1st Time Cruise Disapointment New Years Cruise: Carnival Freedom Cruise Review by Catergirl32
Overall Member Rating
1st Time Cruise Disapointment New Years Cruise
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
CARNIVAL PERSONAL VACATION PLANNER We went through a Carnival Cruise Line Personal Vacation Planner and he pushed the "extra big" corner room "2470" which was big and had 2 large windows however it was located on the 2nd floor in the Aft part of the boat. When I found out the location of this room I called the "vacation planner" and asked him if we should up grade to a balcony room in the middle of the boat and he "assured" me that I would love the spacious corner room. This room was horrible! Put it this way, the sea was so rough on one of the nights they cancelled all shows and activities More but we had to sleep down there. It was so violent mooring up to the dock in the mornings that we had glasses fall off the vanity and shatter. Then when you thought the stern thrusters were done at 6:30am and everything quit shaking the winches fired up for the next 15 minutes until the ship was secure. When we were not mooring it was so violent from the waves and the wagging of the ship we would wait until 2am to go to bed because we would get nauseous. But the constant humming of the engines and propellers would gently drift us off to sleep. After talking to many other guests who had cruised before they all laughed because they new better than to be put that far back and be that far down on the boat. Being that we booked this all the way back in May we feel the "Carnival Vacation Planner" took advantage of us and ruined our first vacation in eight years.
TRANSPORTATION/PORTERAGE Once we got to Miami I found it comical, that unless you had ten dollars in your hand, no one spoke English or embarrassed you because you did not tip enough. Here is an example on how Carnival is condoning such practices. We paid to have Carnival pick us up at the airport and drop us off at the cruise terminal. First every other cruise line had a big sign in the air to show who they were with, but not carnival. She was leaning up against a pillar until a few of us found her and told the rest of your guests where she was. We then got on a Grey Hound bus and started the trip to the terminal all the while being reminded at least three times how it is customary to tip the driver. The driver let us know this in case we forgot when we arrived at the terminal. The driver required us to stay on the bus while he unloaded - for "safety reasons". All the driver did was pull the bags off and set them in front of the dolly. The "safety reasons" was the porter wanted his cut of the tip to move the bags another six inches on to the dolly. When I did not tip the porter enough (he felt) he stood there with his hand out and embarrassed me in front of other guests. I just walked away praying that my bags showed up to my room. Some of our bags showed u at 1:30pm and others showed up at 8:30pm. All the while we were frantic we didn't tip the porter $20 to do his job and now her bags were gone. Great first 12 hours to our vacation. After the cruise we weren't taking any chances and decided to self disembark and took a taxi back to the airport even though we pre paid through Carnival for the bus back to the airport we had enough.
BEVERAGE/BAR Once on the boat things seem to get better when I got a drink in my hand and we did some exploring. That was until I needed another drink. I believe for the first two days on that boat I had to go and find my own drink at the bar. So much for automatic tipping, I understand why you do it now. Your staff would never get tipped if they had to work for them. The bar tenders never seemed to speak English or serve with a smile. Overall all but one server was horrible. The one in question was in the casino and I never looked down and saw an empty drink. I went out of my way to make sure she was well compensated as it should be when they go out of there way. You don't have a choice to not tip on their sign and sale receipt. If you scratch out a tip you will never get service for the rest of the week.
CLEANLINESS I was very surprised how dirty the boat got during the day and how no one seemed to care. I noted a banana peel, some empty drink cups, and someone's old pizza a few feet from where I was on the sun deck. The waiter passed by the mess countless times. At one point he stepped over the mess to get me to sign a receipt. I asked him if anyone was going to pick it up and he conveniently forgot how to speak English. No one ever picked it up from your staff. Another passenger got so disgusted and annoyed with the server she picked it all up and threw it away.
CUSTOMER SERVICE EXAMPLE This one is my favorite of the trip. I was at the mid way area on the Promenade on the second day and needed to use the restroom. I asked seven staff member and no one could tell me where the nearest restroom was. I even had one server swear there was a restroom at a specific location and I told him it was not there. He attempted to walk me over like a child only to find out he was wrong. He just shrugged his shoulders and attempted to not know how to speak English anymore and went back to work. I then ran in to and asked an officer of the ship. I was astonished this gentleman did not know where to find the nearest bathroom and told me to go to the Purser's desk for assistance. Ultimately it was another guest who helped me find the restroom.
FOOD According to everyone else we talked to, we would gain so much weight on a cruise because of all the options to eat. Yeah right! Only if you were willing to eat at the times Carnival wanted to offer, otherwise it was turkey sandwiches through room services or rubber pizza at the back of the ship. The buffet was only open during the morning and early afternoon. If we wanted to eat a meal we basically had to go down to the dizzying fun room we called our quarters and get dressed and eat at the formal dining room. That was horrible because that meant we would have to leave the sun bathing by 4 pm to make a 5:45 seating. Of course we didn't have to; we could have some of that world famous rubber pizza, well that is if we could bare standing in long line with the other 25 people.
LIDO DECK Speaking of the sun deck, has Carnival ever thought of either creating or enforcing adult only sections of the boat? We never once got to go in any of the three pools or various hot tubs because of the children. They were even gathering at slot machines. Every once in a while a pit boss would chase them off but they would return with even bigger groups. I would be at a bar trying to enjoy a drink and there would be twelve teenage kids acting like idiots at the same bar. We also were not able to even sit up on deck until the fourth day. We did not know that you had to wake up at 5:50 am and tie a towel around a seat to use the chair later in the day.
SHOPPING The shopping was a joke. You should not be able to advertise shopping on that boat. You have a general store pushing Carnival merchandise, alcohol and a gaudy jewelry store staffed by people who do not speak very good English.
PURSERS DESK Through out the cruise I made requests to get print outs of our account and each night they would say it would be in my mail box. It never showed up until the Saturday we left. I know why they don't want me to see it. They know I would either curb my spending or dispute a charge. The fact is I requested it and now I get to sit home and review all my receipts to make sure there are no mistakes and if there are I will have to take it up with my credit card company and not Carnival. I tried using the auto TV feature but I would say at least 75% of the time it would flash inactive and was useless.
GOLF EXCURSION The $400 we spent for golf in St. Thomas was great, once we got there. The Carnival Cruise Golf Pro was over an half hour late to our meeting spot and then he forgot something on the ship and we waited on the bus for another 45 minutes all the while we were reminded that the locals lived off tips and don't be afraid to do so if the feeling strike you right. Because of the delays at the beginning of the day we did not get to see anything other than the golf course in St. Thomas.
We will not cruise again with Carnival Cruise Lines and we learned a very expensive, disappointing lesson that cruising may not be for us. Less