Carnival Triumph Cruise Review by simba16: First & Last time on Carnival
Overall Member Rating
First & Last time on Carnival
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: New Orleans
Well NOTHING!! We traveled with 7 adults, 4 children as a group, but not hooked together at the hip during our vacation, this was booked as a fun, let loose and hopefully a little romantic vaca with my husband & friends.. Not soo much!! Not going into alot of details about all the specifics as there are way too many, however I will give you my ratings of this ship overall.. Notice we sailed in May '10, why have I waited so long to post my review?? I wanted to give Carnival a chance to practice "customer" service and make things right with us..but after many phone calls to Carnival's customer care dept since the cruise, hours of my time and finally getting Discover involved there has been NO resolution to my satisfaction, so I don't want to slam but I am going to be honest, and this is my opinion and facts of what happened..
Yes I have been on numerous cruises before and have NEVER had as many issues on one ship as we did on the Triumph, in fact even on Pride of America we More weren't 100% satisfied with everything but never felt the need to make any "complaints", it wasn't great but it was good...and never before in my life have I ever "disputed" any charges on my credit cards until now w/ Carnival...I am the type of person that just "sucks it up", if I buy something and it doesn't work or I break it in a day, oh well LOL...So with that being said, now that Carnival said they were done with me and offered me NOTHING more, WE are DONE with them and will tell anyone who will listen or wants to know, about our experience not only on the Triumph but with their customer care dept as well and NEVER recommend or will use their line again.
I spent alot of time before booking this cruise reading reviews, researching, etc..came to the conclusion that this would indeed not be what we are "used" to as far as beauty and luxury, so our expectations were not high in the first place, however since the price was relatively decent (approx. $1500 for 2 adults) and our friends had already booked it for themselves and we knew we "needed" a vacation soon (husband is in the military and always facing possible deployments at any time) we decided to book it with them and used their reservation agent from Carnival (who was actually the most helpful before & after our cruise than anyone else associated with Carnival).
So here are some "specifics" and advice:
1) If you have ANY Type of issue/complaint with ANYTHING while on board a Carnival ship, YOU must go to the Guest Services Desk and make it in writing no matter how big or small the problem is...Carnival told me that because nothing was documented while we were on board we are not entitled to receive any credits, certificates, etc..Just talking to the area "managers/boss" in that part of the ship where an issue could be addressed, does not make a valid complaint with Carnival..I cannot even count how many of "those" people myself and another member of our party talked too while on board, bar supervisors, buffet workers & supervisors, pit boss's in the casino, shore excursion managers (who by the way did take down our information and said they would "take care of it" but because we didn't follow up on it back on the ship, no credit was issued to our sail & sign account, so I had to wait over 30 days,& tons more hours on the phone explaining the situation over and over again to numerous reps, to finally get our "out of pocket cost" (which was not our fault) related to our excursion finally credited back to the credit card!!) It is absolutely ridiculous the amount of time I have had to spend dealing with something that they were supposed to take care of.. So I HIGHLY encourage visiting Guest services as soon as something should arise, make them document it, and yes this will probably result standing in line, I believe the average wait for us each time was about 45 min (and when we went there I think 3 different times, and times of day, all we wanted was to get a copy of our bill & see if my friend's son's swim shorts had been turned into lost and found, they were wrapped up in a towel in their room and yep you guessed it cabin steward)!
2) If you choose to visit the casino and play any table games, I suggest you ask to see the rules they have for each game you play (they are not posted anywhere near the table games and the dealers did not offer up any info on them), some are different than in stateside casinos...but then again that may depend on who your dealer is at that game at that time too, each day we learned a new rule but of course that was after we broke it & didn't know it, they informed us, thank goodness no big jackpots were at stake because I know they wouldn't have paid it out LOL!! During our time frame there was some really nice & good dealers but most of the time not so much. In fact on the very last night one dealer told my friend that if she cursed at the table one more time, she had to leave the table, even though none of the foul language was directed towards him or anyone else, it was just a slip of the mouth while we were having a personal conversation between us about our husbands!! He told us that was a "rule" even though many f-bombs were dropped at that table each and every other night by plenty of other people and no other dealers ever said anything about this "rule"! And you really have to pay attention to your game, I cant tell you how many times they "forgot" to pay out and had to call a pit boss over!! Oh and if you play late at night, be sure to ask what time they will be closing that particular night, after a couple of nights we figured it out every night they closed approx. 15 min earlier than the night before, yes even the table games, in fact the last night there were 3 of us on one table dropping quite a bit of money and having a good time since it was the last night, and they (pit boss & managers) told us we had to leave even when we asked to stay and play..
3) If you elect to NOT eat in the dining room (and if you do, plan on your meal lasting about 2 hrs!!) but if you don't (my husband & I didn't because he is wayyy too picky) so we ate at the buffet mostly for the hamburgers & fries, again plan on very long lines because of the wait, each time they only had 1 cook..he would cook the hamburgers in the back (maybe like 5 at a time) bring them out, serve those, so those people went on, so he would go in the back to cook more, bring those out and by that time the other foods on the line had run out so he would serve the hamburgers again and then go back and get more of the other foods and drop more fries and then we would wait in line now with cold hamburgers for the other foods. We saw this day after day so, half the time we would either skip the hamburgers and just eat what was ever left on the line or vice versa, we are not impatient people we can wait 10 min but this was like 20 min wait each time and trust me the cook was in no hurry no matter how many people were in line...I understand though because if I was the only person cooking/serving all those people I would be pissed!!! We thought about just ordering room service then to eat since most people would be in the dining rooms, room service surely wouldn't take that long..guess again!! Our average wait time for room service any time of the day was about an hour, and breakfast scheduled for a certain time was anywhere from 15 min- 1 hr late and half the food ordered missing, in fact my friend 2 doors down with 3 kids never even got their breakfast one morning, scheduled 1 1/2 hrs before they needed to leave for their excursion, even after call after call nothing ever came, we ended up giving them some Debbie snacks that we had brought with us so the kids would stop whining LOL...I suggest bringing additional food/snacks like that or stock up on fruit from the restaurants, if you don't have the flexibility of time and want to eat!! Overall the food was average to poor, again I wasn't expecting anything to "blow me away" and be delicious but I did expect a variety (which there wasn't), food at the right temps, and definitely not a hassle to just get something to eat and feel full...
4) Cabins-not too bad, for 2 of us we had plenty of room, nothing pretty or fancy about them, could compare to a Motel 6 or Days Inn type of room...not 100% clean, even the first day but at least everything worked in ours =) Cabin steward tried but pretty much dropped the ball on anything we asked for, never brought me sanitary bags, 4 out of 7 days took our ash tray and didn't leave a new one, we would call when we got in, said one would be brought to us immediately, would wait and wait again & nothing so we ended up just using a glass with water and the next day after cleaning, that icky glass would still be there. I am beginning to think they just come in the room, do a quick vacuum down the center, make the bed, spend too much time on a towel animal, and sometimes empty your trash can. I know that whole week our room was never cleaned thoroughly or even disinfected. So I suggest leaving a list/note/reminder of what you need or want done-just like I do for my housekeeper at home!!
I am on vacation I really shouldn't have to spend my time asking/waiting/ & stressing over minute things like this, that Cruise ships pride themselves on in providing for their guest & of course what we are paying for too!!!
This is sort of in relation to our excursion but more so about Carnival's customer service-or lack there of. The last port day in Cozumel once we were back on board the Triumph, my husband realizes he doesn't have his cell phone (we used it the entire trip to take all of our pictures) so here we go again...I wont go into all the details about this situation, it was his fault he didn't keep track of the phone, he did make report with Carnival immediately at Guest Services and asked them of course how we can contact the park and the tour operator (thinking it may have fell out of his pocket or our bag while we were on the bus or the water taxi) it was definitely in one of those 3 places as we did use it earlier that day in the park. Guest services made him a copy of the report and told him they would contact both places and let us know what they found out...Never heard another word on the phone situation so on debarkation morning he goes to the desk and ask again and they told him neither place has responded to their email!!! Are you kidding me, email??? Okay fine, its a ship, in the middle of the ocean, whatever!! Well I am done waiting on Carnival to get anything done in a timely manner so when we get home I start looking online right away for the contact info for these 2 places, find Xcaret no problem talk to lost and found, they were great, took my info, and said nothing has been found as of now but if they do find it or it gets turned in they would contact us...after probably calling every transportation company in Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen (on my dime again) that I could find info for and no luck I call Carnival next and just ask them for the NAME of the tour operator they use down there so I can contact them and ask them about the phone myself since they still hadn't "received" anything by email...well guest care dept. doesn't know who the company is, they need to email the ship and ask them, was told give it a few days...call back..nothing...wait...call back...nothing...wait and during these calls I am discussing all my other complaints as well...All I get is "I'm sorry there is nothing I can do for you." Along with the explanation of their policy that all complaints need to be made while on board. Keep in mind not a single person that works for Carnival on board that I "verbally" complained to ever said one thing about going to guest services to let them know.
However they would send my complaints/suggestions & request to the ship and will contact me within 10-14 days with an update/outcome and or tour company info..so 15 days later still without hearing anything not even the name of the tour company (by now we have to get a new cell phone, but would still like to track down the phone for our pictures and contacts info) so on 6/2 I call back and ask again and was told to give it 2-3 more days and they will have the rep that I originally spoke to contact me for a follow up...yep never happened, finally on 6/14 I received an email from a carnival rep that I have never spoken too, luckily I didn't delete the email, but she informs me that I have been issued my $31 credit and they would love to see me again!!
Not even ONE apology from ANYONE (except from our original reservation agent whom I also talked to when we returned) but not from ANYONE else associated with Carnival in regards to their service & actions that took place on the Triumph.
You would think that first time cruisers on Carnival, traveling with the amount of people that we did, a sail & sign account up over $8000, opening a new Carnival MasterCard account, and signing up for a future vaca that they would have perhaps done a little more to rectify the situation and keep us as Carnival customers-NOPE guess not...I told my husband if Carnival would have made this all okay with me, I was willing to give them another try, definitely not on the Triumph ever again, but we would consider another ship. But since Carnival issued me a $31.00 credit (remember that was our out of pocket cost for the transportation to the excursion that was already "owed" to us and told they would make it right with us, and then failing to do so on our on board acct, prompting me to inquire about it, then waiting 30 days and arguing to receive this credit) that they did not owe me anything else and now my disputes are closed & completed..What a joke from literally beginning to end!
So we will never be using Carnival again, never recommending them, telling our story, canceling our future vacation certificate, and closing the MasterCard account. Too bad because we are only in our 30's and Love to travel by cruise ship!! But they had no respect for my time, no consideration for my complaints and or suggestions, and didn't follow thru on what they said they would do, so apparently they don't value our business. So a company that does this and makes me feel that way will never receive another penny from myself & family..Again, I don't ask for anything unless I feel I am entitled to it, only one other company is "blacklisted" in our household, that's Sprint =) and that ordeal was over 5 yrs ago...But unfortunately Carnival will now be added to that list.
I sincerely hope if you decide to sail with Carnival, you can truly enjoy what you are paying for and have a nice vacation, unlike us =) I know there are thousands of people that are completely satisfied with Carnival and even The Triumph, unfortunately we are not one of them.Good Luck & Happy Sailing!! Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
I will preface this part with the fact that I have been to Xel-Ha (Xcaret's sister park) before and had the time of my life!!I did lots of research on Xcaret as well to make sure both of us would enjoy it..so lets see if it lives up to its reputation & reviews:
So we make it to Xcaret, enjoy walking around and looking at things, start to get hot and decide to go rent snorkeling gear for myself, and find a spot in the shade near a bar on the beach for hubby..We find an okay spot there on the little beach, so he orders us drinks from the beach waiter standing right there and I take off swimming and swimming and swimming with my gear and don't see a single anything under water!! I am getting outside of the lagoon portion now, currents are a little stronger but I see other people snorkeling further out so I keep going..well not even half way there I am just exhausted (no life jackets or float gear offered anywhere that I saw) so I just floated for a few min on my back but the currents were just pushing me back to shore, so I gave up and just swam back to the beach...there may have been different spots to snorkel here, but I really didn't want to pay for any additional activities or be on a timeline here so I didn't look at what all they offered, it said you could snorkel from the beach so I was okay with that-and you can from the beach you just wont see anything unless you swim over a mile out from this location!! So I get back and poor hubby is dying of thirst because the drinks he ordered for us over 30 min ago still had not been brought by the beach waiter!! so a little more waiting and he brings them to us, hubby's was disgusting and all watered down (I think it was a long island ice tea or hurricane) and I ordered a mango daiquiri, mine was still frozen-Yeah! but he gave me no straw or even a spoon, so I asked for one and he had to get us change anyway so he said he would be right back- so we wait AGAIN literally another 30 min, so by the time he comes back my drink has already melted and I have finished it!! So we are done with this mess and want to go turn the equipment back in and find somewhere to sit down and have lunch.. There is a restaurant located right by this beach so we go right over there, its buffet and the sign says $29 US !!! Unbelievable!! No wonder there were less than 10 people in that entire place eating right at lunch time!! Soo much for lunch there!! We look at the map and only other "eating" place we can find is what they call like a Nacho/Drink Stand-so we head there. Along the way we finally run into our friends from the cruise!! They are headed to lunch at the restaurant we just came from, so I told her it was $29, needless to say she flipped out, there are 5 in her family, 2 kids under age 10!! So they too refuse to pay that ridiculous price and go with us, we find the food stand and its literally a stand that you can get drinks and junk food (chips, nachos, Popsicle's, etc..) so that's what we all had for lunch including her kids, junk food...so much for some good authentic Mexican food while we are in Mexico!!! There was absolutely no time when we got back to Cozumel to do anything else,in fact most of the shops had all closed up. This group of Carnival passengers from this excursion was one of the last to get back on board.
As stated in Carnival's description of this excursion, lunch and any additional activities are own your own..only transportation and entrance fee to the park is what you are receiving with the purchase of this excursion through Carnival...I was and am completely aware of this fact but was completely caught off guard & extremely disappointed in the offerings at Xcaret and have suggested to Carnival that they need to put additional information in the shore excursion descriptions so that passengers have a better idea of what to expect especially so they know how much money to bring along as well..So for me personally I probably wont ever go back to Xcaret because of the lack of service and cost, unless an excursion offers meals & gear included.
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