> My husband, myself and eight of our friends went on a Carnival cruise from 24 December 09 to 28 December 09. In order for all five cabins to get the lowest price, which is the military rate, CF, a Carnival travel agent, suggested and ... Read More
> My husband, myself and eight of our friends went on a Carnival cruise from 24 December 09 to 28 December 09. In order for all five cabins to get the lowest price, which is the military rate, CF, a Carnival travel agent, suggested and approved the following change: Since both myself and my husband are military veterans, and our cruise friends Kand D (mother and daughter) were not veterans, we changed the names of the cabin occupants to show that one veteran would be in each of those two cabins, in name only, for the sole purpose of the reservation, so that I would share my cabin with D, and my husband would share a cabin with K. All four of us were told by CF that making changes to cabin occupants is a common practice to get the lowest possible price, and that changing the cabin assignments once onboard would not be a problem. Just to explain, we changed travel agents from Carnival's CF to an online agency because Carnival's agent lied to us about group rates for ten people. When all four of us boarded the cruise ship, we went together to Guest Services to change the cabin occupant names. We were all told by the Carnival employee at Guest Services, that first hour on board, that Carnival would change the occupant names so that My husband and I were now together in one cabin, and K and D were in another cabin. Guest services also told us that our key cards, which are used to open our cabin doors, used as identification, and also to make purchases on board, were corrected to represent the changes made by Carnival Guest Services. As we boarded the ship, our photograph was taken to make sure that all the other information, including credit or debit card information, was matched to the correct guest and to the correct cabin. At least once, sometimes 4 times every single day on this four-day cruise, either I or K went to the Guest Services desk to correct information about cabin occupants or on board charges that had been applied incorrectly. Each time we went to Guest Services, together or individually, Guest Services told us that they corrected the information, but in fact, they did not. One time, three of the four names were listed as being in one cabin, while the fourth person was listed as being alone in her cabin, onboard purchases were all incorrectly applied to the other cabin's account. What was so frustrating and upsetting was that in each instance, the Carnival employee at Guest Services insisted that they had corrected everything. All 4 of us went over all the details of cabin occupants and credit card or debit card owners and numbers several times with Guest Services in that four-day period. I find the negligence on the part of Carnival's Guest Services to be unprofessional, at best. Even on the last morning, when we were waiting to leave the ship, we all went to Guest Services because our print outs were incorrect yet again! At that point, for reasons I will explain later, my husband and I decided that the employees of Carnival did not earn nor did they deserve the $80.00 service gratuity per cabin, that was automatically added to our Sail and Sign Statement. I spoke with a female Guest Services employee from South Africa, who told me that she would refund the $80.00. Obviously, she did not do as she promised, and that charge remains on our credit card account today. On 30 December 09, I received a frantic call from my friend K, telling me that Carnival had taken $473.93 out of her checking account, which would cause her to bounce checks and create insufficient funds charges from her bank when they automatically withdrew her mortgage payment on 1 January 2010. That $473.93 was the amount stated on our Sail and Sign statement, which included the $80.00 automatic gratuity the woman from South Africa promised to remove. In other words, Carnival not only ignored our demand to refund to us the service gratuity of $80.00, but they also took the incorrect amount out of the wrong bank account! Both K and myself called Carnival that day to straighten out the mess, and to ask that the Carnival accounting department rush the correction before K's mortgage payment and checks began bouncing. We both talked to T, a female employee of Carnival who was not willing to rush the correction nor even pretend to be interested in solving the problem. Carnival took several days to refund the Olson family the amount of $473.93, and apply that charge to the correct credit card account. But now they still have charged us the wrong amount! It is supposed to be $393.93, which is the charged amount of $473.93, minus the $80.00 automatic gratuity we are disputing. I called Carnival on 8 January 2010 in a good faith effort to resolve the dispute with Carnival after the $473.93 charge appeared on our credit card. I talked to T at Carnival, and asked again that the $80.00 be refunded. I explained some of the more disturbing problems we encountered on the Carnival cruise. Tiffany told me that because she saw no documentation of any complaints during the cruise, and that now the cruise is over, she would not refund any charges. Of course, guests cannot force Carnival employees to document complaints, and Carnival employees probably know that the best way to deter or prevent guests from denying them gratuities is to just smile, nod, and fail to document anything.
> We flew on Southwest Airlines to SNA, and stayed with a friend overnight before we embarked on the cruise. Embarkation was very smooth. Our stateroom on the Carnival Paradise was sold to us as being wheelchair accessible, which I need because I use a wheelchair. I can walk but not very far, and I have constant pain. It was simply impossible to get my wheelchair into the bathroom or shower because it was way too small of an area. Only the smallest infant wheelchair would fit inside. There was only one electrical outlet in the whole room. The bedsheets were dirty. We complained but the problem was never resolved. The guest services employees simply nodded, smiled, but did nothing to resolve our complaints.Our cabin steward never cleaned the room as he should have done: the drinking glasses he left in our cabin had someone's lipstick on them. The bed sheets had someone's pubic hair all over them. The towels had fresh, dirty footprints on them, and the shower was simply never cleaned at all. There was someone else's hair in the bathroom sink, and someone's bobby pins and used nose tissue paper on the floor. This was more than sloppy service, but a serious health hazard. Yes, we complained. Daily. I asked Guest Services to ask to supervisor of Housekeeping to come to meet us at our cabin so we could show him what the cabin looked like. He never showed up, so we called Guest Services to ask the Housekeeping supervisor to call us when we were in our cabin. He never called us or left any message on our phone. We never spoke to him or met him. We did leave messages for the Housekeeping supervisor at the Guest Services desk, but we don't know if he ever received them. The buffet areas had a nice choice of food, but it was hard to find an open table because the staff only cleared tables once per mealtime. There were dirty tables and chairs everywhere, with stacks of dirty dishes on them where guests had cleared their own tables to make room for themselves. The tables were never disinfected. Even between meals, there were crumbs and greasy areas on tables, and chairs were used as stairs for the children to climb on the tables and jump off. At dinner, we received dirty dishes, dirty silverware and questionable glassware. When we complained, our items were replaced. The steaks were very good, and there were many choices of entrees. Other problems include dirty dishes and used silverware in the supposedly clean stack of dishes at the entrance of the buffet line in the dining rooms, dishes and silverware with dried food on them in the restaurant, dirty glasses in the restaurant, and I saw a bar server take a used straw out of one drink and place it in another drink before he served that drink to a guest. Other members of our group saw and experienced similar sickening behavior from Carnival staff.
We took this cruise with a large group so we spent most of our time with them. There were no children in our group, so I can't speak of the quality of children's activities. I observed that of the 500 children on this cruise, the large majority, even children wearing diapers, were unsupervised, screaming, running in the public areas, leaving half-eaten food on the floors and on any public holiday decoration that they could find, and generally behaving like wild animals.
As far as the entertainment, we really enjoyed the comedian, but not the singing and dancing shows. The movies available were for the children, since this was a holiday cruise. We did not buy any shore excursions from Carnival, but instead left the ship and hired locals to take us to the same sites promoted by Carnival, at a substantial savings.
Disembarkation was the smoothest I have ever seen. If there is one thing Carnival knows how to do right, it's how to get people off the ship quickly.
The bottom line is that we as guests feel that we determine how much gratuity is to be given, just like in any other restaurant, hotel, or other merchant that provides a service. Carnival can suggest a gratuity amount, but they can not force guests to pay a gratuity that we determine was certainly not deserved. We found the entire cruise to be sub-standard, unprofessional and Carnival's business practices unethical. Our cruise experience was, and remains, negative. Read Less