Simply put --- avoid the ship Carnival Liberty!
After 17 cruises, our cruise on board the Carnival Liberty was the worst ever, thanks to the miserable repeated dining room experiences. Repeated attempts to speak with the Dining Room Management staff, went unanswered. Day 1 was bad, day 2 was worse, day 3 even worse... and it culminated with the Assistant Waiter screaming across the dining room at us on day 7. Our table consisted of 6 first time cruisers, who I foolishly encouraged to sail aboard the Carnival Liberty. My mistake!
Repeated attempts to speak with the dining room management went unanswered, and allegedly a call was left for me on my cabin voice mail -- however, it was never received (one might question if it was ever made). All 7 of us wrote scathing reviews on the customer comment cards, and I included a personal letter and my business card and asked for a return phone call. Of course - there was NO call from anyone from Carnival.
At the conclusion of the cruise, I called my Carnival Cruise Planner, who booked this cruise and previous ones for me. We spoke (actually I yelled, cursed and vented) for over 90 minutes about how bad the Carnival Liberty experience was for all of us. She was very understanding and supportive. I was directed to write a letter to Carnival Care (or more realistically Carnival not-so-much "care"). My mistake, when I got home, the tree that had fallen on my house while I was on the "crappy Carnival Liberty", took priority; add a serious emergency medical surgery and the notification of the loss of my employment -- and I let the magic 30 days that Carnival requires for "official" notification slip by! Sorry, but life happens.
Today, I decided to reach out by phone to "Carnival Cruise Lines customer no-service", and express my concerns, reluctance and trepidation of ever taking another cruise with a Carnival branded ship. I am considering another cruise at the end of the 2011, and thought maybe it was time to see if Carnival would listen to my concerns. Yes, it's been a year and a half, since the former cruise, but I thought that my emotions and frustrations would have diminished if I spoke to a kind and understanding person. After being informed that Carnival had gone through many changes, and lofty promises (bullcrap) of how much better they are now, and how they have improved things and how comment cards are no longer done on ship (read, and then thrown away when they were negative), but now by email as a survey at the end of the cruise.
And as it appears, today I found out that Carnival would only consider my complaint within the first 30 days, and since the matter involved the dining room, even if we had complained within the first 30 days, nothing would have been done about it -- "except a sincere apology". I asked to see a copy of this "policy" that Carina (second level supervisor of Carnival customer no-service) and she stated that all policies are internal documents only and would not be shared with a customer. Of course, I asked to be escalated to the next level of Carnival customer no-service, and conveniently this person was "not-available" (imagine that), and that I should expect to hear from her (Lori) within 72 business hours; and of course reminded that she would state exactly the same "policy" that the previous two levels of Carnival customer no-service agents have stated.
So, simply put -- run, don't walk away from Carnival Cruise Lines (and especially the Carnival Liberty)! Since they own many cruise lines, they think that they are the only cruise line - so they can provide horrible service and customers will flock to them. And don't bother to complain on-board the ship, your comments will be thrown away. Make sure you write your criticisms down and mail them in with 30 days of your cruise, so that you'll get that "sincere template apology letter".
And if you're as foolish to have purchased the on-board advance cruise program for $100 for a future cruise credit, as I did, I'm being told that I will never receive a refund from Carnival -- something in that small print, that I must have missed.
Word to the wise... if you sail on-board the Carnival Cruise Lines, and you have a complaint -- tell other people, tell your friends, tell your family and save them--- but don't bother complaining to Carnival --- they have policies that allow them to just NOT care...