Let me start by saying I usually take negative reviews with pinch of salt. We are pretty easy going people. But we were very disappointed with Carnival. Don't get me wrong, we had a great holiday but this was in spite of Carnival not because of them. Our stateroom was number 8115. The first thing that struck me was the position of a large metal casing for the pull down bed. We did not intend to use the pull down bed but the mechanics for it were encased in a metal conduit approx 20cm x 20cm which terminated just above the sleepers head and seemed very dangerous. The next thing we noticed was the air conditioning unit was on full blast all the first night, it was as if somebody was stood next to the bed with a hair dryer blowing, although no cool air was coming out. There were NO CONTROLS in the cabin, the control unit was blanked off. I mentioned it to our cabin steward, John, who seemed to chuckle, but nothing had happened within 24hrs. I went to guest services later on that day (saturday) and they said that they would send somebody to check. I asked them to at least do something about the noise. We received a letter asking us to contact reception. I thought that something was at last going to happen but it was just to tell us that they'd ordered a part. As nothing had changed by Sunday we just asked for the air con to be turned off. They asked us if we had been offered another stateroom, but we had not, (they didn't actually offer us one either). At night the room got quite warm, it was lucky we weren't in the height of summer! When I went to guest services for a 4th time I spoke to a different person and was then told again that a part had to be ordered, I was also then told that THIS HAD BEEN A PROBLEM FOR THE LAST 3 OR 4 CRUISES, so the fault was obviously known about previously, and all the stories we had been told were rubbish. If this was known in the first place, either be honest, or don't use that room. It was difficult as our relations were in the room next door, we felt guest services were just fobbing us off.
We were also dismayed to find out (on the few occasions we were given bar receipts) that we were being charged 10% vat ON TOP OF 15% service charge. This meant that we were paying 25% on top of your printed bar tarriffs. We were aware of the 15% before we booked, but nothing is stated anywhere about another 10% vat. We were also told, that if we had taken our cruise in reverse, i.e. starting in Venice, we would not have paid this extra 10%, this was not stated clearly anywhere, or we may have chosen to do this. Surely Carnival has a duty make these extra costs clear to their customers, and when I bought 2 gifts
in the shop, 21% vat was added on to one item, but 10% on another item. Indeed, I would like to question the fact that goods are sold in the shops as 'DUTY FREE' when clearly they aren't! I shall be looking into the validity of the Spanish VAT charge being levied for the entire cruise. Again, this is something that has never occured before on any of the cruises we have taken which began at Spanish ports. I have looked again on their website, as if we were going to book this cruise again and cannot see that anybody would be aware of the extra expense. This is what we used to term 'SHARP PRACTICE' and I would urge them to make alterations to their booking procedures so that people are warned.
We were disgusted at the hygiene levels on board. Nobody was enforcing the hand cleaning at the restaurants, nor at the gangway when leaving or boarding the ship. the hand cleaner dispensers were generally tucked away out of sight, we had to look for them, except for in the main dining room, the dispenser was at the door, although again, nobody ensured it was done. I heard a guest complaining to guest services, and she was told that carnival did not have enough staff to implement it, but surely even if the dispensers were put in the right places, more guests would be encouraged to clean their hands, prevention is better than cure. Nobody wants the noro virus on a cruise ship, especially such a well known company as carnival, it should be a top priority. One evening I used the toilet by the theatre, there was broken green glass on the floor, when I used the same toilet the next afternoon, the same broken green glass was still there. How often are the toilets meant to be checked and cleaned? on many occasions in our corridor, there were buckets in the middle of the floor, collecting water leaking out of the ceiling.
Getting on and off the ship appeared to be an issue as well. There was only one card scanner being used and on some occasions it took more than 30mins to get off and then another 30mins to get back on the ship. It might not seem much, but when you only have a day in each port you don't want to waste an hour
queueing. Do they have staffing issues? on previous cruises, there have been at least 3 or 4 card scanning machines manned during these times.
We used room service for breakfast on 2 occasions as we had to be out early for excursions: on the first day, it arrived on time, but without the correct items, and honey which had gone crystalised due to incorrect storage. On the second occasion, we ordered it between 06.00 and 06.15 as we had to be in the liquid lounge by 06.45. it did not arrive, I waited until 06.30 and called, I was on hold for some time, then I was told everything was behind. The tray turned up at 06.45 when we had to be at the theatre, so could not have our
breakfast or we would have missed our excursion. My brother in the next cabin, who had done the same had to cancel his! Many people were in the same situation that morning, there were many unhappy guests.
They charged our account with a service gratuity of $103.50 each which totals $207.00. We considered reclaiming some of this but we know that it goes towards the back room staffs wages so were reluctant to 'punish' them for what we felt was Carnivals failings. We feel the levels of service/maintenance on this particular occasion were certainly nowhere near Carnival's high standards which we would certainly expect. Sadly, we both feel we could never bring ourselves to take a Carnival cruise again, nor recommend one to anybody, and my brother feels the same. We are pretty easy-going people, we know that everything is not perfect, but I think these things should not have happened.