Carnival Destiny / Terrible cruising experience
Terrible. That is the word that I feel compelled to use when describing my experience with Carnival. Where do I begin? When I booked the reservation, I was told that the room I was getting was eligible for an upgrade. The agent’s instructions were, that upon arrival at the port of Miami before embarkation, I was to request the upgrade. I did so, but was told that I needed to board the ship and ask inside. I found out, too late obviously, that once you enter the ship, there is no way for you to upgrade, even though I was willing to pay for the change. All upgrade requests must be addressed before boarding, I was told. I asked to speak to a manager, but my request was denied repeatedly, until I simply gave up.
I’m getting a little ahead of myself. For a couple of days before our cruise, the “Swine Flu” was in the news. With that in mind, I made sure to contact Carnival several times for updates on our vacation and check the website. Updates on our particular ship, the Destiny, continued to be delayed to the point where I did not know what the new port of call would be, till the taxi dropped us off at the port of Miami. When we found out that we were being rerouted to the Bahamas, my wife and I were incredibly disappointed. First of all, I really dislike the Bahamas. I made it a point to select this particular cruise because it DIDN’T go to the Bahamas. I needed a short cruise that went anywhere else. Although it states in your memo that if we are unsatisfied with the new port of call we could get a future cruise to a different port, I got the notice when I was in line at the check-in, at which point, what am I supposed to do? My wife and I took vacation time at work. We had no notice. We’re already at the Port with our bags packed and all arrangements made back home. We weren’t going to turn back then. If we had known, just a day before, we would have been able to make the necessary adjustments. We were not given the proper notice.
When we arrived in the room, we could not help but notice that there was a foul odor emanating from the bathroom. Apparently, the cleaning crew did not do a very good job. I called downstairs and was told that they would send someone over. For the next couple of hours, nobody came. They did, however, call to follow up the next day, at which point, there was either no foul odor, or we got used to it.
This ship, is another issue in and of itself. There may be people who are satisfied with something like this. My wife and I are not one of those people. I was very skeptical about cruising with Carnival, especially on an old ship, but I read on your website that the vessel was remodeled. I was also told by the agent that the ship looked beautiful and that most of it looked brand new. Now, for $300, I’m not expecting the Four Seasons, but this ship looks like a South Beach Hotel from the 80’s. There is nothing remodeled about this ship. I mean the wallpaper and carpeting look terrible, the décor is embarrassing. I guess there is no accounting for taste, but if I had any kind of indication that this ship looked as dated as it does, I would have never booked this trip.
I also had an incident where one of your employees out on the Lido deck, ran over my foot with, ironically, a big yellow caution cone. Lifted the nail right up and partially off of my big toe. There were a lot of people out on the deck at that time and when I was able to recover and get my bearings, the employee was nowhere to be seen. I went down to the medical station on the 1st floor and found that they were in a meeting and the doors were closed. I asked another employee to get me somebody, but they weren’t able to find anyone. Finally, one of the nurses walked by and when I showed her my injury she apologized and asked me if I could come back at 4pm, after their meeting. She actually looked at my toe and told me, “yeah, that looks pretty bad, but if you come back later, we will be able to look at it.” I persuaded it to look at it then and after a bit of a debate, she finally accommodated and bandaged my toe. She requested that I come back after 4pm to fill out an accident report but I never did.
My wife and I opted to stay in the ship when we docked at Nassau. As I mentioned before, we do not like the Bahamas and so we figured we’d stay on the ship and find something to do. The NBA playoffs are playing during this time of the year, so we figured we’d go to the sports bar to watch the game. Unfortunately, as it turns out, they were having problems with the satellite, particularly, ABC, where the game was playing. After I spoke to 5 different people, they finally, and reluctantly again, sent someone from Audio Video department to check it out. They managed to put the game on but to our dismay, and everyone else at the bar who was there to watch the game, the image kept distorting to the point where the game was unwatchable. They messed with it the entire time but never got the image right, or the audio for that matter.
While I was trying to watch the game, I figured, I would get a cigar from the cigar bar. Since we were docked, the bar was closed. However, I thought it would not be too difficult to have someone come up and sell me a cigar. I called guest services from the bar and said, “I’m at the cigar bar but there is nobody here, could you please send someone over to help me pick out a cigar?” The girl on the phone tries to transfer me to the cigar bar. As I waited through ring after ring, I realized that she was trying to transfer me to the place I was calling from. She just kept me there on the phone for a few minutes, until I finally hung up and called back. I asked her if she was trying to transfer me to the cigar bar. When I explained to her that I was already there, she casually said to me, “yes, they’re closed.” I asked to speak to a manager, and, of course, there was none anywhere to be found. Finally someone got on the phone, claiming to be a supervisor. I asked her to please have someone sell me a cigar at the cigar bar. I figured, how hard can it be to have someone with some kind of authority satisfy this simple request from a guest. I just wanted to buy a cigar at the bar. Of course, this was impossible and at the end, I just had to forget about it. How hard can it be to just come up and sell me a cigar? I was standing across the bar, 5 feet away from them. To simply come up and charge me $10 for a cigar should not be the most difficult thing in the world. There were other simple requests like this that simply could not be satisfied.
Over priced services at spa. I felt like they were in a perpetual state of trying to sell me something. The “seminars” and “tours” made me feel like I was buying a used car. “Go book your reservation right now and get $20 off, ” or “get 10% off if you make a reservation RIGHT AFTER this presentation.” Only to find that later on, there were better or equal “deals.” The services were over priced. My wife and I recently did the teeth whitening for half the price in South Beach (Miami). We spent about $1, 000 on spa treatments, which is why my wife and I go on cruises, but the quality of your rooms and horrific ambience did not make me feel like it was worth it. For $200, I can get a massage at a 5 star hotel in Miami. I guess it goes back to the outdated ship. Truth be told, the actual services were quite good. (Except for the hair solon, where they charged my wife almost double what she normally pays for a hair wash and blow dry and they did a terrible job). Your therapists are highly skilled and would certainly be well worth it in an environment more conducive to rest and relaxation, but your therapy rooms look like something you would find in an urgent care center and the prices were astronomical.
There are a couple of positive things. The meals served during dinner were excellent. The drinks were reasonably priced. The staff was, for the most part, friendly, as long as there were no special requests. We enjoyed watching a movie outdoors, but the selection of films was very limited and disappointingly sparse. Overall, there is so little to do on this ship. The activities were so cheesy. The events seemed uninspired. The employees were clueless about anything that was outside of their routine. In other words, if it was a special request or question about something on the ship that they weren’t programmed to do, they couldn’t help. Just a bad experience in general, to be perfectly frank. I’m writing this letter of complaint, from my cabin, because in actuality, I would like a refund. The cruise itself only cost $750, but I spent 4 days of my life in a nightmare of a vacation, going to a place that I specifically did not want to go to and I will never get those days back. Not to mention the $1, 000 at the spa, the $500 at the casino, the $200 in drinks. I guess you get what you pay for, but this was ridiculous. It has left a very bitter taste in my mouth, to the point that, I don’t think, I will not be going on another cruise, as I cannot afford to spend almost $2, 500 on having a bad time. For that, I stay home. When we arrived here, they told us, “you don’t have to do anything, we will take care of everything for you. Just sit back and enjoy.” That was certainly not the case. I can’t wait to get home.