The general opinion from those at debarkation was that the trip was nothing but a floating colonoscopy. The terms they used were a little cruder, but you get the idea.
A few tips: Don't book any excursions with Carnival. You will do much better in port.
Don't play their bingo. They keep a minimum of 75% of the take and will lower the prize money to ensure it. They charge 30.00 for one game of bingo. Any of their organized gambling activities are a complete ripoff.
Don't play blackjack when the dealer has both cards showing. They bill it as you getting an advantage but, in fact, they change the game rules and payouts to put the advantage even higher for the house than regular blackjack. Don't play the electronic blackjack. a complete and utter ripoff.
If anybody thinks this is just sour grapes because I lost, think again. I actually won because i didn't fall into their traps and scams. It's just that I saw most people get creamed by these schemes.
Take alcohol on with you and buy tickets on line in advance but watch your bill. If you use tickets they will put the charge in twice, once with the ticket reflected and once without. Go online to rumrunners flasks. They work beautifully