This was our first cruise.
We had heard good things about Carnival from our travel agent, and a friend who is a travel agent. So we went into our voyage expecting to have an enjoyable experience. Overall, the ship was well ... Read More
This was our first cruise.
We had heard good things about Carnival from our travel agent, and a friend who is a travel agent. So we went into our voyage expecting to have an enjoyable experience. Overall, the ship was well maintained, with the staff doing an excellent job keeping the older vessel clean and presentable. There was the exception of some hot tub maintenance (painting) with guests aboard rather than in port in between guest's departure and arrival. We were pleased with the facilities, especially the room size, and pampering, provided by our cabin steward ("Gamma" E deck). The international staff was wonderful to interact with, and met or exceeded our expectations, even while serving guests that were often rude. Your staff was professional, polite and made us feel welcome from the moment we stepped on board with only a couple exceptions that I will now mention.
GUESTS aboard the ship is my main complaint. We were unpleasantly surprised by pants hanging down with underwear showing, loud and often obnoxious with plenty of four letter swear words hurled across the ears of other guests, including other guest's children. Dressing in bathing suits, tank tops, unbuttoned shirts, and bath robes at the main dining facilities was more than distasteful. "Keep it at the pool area, and your bathrobes in your room please." is all it would have taken from a crew member to the passenger to rectify it. No one asked/reminded them to dress appropriately. Twice the pool was shut down, due to people defecating in them!!! I think the key word people should realize is that they are still GUESTS, and should behave accordingly.
We had to call security 4 evenings out of our 5 night cruise These people kept us up all night, every night, except one in which we resorted to ear plugs. The guests were allowed to be loud, and obnoxious. They also spilled drinks and food in the hallways. In spite of making many calls to the guest services/security it was never resolved. When security would make a brief appearance, they would ask the guest to keep the noise down and leave. This would only make our rude neighbors angrier. She waited for security to leave, then began shouting in the halls threatening to knock on our door and keeping us up for calling security. This provided a horrible feeling of anxiety and frustration to be harassed and threatened, especially knowing the Carnival security was not willing to do anything to take control of the situation. I can assure you, had he attempted to strike at me, we would have been more than capable of ending the confrontation, but of course chose to walk away from someone with a chip on their shoulder and no manners.
We aren't snotty prudes. We're both prior military and have traveled exstensively throughout the world in less than luxury conditions to say the least. We did meet some wonderful couples and even enjoyed the hot tubs, pools and disco where we met some fun and polite passengers. I realize this is a "fun ship" but the sleeping areas should be left for sleeping, and the partying up on Lido where it belongs. Not at all "fun" for us.
Our two days in port at Half Moon Cay and Nassau were exhausting from lack of sleep. We simply cannot fathom Carnival being so desperate for passengers it allows blatant rudeness, disrespect, and vulgarity from one group of passengers towards another. If fellow passengers were rude to us, one can only imagine the disrespect and rudeness they directed towards the crew, and how discouraging that must be for people who are working so hard to give you a good experience.
On another evening we were in the Diamond Club attempting to exit the doorway which it was obstructed by a man taking pictures with two security crew members. After the picture was taken, they all remained in the doorway talking. After saying excuse me several times we tried squeezing past the other passenger and a security crew member. Maybe we can blame the noise from the Club, which was empty, but our efforts to cordially excuse ourselves were met with the guest cursing my finance and getting in our face hurling threats because we "bumped" into him. Then he went on to claim we made him smash his watch against the glass. (impossible, because our bodies were between him and the glass. The smashing came when he threw up his arm and turned to curse at us and cause a scene) Not only did the man not move, security did not ask him to either. They placidly stood by; failing to prevent or control what could have turned into a violent confrontation. When we asked the security man if he was going to do anything about the other guest's rude and vulgar behavior, we were told everything is OK and they asked US to leave the area so the man wouldn't get even more upset.
We also opted for a power snorkel excursion suggested on Carnival's main site. They give you a little speech about who all the houses belong to on the way out, and how much they cost, then drop you in a cloudy channel to snorkel in a small area between point a and b. The power units were a waste of money, as the only point to snorkel was about 20 feet off the boat, so all the people were concentrated in that one area. Many flippers to the face.
When that was over, we got off the boat, grabbed a public bus, which no one mentions as an option, and hopped off to an amazing spot with no people, and prolific sea life of all manner for a couple hours. It redeemed the disappointing morning/paid for snorkel trip suggested by Carnival.
Cruise Director speech about disembarkation. He LIED about "new information, that NO ONE knew about yet, that had just changed regarding customs". Completely not true. He LIED about some little old lady winning a free cruise and how she had filled out her comment card. He spent most of the instructional speech trying to sell videos and placing GUILT upon the passengers on exactly how to fill out the comment card; that every single column, that was applicable, should be marked "exceeds expectations", if we didn't hate the cruise. Also a hard push for giving extra tips/money to specific people. I do not appreciate being lied to, manipulated, and conned. Only five minutes was spent on the actual directions for leaving the boat in the morning out of 40 minutes.
I would like to believe this was all his own doing, but Carnival must give crew very specific instructions and prepared speeches to perform with each cruise, and if "Carnival" wasn't aware of it, The Captain, Maitre d', and other crew members most certainly are aware.
Other than that, we actually had an enjoyable time, enough so, that we are hooked on cruising from here on out as a vacation as a couple, and cannot wait to take our 6 kids with us as well, who are very well mannered, but we will never take this cruise route again.
We will likely go to the Western Caribbean next, then Asia, Hawaii, Central and South America, and the Baltic States. Certainly another cruise line if this is standard operating procedure from Carnival.
I sincerely hope this experience on Fascination isn't the norm. Read Less