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Carnival Cruise Lines / carnival sensation - january 7 to 12 2017 - caribbean cruise

Miami, FL, United States
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There was an incident at the Fort Lauradale airport on January 6th because of which our flight was cancelled and we were rebooked by Delta via Atlanta to West Palm Beach. In Atlanta the next morning flights were delayed due to weather conditions. I called Carnival and informed them of the possibility of us being late. Carnival representative informed me that should I miss the ship then I’ll have to fly to Ocho Rio, the next port of call where I can board the ship. Fortunately, we were able to board the ship an hour before the scheduled sailing time in part due to shuttle provided by Delta airline to the Miami cruise terminal.

Within one hour of sailing on January 7th 2017 from Miami, the Captain announced that Sensation would not be traveling to Jamaica, but Cozumel, Mexico, because of adverse weather conditions (high seas). That evening the ship began rocking and rolling and the next day there were noticeable numbers of passengers that were sick and vomiting in the walkways. We have never been seasick but were feeling not well that day. Most of that day was a write off. We spent most of our time trying to find a spot that was stable.

What was particularly disappointing is that no directions were provided on board by Carnival to deal with this situation and passengers were left to fend for themselves. The crew could not also care less.

Later on the second day afternoon it was announced that the Sensation would not be also traveling to the Grand Cayman Island, but to Freeport, Bahamas. This change in itinerary was also made due to adverse weather conditions. A lot of people were angry about this and complained to the guest services.

We had an Ocean view room that was small but fine for five days. The housekeeping staff provided good service. When the ship was hitting the waves, the closet doors would sometimes bang open and shut. Security staff on the ship also provided quick and efficient service while getting off and on ship on the two ports of call.

The food was average. We dined in the Fantasy dining room for all five evenings. The waitperson provided good service. The amount of time to receive appetizers and the main entrée was adequate. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the Lido Restaurant which offered casual food options such as Seaview restaurant, Mongolian Wok, Salad Bar, and the Carnival Deli. The food was at best average – options one would find in the food court at the mall. After eating in the Seaview restaurant twice I did not feel well both times and decided to give it a pass.

The ship is noticeably old and has a purple décor. Sensation was built in 1993 and was revamped but it is still very dated and lacking amenities newer ships. Overall the ship was crowded especially the Lido deck area. The hot tubs were usually full. It was so windy therefore it wasn’t possible to sit outside. Often the Sun deck was closed due to the wind.

Our pre-booked excursion on Cayman Island was automatically refunded into our account. We booked another excursion on the ship on a short notice at Cozumel. The excursion in Cozumel was good and things went smoothly there. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Freeport. The area where the ship docked is in a commercial area with freight and container ships. We took a taxi to Port Lucaya marketplace. Many shops were closed and there was little to do. After a few hours, we took the taxi back to the ship. Why the decision was made to visit a place where there was nothing to do and where there was major hurricane damage is beyond me!!

Thus we ended up going to Cozumel and Freeport instead of Ocho Rios, Jamaica & Cayman Islands. Carvinal refunded difference port charges into our accounts. Most people on this cruise felt disappointed with change of ports we visited.

Disembarkation process from the ship could have been smoother. We were waiting for about an hour and it was around 10:00 a.m. before we disembarked. Not sure what happened but there was a hold up to get passengers off the ship. The waiting areas were full.

I contacted Carnival “Guest Care” multiple times via email for discount off future cruise given the above state of affairs. Carnival’s stated position is they do not offer compensation of any kind for weather events beyond their control. Carnival does not care about their guest having a good experience during cruise. While they say customer service is important, they have done nothing to show that they care about customers under the circumstances we underwent.

This is in contrast with Delta Airlines which offered a future travel credit and the Holiday Inn in Miami which offered points credit for future use for weather/FLL incident which was also beyond their control.

Summary
Sensation was the worst cruise I have been on yet (we had previously been on an Alaska cruise). Given, that Carnival does not care for their customer’s satisfaction we will be trying a different Cruise Line next time. We do not feel that we enjoyed this cruising experience.

In the end know that if there are any unanticipated weather events which result in change in itinerary to lesser quality ports then Carnival will not be there to compensate (or offer future cruise discount) you. For Carnival – the customer is not first. The strategy appears to be one of offering low price to bait customers. Ultimately know that you will be getting what you pay for and haven forbid of something unanticipated happens then Carnival will not be there for you.

Rk
Feb 4, 2017

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