Carnival Cruise / customer service - not
Attn: Complaints Department
Re: Splendor Cruise 1-31-09 Brazilian Visa (booking reference#)
I recently was a customer on your ship that went on its first inaugural trip to South America. It will also be my last trip on Carnival Cruise lines and any of its other cruise alliance companies. To say I was a customer before I boarded your ship in Barbados is a stretch. I have a few problems with how we were treated, what was done, and your policies.
We booked this trip with one of Carnival’s Vacation planner. To say the least we were extremely excited about this trip and visited your website at least every 2 – 3 days. One of the things I found ironic about this is right on your website you claim the following about your vacation planners:
With so many fantastic Carnival cruise options, you could probably use some help picking the sailing that's just right for you.
Allow our professional and attentive Personal Vacation Planners to provide you with:
One-on-one vacation planning assistance
Expert knowledge of all of our itineraries including The Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska, Canada and Europe
Guaranteed best available rates and stateroom availability
Convenient and affordable airfare to compliment your cruise vacation (if necessary)
Insider travel tips and advice
Assistance in selecting and booking our award-winning shore excursions
Advance notice of upcoming sales
Note two of the bullets from above when I continue this story: the first bullet is one on one vacation planning assistance and insider travel tips and advice. Too bad this is not true. Since in the several conversations I had with my planner she did the mention that by the way you need a visa when you go to Brazil. Sounds like a travel tip or expert knowledge to me. I am in the tire service industry and if I forgot a huge part like “make sure you retourque your tires” I could be liable if those tires fall off, even though it says this in small lettering on the one page invoice. Meanwhile all I hear from your company is that you should have read the whole contract therefore too bad so sad. Wow why would Carnival travel planners not state something while booking this type of trip, it would have saved the 100 plus people in Ft. Lauderdale a lot of grief.
But in addition to this it is the way we were treated. Now remember we had already paid for this trip so we were a customer of yours. We arrive at Ft Lauderdale docks and right away the porters are saying you better have your visa or else you are not getting on. I looked at my husband and said they must be joking. We had VIP entrance so we went to the head of the line, the carnival associate told us get your luggage put it here and come back. We did, she then directed us to a set of chairs with a bunch of other visa-less people and the people needing wheelchairs. The Carnival employee manning this area refused to speak to us, said it “was above her pay grade”. We said can we get someone to talk to and she said “they know you are here”. We sat there for an hour with nobody coming to see us. The couple next to us finally demanded someone come and talk to us. She radioed someone and then escorted us upstairs to another room. Here we sat again.
So now we are in a room with about 50 others and we hear the rumors. Basically you are not getting on and good luck. Nobody from Carnival ever came to speak to us. I understand there is a problem but to ignore it and us is not what I call customer service. We were treated like lepers. Two employees that did come up tried to address different people but did not have any ideas on how to solve or what could be done. Luckily we left before the bomb scare or else our day would have been even worse.
Since Carnivals alliance ships sail to Brazil and have had problems like this in the past they should have been better prepared. We will take some of the blame but the communication from Carnival was terrible. Apparently an email was sent out, we did not get this. Why a box was not in the fun pass like: got Brazilian visa? The only questions were about your passport and credit card. Was the visa not just as important? The other reason I wonder is that us 100 people did not get aboard and that means we did not spend XXX money during those days on your ship. Your company lost money on this. Not only that but everyone I speak to and asks us about cruising I will sway away from your companies. Word of mouth is huge in marketing. You may think your immune being a huge company with controlling interest in the cruise industry but these days in this market I would not be so superior.
Just to let you know the best part of my cruise was meeting three other couple who had the same problem, one had booked through your super vacation planners, one through Sea Miles and one through a travel agent. The one through the travel agent has already given them half of their expenses back that incurred due to this problem. The second couple who spoke to their Carnival cruise agent at first said she was extremely sorry and did not know you needed a visa and would make sure they were taken care of. But of course as you know your company is standing behind the contract and is not doing anything.
So in the end my question is what is Carnival going to do for us? Do I expect you to pay all my expenses? No. But I do think you should pay for at least half. Also I hope you change your policies on how your personal vacation planners book trips with your future customers. That since they are the experts as you claim they should make sure to inform the customer you need a visa when you sail to certain countries. Also you should change your Fun pass to include a check off list for visa needed. Not only will you have happy customers they will think “Wow how professional”, and they will be repeat customers due to the superior service. These days the companies that will make it through these hard times are going to need customer service along with a superior product to make it.
I have included our expenses as a note to you and see how much it cost us. This extra expense means we spent less on this trip too. I also included a copy of the fun pass where it states what you need on the boat. I hope your company seriously changes their policies and remembers a customer is a customer no matter if they are aboard their ship, on the phone, or trying to board the boat. I hope you will rectify our losses and take care of your customers that did not get aboard and hold true to your mission statement: Our mission is to deliver exceptional vacation experiences through the world's best-known cruise brands that cater to a variety of different lifestyles and budgets, all at an outstanding value unrivaled on land or at sea.
If you would like to discuss further I can be reached at [protected] or at the address noted below.
never going on carnival
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