This cruise actually took place on 11/14/04. We waited this long to post a review because we gave Carnival a chance to reply to our letter of complaint. However, since Carnival demonstrated their complete lack of good customer relations and the low class they are known for we decided to post as a warning to future Carnival passengers (or should we say victims).
We have just returned from the most horrible trip on the Carnival Victory (11/14/04 sailing). This was our ninth cruise, but first and definitely last with Carnival. It started with having to endure a three-hour wait with two small children through three different lines during embarkation (the worst embarkation process we ever saw).
One of the reasons we went on this ship was for our children to enjoy the water slide. Out of the seven days the water slide only ran for two and a half days. The first two days the weather was windy and the ocean was rough so we completely understood, however the balance of the trip the weather was perfect. We, as well as other disgruntled passengers called the purser's desk to find out what was going on only to receive different answers, none of which sounded legitimate. No one we asked could give us a straight answer.
In the pool area there were rust stains on the tiles as well as recurring sewage smells. The smells were also detected inside the ship and some passengers said they had them in their cabins as well. In the dining room the noises and vibrations at times were frightening, the whole room would shake. This is pretty bad since this ship had just come out of dry dock for refurbishing purposes. What was refurbished? This ship seemed as if it was fourteen years old not four.
We decided to purchase a soda card, however when we were around the pool and ordered soda we had to wait anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour on numerous occasions until I got frustrated enough that I had to go to the bar myself only to be met with attitude from the bartenders because I was ordering only a soda. Neither the waiters nor bartenders like serving you soda when the soda card was used because there was no 15% gratuity added to those particular orders. I guess that the 15% paid at the time the card was purchased didn't count. When I finally would see the waiters I asked them if they had forgotten about my order and their only responses was that they had other people to serve. Maybe it's not their fault; maybe the pool area was under staffed. Regardless, it was quite evident that the soda card was a nuisance to them. I notified the Food and Beverage Manager about this on numerous occasions and was assured he would correct this problem, but it never changed.
The lines at the buffet and the grill were terrible -- anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour wait. The food was average on its best day both at the buffet and dining room. The crew was unfriendly and hard to understand. The only exception was our cabin steward James (cabins 2208 and 2202). He went over and above and was always more than helpful as well as accommodating. This individual should be commended.
On one particular day "Funship Freddie" was roaming the ship and went up to my six year old. As I was about to take their picture a ship's photographer informed me I was not allowed that only he could take the picture. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. This guy was telling me I couldn't take a picture of my own child. When I challenged this he just glared at me. He may have been trying to intimidate me, however I took the picture anyway. It was becoming quite obvious as the grueling days went on that this was all about how much money Carnival and their staff could make not about how the passengers should be treated.
Our shipboard account showed that we spent over $1,200.00 on this cruise so it's not just a question of the money. We wouldn't mind spending it if we would have been treated properly.
On departure day we almost missed our plane due to the bus company, which handles the transfers for Carnival. We had a 12:10 p.m. flight out of Ft. Lauderdale; we obtained the proper luggage tag for early flights from the purser's desk and were told we would be off the ship by 8:30 a.m. We were off the ship at 9:30 a.m. and were told by the bus people we had to wait for the bus to fill before we could leave. After having told them of our flight time they told us there would be no problem in getting us there in plenty of time. The bus finally left at 11:15 a.m. By the time we arrived at Ft. Lauderdale Airport and they dropped us off at our terminal it was 11:50 a.m. we had twenty minutes to check in, clear security, and get to the gate with two children and all our luggage. Fortunately there was not much of a line going through security because we got to the gate as they were about to board the last two passengers.
I guess the topper was Cruise Director Dana Hutson on stage during the disembarkation talk stating that if passengers didn't have a good time on this cruise it was their own fault. First of all I have never heard on any of our previous eight cruises (three on RCI and five on Princess) a Cruise Director or anyone else from the cruise staff make such an arrogant and negative statement to the passengers. I guess he told us who was in charge, didn't he? Again total disregard for the passengers and this sentiment was echoed by other passengers in conversations on the last night of the cruise.
I guess it was our fault there were sewage smells, or that the service was poor, or that the water slide didn't work or that we couldn't get a soda when we had a soda card or that the ship vibrated and made so much noise or that we almost missed our flight. No, Dana it wasn't our fault we didn't have fun. It was your cruise line's fault. There is more I could elaborate on, however I am tired of reliving this nightmare of a vacation. I filled in the comment card and am writing a letter, however I do realize it will probably fall on deaf ears. If Carnival truly cares about its guests and the quality of service they receive then maybe I can get some explanation. I realize Carnival now owns Princess. Their methods, customer service techniques and standards should be benchmarked. We enjoyed, in fact loved, all the Princess cruises we've been on and were planning a cruise on the Diamond Princess in January. However we are now having second thoughts about it for fear that by that time it will have been Carnivalized as well.