My husband and I have done a lot of cruising and I have never come across a ship that was so disorganized. Answers could not be provided by guest services to questions I had...it was the ship of "I don't knows". When asked who did know I got no positive response.
Embarkation was a disaster. I am handicapped and any of you who were on the ship for a long time would probably have seen me walking around with my two forearm crutches. We were directed to a special needs line and stood in line for nearly 3 hours before finally getting to the check in counter. There we were told we had to surrender our passports and when I asked when they would be returned to us the girl didn't know. She checked with a supervisor then told me we would get them back before Cabo San Lucas. Well that was an out and out lie. We never got them back till I think we arrived in American waters on the other side in the Atlantic Ocean.
Because of the disastrous embarkation we left the port 4 hours late. This became the norm for the ship. Late arriving in ports and late leaving nothing was ever on the time schedule. It upset the shore excursions schedule and made some shorter in length than they should have been. Buenos Aires was my biggest complaint. We as usual arrived late. Our private shore excursion was booked for 9:00 am we never got off the ship till almost 11:00 am. They did extend the time to return to the ship but even at that we left Buenos Aires 3 hours later than the extended departure time. We could have had more time on our tour which we had to cut short. Also we were told that the hold up for leaving was the Port Authority by Malcolm our so called cruise director. Well anyone who had a cabin on Port side of the ship would know that was not the reason. The cruise ship was being refueled. I don't understand why the truth was not told.
Once again this seemed to be the normal for this ship. Untruths.
I have so much to say about this cruise that it might end up a book. But cruisers should know how this ship is run.
Black Pearl was one of the greatest disappointments for us. The second night on the ship we went there for dinner. As we were speaking to the people at the next table our dinner arrived. My husband picked up his utensils and cut into his dinner and then realized it was not what he ordered. Mine was not what I ordered either. To my surprise and shock the waiter picked up the meals placed in front of us and served them to someone else. When I said something he just replied it was ok not to worry. I made sure I watched that our meals did not end up in front of someone else then come to us. The next night we gave it another try. Our appetizers arrived wrong and belonged to the next table. My dinner arrived, my husbands didn't. I had finished my dinner by the time my husbands arrived. We asked for coffee and were given the cups, cream and sugar but no coffee. Third try and we hoped that by then things would improve, not so. My husband's dinner went back three times before he got what he ordered. We never went back to the dining room.
Lido Deck Buffet:
Long lines and cold food were the norm here. The lay out of the buffet was horrid. Salad dressing containers were placed in front of food so it was difficult to get at. Had to ask for things like Non-Fat milk and refilling of food stuffs. We found the meats mostly under cooked and not much choice of food other than cold soup, rice, mashed potatoes and pasta. We did eat here a lot though because I could get salad and fresh fruit. Anyone ever hear of someone losing weight on a cruise? Well I did 9 lbs. in 48 days.
Cabin and Stewards:
Perhaps the only thing on this ship that was really great. It was the only well run department on the entire ship. Our room Stewards were very helpful especially taking care of me when I was very seasick. I will be writing to Carnival with a high recommendation for them. Too bad the rest of the ship could not be run with the proficiency.
Malcolm had no idea how to deal with passengers of an older generation. I know Carnival is geared for a younger generation but it is easy enough to check the bookings and see that the average age on this long voyage was probably over 65. 1500 people did the whole trip from Long Beach to New York but Malcolm treated each leg the same as the last. There was no variety in the activities on board. Trivia was the big thing, hairy chest contest (get serious Malcolm), bean bag toss and other childish activities. Malcolm felt compelled to make announcements early in the morning naming off the events for the day. Gosh Malcolm I am sure we can all read the information that was provided to us the night before in the "Fun Times." His constant "Woo Hoo" started grating on nerves and when he asked one night in the theatre who didn't like his "Woo Hoo" and people cheered, clapped and raised hands he told us "Too Bad". I wanted to tell him to grow up and respect your elders but I could never find him.
His daily broadcast was also filled with childish hats, silly shirts and not funny nonsense. Funny cannot be forced. He was the worst Cruise Director I have ever come across on my many trips on ships.
Well this was a nightmare as well. Come on Malcolm how many times do we need to see a Hypnotist? Your "Girl in a Bubble" act was not fit for anyone to see. Once again I think Malcolm had no idea how to deal with the age demographic on the ship. Because there was nothing else to do a night we went to almost every event in the theatre some were great but most were disappointing. The singers that were brought on board later in the journey were absolutely great and got standing ovations as we finally got entertainment suited for our generation. The production shows were a great attraction but you can't have those every night. Perhaps Malcolm needs some more training at Cruise Director School if there is such a thing because I am not sure how he became one.
On and off the Ship:
Well this was a scary process for me and anyone else who is handicapped. Sometimes assistance was offered for my wheelchair and other times I was ignored. At one port the exit was off a very high deck, deck 2 I believe. There was another exit off deck 0 so when I inquired if I could leave by that exit I was told no it was only for those passengers that were not returning to the ship and embarkation of new passengers. So here I go backwards in my wheelchair with one helper holding me back and one holding onto the front. The helper in the front kept letting go and the helper trying to hold me back from flying down the ramp kept yelling at him. Needless to say by the time I reached the bottom and solid ground I was a terrified, upset mess. I would think passenger safety should come first and those with handicaps and wheelchairs should have been allowed to leave by deck 0. No one offered an explanation when I inquired just another "I don't know."
What a mess. Our first time off the ship was Huatulco, Mexico. We went to the theater at the appointed time and received our tour sticker then waited for the announcement of the number and color. Next thing we hear are a whole bunch of numbers and colors being rattled off and everyone trying to make a mass exodus out of the theatre. Pushing and shoving occurred only to be held up in the hallway as the gangway was over crowed. I have never encountered this before. What I have experienced is one tour being called, and then a wait of a few minutes and another number called. This seems more reasonable than making long lines in the hallway where people are trying to sleep or get in and out of their cabins. This would produce a more even flow of people leaving the ship.
At one port we were told by Malcolm to go to the theatre to get our numbers and colors and then go for a coffee or wait somewhere other than the theatre till the ship was cleared. They started calling numbers and then Malcolm made an announcement that the gangway was clear for the moment so those not on tours could disembark and he would not be making any more announcements. We were sitting up on deck 5 waiting for our number to be called and realized that no more numbers were being called. All of us there headed for the theatre to try and find out when our tours were leaving as none were on time. Ours had already been called in the theatre and we almost missed our tour bus because Malcolm never told us to go back to the theater. This was so disorganized. Malcolm should learn to explain things so the 3000 people on the ship can understand the true meaning of what he is saying.
I could go on and on about all the chaos, disorganization and poor service but I think I have made my point. Perhaps on a 7 day cruise no one cares but on a 48 day cruise people do care.
We enjoyed the ports and the people we met on the ship and all in all it was a cruise of a lifetime. If upper management could make some changes this would have been a wonderful cruise.