Our entire family ( 23 of us-age 1-78) had been looking forward to what would be our last trip together what with health issues, babies and college in all of our futures. My parents gave all of their children and grandchildren an all expense paid trip on the Carnival Dream. We had all had positive experiences on previous cruises including the Carnival Dream and my mom was about to embark on her 38th cruise. We were especially excited as it would be during the Christmas Holiday ( Dec 28-Jan 4)and we were assured that this would be everything we had hoped for and more. High expectations-maybe- but we had the past experience to build off of- nothing prepared us for the ultimate family disaster.
We find out right away, that even though we had booked the cruise 11 months in advance, they were unable to seat us together. With some persuasion and work, we were placed in the general vicinity -across the hall from each other at 3 tables- but not in any position to talk or visit. While service was fine the first night we were informed that one of the waiters was no longer available and this would impact service- which it most certainly did. Our family was seated for early service in the Scarlet Room and waited about 90 minutes each night to be served. We were still trying to finish eating when the next group was waiting to be seated. Often we left without finishing or having dessert. On numerous occasions the food that was served was undercooked( both chicken and beef) and cold and we ended up going elsewhere to eat since time at our seating had run out. The waiters were always pleasant but were unable to service so many people at the same time while short staffed..
Interesting note, the babies age 1 and 2 paid full price for the cruise but the parents had to supply the food for the infant as Carnival does not provide any special meals for the little ones. That meant packing as much as they could and sending someone off of the ship later to purchase more baby food.
As a whole, the shows were a disappointment and seemed amateurish. Surprising since they were quite good the last time we cruised on the Dream.
By the second night, we had family members that were unwell with GI problems and we originally thought this was related to the movement of the ship. We quickly realized that it was something more when by the 3rd night several more people were bedridden. By Jan 31st, 18 of our 23 people were very ill, unable to keep food down and unable to leave their beds and rooms. Those of us who were able, took the others down to the Medical Center where we waited in line with all of the other sick passengers. Here family members were all diagnosed with the same illness and given medication for diarrhea and vomiting. Those who were seen were then quarantined until they recovered and were released by the medical staff. The staff told us that the illness was rampant through the ship and that they were unable to close the medical bay because of all of the sick people. This spreading illness was obvious to those of us who could still go to the dinning room as countless tables in the dining area were empty.( We spoke to several of them later and they said they too were ill) Those ill in our family ranged from moderately to severely ill)
This hit my brother and his family especially hard. The babies( age 1,2, and 6) were ill and confined to their rooms for 4 days along with their ill mother and their father who was so ill he had to be taken to the medical bay twice in a wheel chair as he was unable to stand independently and was incoherent from severe dehydration. He received 4 liters of fluid and never fully recovered during the trip. All of the 18 that were seen were told to take a clear liquid diet. I called room service in an attempt to provide clear liquids to all of my family members. Room service informed me that they did not provide a clear liquid diet and I would need to find it elsewhere. I explained that this was not an option as they were all confined to a room and with my broken leg, just providing tea and water was tricky- by the way- in the eating area, I asked to borrow a tray from the stack at the service station and I was denied- only available to wait staff. I explained about all of the sick family members I was trying to take care of and he handed me a plate to balance cups on. This happened at 2 different stations when I tried to borrow a tray.
There was no clear liquids available anywhere in the eating area or room service, so my son and I carted plates of jello and tea to 9 different state rooms. I ordered water bottles and clear soda for each room and was told that they would be charged to every room even tho room service was unable to provide the liquid diet prescribed by the medical staff. We were told that in compensation the sick individual could watch movies for free except that only 2 rooms had a TV that allowed this and then they were charged anyway.
My son slept on deck with other friends, to avoid getting sick.
I spoke to customer service who informed me that there was nothing that could be done about the clear liquid diets but if we purchased the soda package then the individuals would be able to have soda or Gatorade. We spoke to the medical team about the inability to find appropriate food source and they said that it was a surprise to them and they would address it for future cruises.
That being said we missed our ports of call since so many were in quarantine, most of the trip our family members were unable to eat any solids and were charged for water and soda.( They missed 4 days of the 7 day cruise- unable to eat or go into ports)
The smell of illness throughout the ship was overwhelming. We came across vomit in the hallways and elevators. We noted when we disembarked, all of the rooms that had special markings-presumably for extra cleaning as those in our group who had been in the sick bay- had their rooms tagged with yellow tape.
We noted that following the first few days, antiseptic handwash appeared at the dining areas and elevators. They were not there previously tho and should have been.
When we disembarked we spoke with some of the personnel and passengers waiting to board and were told that the next group of passengers would board several hours late so that the engine could have maintenance work done. Really? The engine?
So what happens next? We all write long letters expressing our disappointment in our experience especially since my parents spent a very large sum of money to provide this trip for the family. We expressed our hopes that Carnival would step up and do the right thing. Carnivals response? "Sorry, hope your next trip with us is better". Seriously? After $30,000, that is the best you can do? None of us will ever cruise with Carnival again, EVER!!!
We have heard great things about Disney Cruises.
We have noted since our trip, several cruise lines have had issues with the GI bug-Norovirus- and all have stepped forward to take accountability. That is how you run a business.
BTW the cabin steward-Alexander- was a gem. The only saving grace.
We had rooms 6360,6362,6364,6368,6370.6372,6374,6376,6378,6380 plus 2 more in another hall.