The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Carnival Cruise Lines — awful service
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
I just got back from my 8th cruise with Carnival. This one was on the Carnival Valor out of Miami. I had some bad experiences starting 3 cruises ago but chalked it up to 'Well, every vacation can't be perfect'. Now though the pattern can't help but be clear.
Customer service at 1-800-CARNIVAL tends to be quite snotty. (Yes, there were some wonderful people as well-- I wish I had their names.) Last year, I booked two balcony cabins-- one for me and my boyfriend, and a second for my parents. There was talk of my boyfriend's mother coming along as well, but she didn't make up her mind to do so until 87 days before the cruise. Still, this was well outside of the time frame, wherein changes would be penalized, given on the reservation confirmation faxed to me by Carnival. It said that I could make changes, without penalty, up until 60 days before my cruise.
I called, at 87 days out, to add her to the reservation. This was no problem. I added her to the cabin I had with my boyfriend and my intention was to then switch myself over to stay in the cabin with my parents. This couldn't be done because apparently, while the boyfriend/mother cabin could accommodate 3 people, the cabin with my parents could not. I asked then if we could all switch out to get me and my parents in the 3 person cabin and my boyfriend and his mother in the 2 person cabin. I was told that this could not be done without me being subject to (prohibitively for me) high fees for making the changes.
It wasn't as if I was asking for something complicated within their cabin allocation system-- they were MY TWO CABINS for which I had shelled out close to $4, 000! Carnival told me that I could only make these sorts of changes unpenalized before 90 days prior to the sail date. I read to them the line about the 60 day policy from my reservation confirmation-- they insisted that it didn't say that! I faxed it back to them and they said: 'Well that's wrong.' ??!!??
For those of you who have sailed Carnival, you'll know that we can not easily exchange room keys and work it out unofficially by ourselves because your key is you identity on the ship. It is relevant to the story to tell you that I have a very timid personality and I am always doing everything I can to avoid conflict. (This usually ends up leaving me walked all over.) I actually THANKED the customer service representative for 'trying' (uh, I mean ignoring that I had the 60 day thing in writing) and hung up.
I then started to get really upset about being walked all over like that when I had this thing in writing and I was already shelling out so much money. I decided to call one more time before dropping it to see if another representative would give me the same story or not. This person was nice-- though timid me was horrified to discover during our conversation that the previous person I talked to had put a note in my 'file' flagging me as a 'problem customer'!
He told me that, under the same 90 day change policy the earlier person quoted me, rep 1 should not have allowed me to add the extra person in the first place. (I guess he made an exception since it was more income for Carnival eh?) Rep 2 eventually got the changes made but added the zinger that 'My manger wants you to know that no more changes will be made for you.' This left me with a very bad taste in my mouth considering how excessively polite and non-demanding I am.
Anyway, on to the commonalities of the last three cruises.
Food: As many have said before here on this site, the food is very cold and usually greasy. I was sooooo craving a hot meal when I got home today. There were also several wonderful food selections, especially in the formal dining room, but still they were always freezing!
Service in General: As one of 3, 200 passengers on a ship that turns over to a new 3, 200 passengers each week, with staff that spends months at a time serving and cleaning up after all of them, I am under no illusions that I am 'a special guest' and I understand that the staff members may not be feeling properly rewarded. However, this is an expensive trip for guests and many Carnival employees need to work on the illusion.
-Waitstaff, bartenders, and food service workers on the Lido deck seemed permanently pissed off.
-The cruise director and his staff leading activities made no effort to conceal how hokey and repetitive their jobs are. Several times I saw them openly mocking guests behind their backs. (If that sounds like a contradiction, what I'm trying to say is that it is not the good-natured joking kind of mocking for the entertainment of guests.)
-Housekeeping was very shoddy and inconsistent. Every single evening I failed to notice that my pool/beach towels were taken away (when they should have been replaced or even left alone) and had to run around like crazy in the morning to try to find new ones minutes before my shore excursions were scheduled to leave.
Service the last night: This is my biggest gripe!!! There are usually several activities and fanfare on the second to last night, but what about the last night?! I am still on vacation and I feel robbed of an entire evening of it every time I go on a Carnival cruise! The service then is completely non-existent and nothing is going on. It is as if they are saying-- go to bed after dinner so you will have an easier time waking up so we can kick you out of your cabin first thing in the morning!
The famous towel animals are noticeably absent on the last night. Several things, for example the ice cream machines, are not replenished. The late night buffet selection is very very meager. The ship becomes very empty looking-- the staff disappear and I guess that the guests retire to their cabins since nothing is going on. The usually attentive formal dining room wait staff always seem to make themselves scarce on the last night. This year I went on this cruise with a first time cruiser. I never mentioned my thoughts about this 'last night phenomenon' to him but he certainly picked up on it and asked me if it was always like this. Unfortunately, I had to say yes. :(
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer's satisfaction.