I am so glad for these posts. My wife and I were looking for a place to voice our opinions about the trip. We spent over $8,000 for the 2 of us without even knowing about VIP access which in our opinion is a joke! If you are paying a premium upfront cost then you should already be considered a VIP. This was my first Tom Joyner cruise but I've been on several other cruises with carnival cruise lines, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. My wife has been no the Tom Joyner Cruise (TJC) 4 times now. She bragged and boasted on how great the TJC cruise was and I was excited. One major major issue is the fact that the carnival boat we were on (carnival Glory ) was an inferior boat and can't accommodate the diva type acts that Tom Joyner booked such as Jamie Foxx and Snoop to mention a couple. The boat in previous years I hear was the Royal Caribbean Freedom ship which is far superior in so many ways so consider this:
Gross Tonnage Length Beam Staterooms DBL Capacity Max Capacity
Royal Caribbean Freedom 154,407 1,112 feet 184 feet 1,817 3,634 4,375
Carnival Glory 110,000 952 feet 125 feet 1,487 2,974 3,700
- This boat didn't feature a promenade that was as extravagant, spacious and useful for this type of event everything was just so cramped.
- The food was extremely subpar and was not the usually spread that I'm accustomed to. The worst food I've ever had at any all-inclusive travels out of about 12 that I have been to. The lines for food were almost ALWAYS about 30 minutes of wait time.
- The so called basketball court was a joke. It was about 40 percent of a half court with all of the hazards. The RC both in the previous yeas had a full court of basketball. The 3 on 3 tournament had to be turned into a 2 on 2 tournament.
- With the pool slide and other obstructions of views it made it nearly impossible to enjoy the Jamie Foxx and Snoop concerts unless you were guests of the band or guests of the guests of the random performers that I might add we paid for them to be amongst our presence in the first place! Even the so-called "VIP seating" was above the first level standing up trying to peep over and through the speakers, pool slide, guard rails, stairs, people or whatever else was in the way. Just a "hot ass mess" as my wife put it.
- The TJC crew members with the shirt didn't initially understand that this was a vacation for people and they were not club promoters moving, handling and whisking people around here and there. These people are paid by US and should have understood that. I will say that this behavior did improve quickly after day one and complaining to Mr. Rich and a bother named Chaz who did attempt to calm us down after we were pretty enraged over the treatment on day one by other "orange shirt crew members". Having said all of this when planning things and having one of the major diva stars (Jamie Foxx) change things all of the sudden may affect things and how arrangements are especially with the size of the boat restricting things that you can do.
Some of the positives:
And this is something that you can never ever get around were the people. We met some of the most intelligent, nicest, warmest people around. The networking and conversations were always on point. It was a beautiful thing to see and experience and Tom should be commended for that. The theme nights seemed to galvanize everyone and put us all in a great mood
The weather was absolutely perfect. The one time it rained we didn't even notice because it was so late and we were partying indoors anyway.
This was a charitable event and for a good cause so you can go away knowing you made some contribution
Since we were so disgusted with the whole VIP debacle we didn't get a chance to see Jamie Foxx and Snoop perform so we can't comment on those two shows but the other performers were absolutely stellar and on a scale of 1-10 I we would have to say 10; from the comedians Rodney Perry, Dominique J Anthony Brown, Damon Williams, Melanie l, Tony Rock, Guy Torre and the music acts of Frankie, Ojays, Tyrese, Ludacris, EWF and so forth it was amazing and they all took pride in making the show incredible and noteworthy. I was really impressed and it left a good feeling no matter what else happened
The carnival cruise staff members were so helpful and attentive almost all of the time, they really knew what the vacationing experience was all about and seemed to be interested and honored to be in our presence and wallow in our many different cultures. They asked questions and tried emulating popular dances such as "the wobble" for our pleasure and their own as well.
My suggestions in order of importance would be to
Get a better Ship to accommodate the uniqueness of this experience. This is a special cruise with special people and truly a star studded affair. The ship should be able to accommodate that.
Assure a better array of food and food choices because we do know the difference.
Train the TJC "crew members" on the spirit of this VACATION and the importance
Do away with VIP access and have open seating for everyone except for people with special needs. The star acts that can't be around the "normal people" shouldn't be on the ship since we pay for them to be there in the first place.
Plan some better destinations, new places and not the same Puerto Rico / Bahamas which everyone has been to