I am very disappointed in the Carnival Cruise we just returned from. In fact, I am so upset about having spent money on this 'vacation' that I am sick to my stomach. . We left on a 4 days cruise from Cape Canaveral to Nassau and Freeport Bahamas. We cruised Carnival once for 5 days in 2011 as our first cruise and we were underwhelmed to say the least. Since it was our first cruise we did not have anything to compare it to and did not know what to expect. We did know at that time we did not love Carnival and the service we received or did not received and decided we would not be back. In 2012 we cruised for our honeymoon for 7 days on Royal Caribbean and it was amazing to say the least. I cannot think of one complaint or critique. We knew then that Carnival had not served us well on our first trip and vowed to never return. When vacation time came this year we learned that some of our family members had booked on Carnival and we very much wanted to vacation with them. We figured that since the price for this cruise was good and we wanted to be with family that we would give Carnival one last chance. We are appalled and disgusted by the entire trip.
The problems started once we got to the port. We were shuttled in by the rental car company and were dropped off almost a half a mile from the entrance in a non nondescript and somewhat confusing parking lot. We had to lug ourselves across this parking lot with no signs towards the ship. But for the boats, we wouldnt have even know what direction to go in. But we figured it must be the rental car company since they dropped us here. Only we learned later that the shuttles do not have access to the front of Carnivals port like they do to Royal Caribbeans port. We managed anyways, not the end of the world. We had priority check in since we upgraded to a suite when carnival called a few weeks before the trip and offered us an upgrade for the 4 days from a balcony to a suite for a mere 300 dollars and change. What a mistake that was, which will be explained later. Priority boarding is a joke. We were pointed in the direction of a poorly staged room at the port where two elderly women who moved slower than molasses 'assisted' us in checking in. The women took so long to help the 2 families in front of us and then us that by the time we were done checking in, the ENTIRE lobby of the port where all the other people checking in were had cleared out and they were already on the boat. This placed us in line everyone else with no priority benefit. The staff at the port terminal were rude and aggressive. They behaved as if we were all inmates going to a chow hall.
When we finally got on the boat we were not allowed to go to the rooms yet as we were early. This is not a problem for us as we like to get on the boat, have some lunch and explore before we go to our room. This clearly did not go as planned. We boarded the ship around 12 noon and it was disgusting as if the boat hadnt been cleaned in the last few cruises. The bathrooms on the lido deck were horrific. I actually vomited in my mouth. The floor was already covered in water (no one was in the pool), there was urine on the floor and toilet and it stunk. This was the same for the male and female bathrooms. We attempted to have lunch in the main dining room on the lido deck. There was no place to sit and the food was horrible. We can appreciate it being crowded at this time so we managed to find a table and eat. The food to choose from was not varied and was not good. The food was basic slop from a mess hall and was cold and old tasting. Which is odd since we had just stepped on the boat. There was flies everywhere. We couldnt finish eating since the food was so gross and there was flies all over the inside dining room. We gave up and waited on the deck by the pool.
We were soon allowed to go to our 'suite' where the disappointment ensued and I became so upset. There was urine in the toilet of the room. Hair (not ours) in the sheets of the bed, enormous stains all over the floor about 10 each the size of a small suitcase. The mirrors were streaked with finger prints and who knows what else, the fridge was broken and not cold, there was BLOOD and other unidentifiable stains on the curtains, the door handle to the deck was broken, the deck was disgusting with cigarette ashes and gummy bears on the ground and the porch light did not work. At this point I cried. We had spent good hard earned money on a vacation that would be the last vacation before we start our family. I am 5 months pregnant and was looking for a relaxing time. This is the reason we upgraded to a suite so that we could enjoy ourselves even more. What a disappointment. Not only was the room disgustingly dirty it was so outdated I was not sure what era we were in. This boat, I learned later, became active in 1993. It has clearly not been updated since and possibly not even cleaned since.
My husband called the front desk to inform them of the above issues as I was so furious I didnt think I could be effective. The guest services indicated they would send someone to see the issues and fix them. A few HOURS later, a women who was in charge of the housekeeping staff came to see us. She said the floors have always been dirty even though she thinks they shampooed, the the ship is 'vintage' and we should appreciate the stains. She agreed to have someone come and clean the blood and other bodily fluids off the curtains. Another few hours passed before someone came and barely attempted to clean the items. The housekeeping never got to the balcony. Later on the night we learned that the jacuzzi tub was not working and a piece controlling the water flow fell right off into my husbands hands. We called guest services again, who suggested that we were doing something wrong (which we werent) and they would send someone. We then met our cabin steward. He came to the door and was rude. He stated that if we had any issues we should go to him, not to anyone else. But since we had no idea who he was we clearly could not have gone to him before that. Some engineers or plumbers came and indicated that they were not able to fix the tub (we received a credit for this on our sail and sign account). They fake fixed the door handle on the balcony. At this point we gave up. We were already in the ocean and had paid for the trip so we attempted to make the best of it. Although I was very upset to learn that the 'suite' balcony was enclosed, not glass like the other balconies and was smaller. I was looking forward to sitting on the balcony but it felt like a prison cell and was just as dirty.
We figured we would go to the pool to relax. We learned that there was only one pool on board which meant that a few hundred people at one time, children included (many many many children), would all be attempting to share the same small pool. There was no room to relax as there was never enough chairs and the pool was either too crowded or there was an excessive amount of unsupervised children ranging from ages 6 to 16 literally doing cannon balls into a small, not deep pool. There was no parental supervision and no staff intervention. Carnival staff, security staff included watched the entire 4 days as children with no parents, ran, jumped, screamed and splashed adult guests. It was miserable. I even asked a female security guard who was watching the pool around 11pm at night (the only time I was able to get near the pool) why there was still children allowed there with no adults. She said she didnt know the rules. And if the pool situation was horrible enough to begin with, the staff played organized games with the children in the same pool. This just encouraged ridiculous behavior from the children. In addition, I even watched grown men swear at security and jump into the pool causing problems for other in the pool. I was again appalled at the lack of control, security and supervision the staff had. There was not one point in the entire 4 days we were able to actually enjoy the pool or hot tubs. It was not only late on the last night that while wandering around on my own did I find what I learned was the adult only deck and there was no pool and it was small. Too small to accommodate adults. I was not aware of this area since it was not printed anywhere or mentioned. Security also failed many times to address the theft of pool towels and personal items from the pool area and more importantly the excessive amount of obvious underage drinking and gambling.
We thought we would get away from the food that was served on the buffets since it was cold and lackluster. In fact, some days the food wasnt actually cooked all the way making it dangerous to eat. We ate in the dining room the first 2 nights and the last night. The first night during a nice quite dinner the music went loud, the lights went low and the waiters participated (begrudgingly) in a dance show. This coupled with the crew members walking around selling shots and the other crew member selling plastic cups made for a very unclassy and cheap experience. I would like to eat my dinner without having to tell staff more than once during that meal that I do not want alcoholic shots, a plastic cup or a picture with a pirate! It really cheapened the experience.
We purchased excursions while on the boat. The excursion in Freeport to Taino Beach Resort was unbearable for 100 dollars a person. The resort was rundown and unclean. The beach was a mess and the pool area was not kept well. We had booked this excursion for the lazy river and the beach only to not be able to make use of the lazy river since the 'resort' had run out of pool floats and did not order anymore. When I asked an employee they said that cruise guests pop them and they ran out and didnt order any more. We then saw the employees giving floats to the hotel guests. The bar in the pool was old, dirty and had mold everywhere. The lunch that was included was cold and the chicken and pork was undercooked. My husband and I both got sick from it and I vomited for hours that night. Complete waste of 200 dollars.
The excursion in Nassau was the parasailing. My husband and cousin parsailed and I tagged along on the boat. The operators of this tour were rude and shady. They told me I had to pay them 30 dollars to ride on the boat with them to see my husband parasail. I did so because I really did want to video tape it. The operator told me that there was no need to video tape since they do it. But they didnt of course. While we were on the boat they tried to get me to parasail and I made it very clear I was not going to because I was pregnant and not only was it not safe, it is not permitted. They both indicated that they can do whatever they want and kept pressuring me to do so until I was overly firm with them. This was after my husband asked if he could go second in line and the man told him in a very inappropriate and aggressive tone this is my boat and you will do what I tell you to do. I was not only upset at the way they treated us but nervous for our safety since the boat operator texted on his phone the entire time.
I figured I would try the spa to see if I could actually calm down from being so upset and disappointed by all the above events. The girl at the spa was very nice and very friendly. However, she gave me the wrong upfront price, charged me a different price on the back end and gave me the worst manicure I have ever had. She did not provide any of the basic manicure services that are custom to the process and I upgraded to having the gel manicure done hoping for more time in the spa and a more enjoyable experience. That was also a huge let down because she still did not provide any manicure services she only painted my nails with the gel and did a horrible job. She did not cover the entire nail on side or top and bottom and its bumpy and not done well. When I got the bill for over 60 dollars I was so upset and I began to ask about why it was so much and she just pointed at the price list which in and of itself is not very good and clear. I had had enough of arguing and explaining myself and hoping for more that I paid the bill and left.
The staff all over the boat appeared to be mundane, uninterested and uncaring about the conditions of the boat, the food and the the guests The entire experience including the excursions was horrible and a waste of our hard earned money and time. I am so disappointed in the way Carnival as a company and its crew has cut corners, fails to take pride in themselves and their ships and has failed to provide the guest with a guest centered experience. If I want to feel like and inmate or cattle I will go to a prison or a farm. I will not be coming back to Carnival after 2 separate disappointing experiences. I hope that Carnival can step it up and recognize where there money comes from the guests- and focus on them, not on just turning a room.