This was my first cruise with my 11 year old daughter. We planned for months and were excited to spend minimal time on the ship and go to our planned stops- Jamaica, Cayman and Cozumel. Carnival announced 4 days before the cruise that the ship was having mechanical issues and could not get to Jamaica but was being redirected. After an initial disappointment, we sucked it up and chose new itineraries in the new places we were going. Everything was planned for months, time off work and airfare purchased. We left AZ at 3 am and got to the ship on time.
Onboarding was easy, but once we got on board we were told of another itinerary change- we were only going to TWO stops in Mexico and staying on the ship an extra day. We could have gotten off the ship for a full refund, but having traveled with a child who would be more disappointed that the entire vacation was called off was not an option. I spent a fair amount of time on board trying to change excursions, waiting in line to talk to guest services and had to buy service to call the airlines and change my flights, which were non refundable. I dropped an extra $800 for one way tickets back to AZ since the cruise was extended the extra day.
I emailed Carnival (since I never actually got to talk to guest services because of the wait time) and was told that mechanical issues were out of their control. The excursions we booked were canceled at the last minute because of the rough seas- and we couldn't get anything else because they were sold out, due to the itinerary change. While Carnival offered 50% off the next cruise, I am wondering why they think I would remotely want to cruise again based on this terrible first experience?
The only saving grace on the ship was the staff. They were great and we had fun watching the shows. But after 4 days sailing, we were a bit stir crazy, and our first excursion was sitting on some less than wonderful Mexican beach. I didn't book a cruise to sit on a ship for an extended period of time- I booked as a means to get to exotic locals and have some adventure. Adventure it was not, and mechanical issues are certainly within the control of a company that manages ships.
Departure was fine for us but we were also one of the first called off the ship. The room was fine, food was fine, but the hassle pretty much ruined the only vacation we have taken in three years. If I wanted to sit on a beach in Mexico I would have rented a house and driven there.
Carnival is assisting with the airline ticket payments but overall, it was not worth the frustration or hassle, as we didn't get to do much of anything that was planned. They gave on board credit which I used for a massage to try and destress from it all.