[Resolved] Carnival Cruise Lines / tender accident at sea


We went on the Carnival Spirit from Sydney-Moreton Island-Sydney between the 5th October-9th October, 2017. Our booking reference was CCDJ5Q. Our stateroom was 8177.
The first day and a half went well and we were enjoying the experience however the cruise was wrecked for us from the 7th October until the end due to the actions of the person operating the tender which was taking us to Moreton Island for our shore excursions.
At approximately 9.15am on the 7th October we boarded a tender to the island. My 10 year old son was already upset as he is scared of being on smaller boats but he had agreed to go on one as we had great activities planned on the island and we had reassured him many times that he was safe. Our reassurance was misplaced as the tender started to accelerate away from the ship and smashed into the tender in front. The side windows smashed & glass went over other guests and the side of the the tender was pushed in. Instead of returning immediately to the ship the driver took us further into the ocean and sat idle causing us to spend a few minutes trying to determine if we were taking on water and if so how we would save our children.
Eventually the tender returned to the ship where we disembarked. Instead of being given time to process what just happened or debrief or know if everyone was alright the crew barked at to get into the next tender we had just hit. We got on the next tender and as we sat there my kids started crying so my son & husband got off saying they were going back onto the ship, this put me in an impossible situation as I now had my 10 year old son distraught & crying about the thought of getting on another tender & a 12 year old daughter crying from the accident but also at the thought of missing out on swimming with the dolphins if we didn't get on. The staff suggested my son could go to kids club all day while we went to the island, as if I would leave my son who was visibly distraught in the hands of strangers and tell him we were going to have a great day without him! My husband offered to stay on the ship with our son while I went to the island with my daughter but this is not was not a resolution that either of us were happy with as it split the family up on a day where we should all have been together having fun. Now my son was under pressure as he knew he was the one stopping us from going and therefore wrecking the holiday.
We all decided to try and get on with the fun day we had planned and somehow my son agreed to get back on another tender which is what we did. After travelling a few minutes away from the ship we regretted our decision as both my children were crying uncontrollably from fear of being in the tender. One other lady next to me as she walked on "If we're going to die, we'll die together". The ride over was rougher than we'd hoped for and we had adults vomiting around us. This just added to our trauma/stress. We could not do anything but proceed to the island and when we got off knew our children (or ourselves) would not get back onto another tender straight away so decided to try and forget about it and get on with our day and did our first booked shore excursion. Unfortunately this ended up being on another small boat and we hated every minute of it. We got off this boat, all felt the day had been wrecked as not one of us could forget the fact that we would eventually have to get back on another tender still to get back to the ship. Going on with our planned activities was impossible as the fear/anxiety would have built up all day till we got the return trip over & done with so we gave up and returned to the boat.
We sadly went back to our cabin and spent the rest of the day staring at an island we never got to enjoy (very hard to do). We all missed out on no doubt lovely experiences/memories that day and considering it was our only stop this was a big deal. The rest of the trip was wrecked for us as all we could think about was the crash & what we'd missed out on.
We waited for staff/management from Carnival Cruises to come and talk to us, apologise, see what they could do for us but this never happened. It was left to me to make a complaint at guest services and ask for the cost of our shore excursions back that we didn't do. These 2 excursions were refunded but Carnival staff handled the entire incident very poorly.
We spent a large amount of money for a 4 night cruise ($3811) that we had saved up to do and can only look back on our experience with unhappiness and disappointment. Carnival Cruiselines is responsible for this. I would like to make it up to our children and take them on another (non-cruise) holiday (as the my kids will not do another cruise) but now don't have the money to do so. We are happy to pay for the food & accommodation we were given but expect compensation and a formal apology for what happened.

  • Resolution statement

    Customer care service did everything in their power to resolve this complaint. All attempts to contact the complainant have failed. Therefore, this complaint has been annulled and must not be considered where image of the company in question and it's services are concerned.

  • Carnival Cruise Lines Customer Care's Response, Oct 24, 2017

    Good morning:

    Thank you for making us aware of your family’s experience, following your cruise aboard the beautiful Carnival Spirit.

    We genuinely regret the situation you were met with and are relieved to know that you were not physically hurt.

    Our records indicate that you are currently awaiting a call back from one of our Guest Care Department Supervisors. We expect that this call should take place this week. Should you need to speak with someone in the meantime, the Guest Care Department can be reached by dialing 1-305-599-2600, extension 76400; and the hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST. Alternatively, you can also reach a team member by emailing: [protected]

    Our staff looks forward to speaking with you.


    Carnival Cruise Line

Oct 20, 2017

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