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Carnival Cruise Princess Cruise Cunard Holland America Costa Cruise - Carnical Cruise Nightmare
Posted on Sunday, April 27th, 2008 at 3:21pm CDT by c372c11c
Product: Ocean Cruises
The following letter has gone unanswered in any form by Carnival President & CEO Bob Dickinson. Though we still get biweekly spam email offers.
March 11, 2008
Mr. Bob Dickinson
President & CEO
Carnival Cruise Lines
3655 NW 87 Avenue
Miami, FL. 33178-2428
I write this letter directly to you concerning our March 3 through March 8th, 2008 cruise aboard the Carnival ship Fantasy from New Orleans to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. This cruise was my 20th wedding anniversary gift to my wife. I had saved for over 16 months so that I could take her on her 1st cruise for that very special occasion. Very sadly, what should have been a wonderful romantic vacation for both of us turned into a frustrating, emotionally and physically painful series of events compounded by a complete lack of customer service on behalf of key Fantasy staff.
I deliberately paid more for a stateroom, E150, on the Empress Deck so that we would have the convenience of a larger cabin and easy access to embarkation/debarkation pathways. I quickly learned that the stateroom we had chosen was directly under the ships galley. This fact is conveniently left off of all ship diagrams on Carnivals web site as well as fold-out maps of the ships decks provided while on board.
Monday evening as we tried to sleep, we found an extremely loud metallic drilling noise directly above our room. The noise so loud it drowned out the TV in our cabin. We contacted the ships Purser on duty, Ramona Georgescu, and inquired about the noise. She asked us to describe the noise along with several other questions and told us to call back when we heard the noise again, so someone could come and listen. We explained that the noise was periodic and lasted varying lengths of time. The noise reoccurred and we called the Purser again. By the time the Purser arrived, the noise was gone. Again we were asked the same series of questions. We told the Purser to find out what was above our cabin and that would identify the cause. The Purser explained that she would take care of the noise.
Throughout Monday evening into Tuesday morning, neither of us got much sleep because the noise was repeated. We believed the Purser would take care of the noise and tried to make the best of a rough Tuesday at sea having slept less than 4 hours the previous night. We questioned our Steward about the noise and he did not provide any information. We spent a portion of Tuesday afternoon sleeping on love seats located along the Promenade deck.
Tuesday evening the noise became louder and more frequent. We called the Purser for a 3rd time and asked what was done to stop the noise? We were told that no one else in our cabin had ever heard the noise and that our cabin was a nicer room. We insisted on the Purser coming to our room to hear how loud the noise was. Late on Tuesday evening, we called the Purser again and she came to our room and heard the noise for herself. She seemed shocked by how loud it truly was. She repeated that our cabin had never had this problem. She contacted a plumber to come and listen to the noise. The plumber said that he did not know what the noise was and left. Late on March 4th, we received a letter slid under our door. I have enclosed a copy for you.
With the noise continuing, my wife walked to the Pursers desk at 1:30 am on Wednesday morning desperate for help. A Fantasy crew member at the Information Desk suggested my wife buy ear plugs to solve the problem? My wife could not believe what she had just been told! Ramona Georgescu heard the comment and intervened. My wife left to go back to our cabin. Within minutes, a male dressed in a white uniform came in while I was trying to sleep and heard the noise, too.
We spent the rest of Wednesday morning with no sleep as the noise continued. We tried to eat breakfast before a shore excursion. We found ourselves desperately tired and slept through most of our shore excursion and cancelled the shopping in Progresso we had planned. I comforted my wife by telling her we would make up for it in Cozumel.
Wednesday afternoon, I tried to take a nap to be awoken by the same noise. I found my wife and we went to the Purser again. With my wife in tears, we begged for some help. We learned that the chief engineer identified the problem in a matter of minutes by doing what we had asked for Monday evening 2 days earlier. The chief engineer went to the galley above our cabin and found that the noise was coming from large pot washers used to clean stock pots for soups and pasta.
With my wife in tears at the Pursers desk Wednesday evening, we were told that the only open cabin was on a lower level a smaller cabin. The Purser told us we could look at it and move our property down there for the rest of the cruise. We looked at the cabin and found it to be smaller than E150 and not as comfortable (less the continuing noise). We told the Purser that we paid a higher price to be on the Empress deck and moving to a lower deck was not fair. The Purser offered no other remedy claiming that all other cabins were full. We found out from other stewards that there were other larger cabins available.
With no other alternative, we decided to become nomads on the Fantasy. Sleeping in the smaller cabin and having to travel back to E150 were our property was. Needless to say we felt like unwanted guests on the Fantasy. Our lack of sleep was compounded by the rough seas. We made the best of Thursday and Friday wondering what the other guests that did not have to travel back and forth between 2 cabins on different decks were doing.
Friday we planned on eating alone at the buffet as we did not want to be around anyone, our 20th wedding anniversary cruise ruined. Just when I thought things could not get worse, the baked fish being served Friday in the buffet that I began to eat was not fully cooked. I had swallowed a few bites before I realized the fish was gelatinous and mushy. I mentioned the condition of the fish to a member of the table staff who smiled, cleared my plate and simply left. I decided to try a pizza instead. That, too, was not fully cooked as my wife noticed. We decided to go back to our sleeping cabin and try and forget the last 5 days. On Saturday we would be debarking and going home, hopefully to forget our nightmare of an anniversary celebration.
Saturday morning we were packed and ready to debark as Butch our cruise director had instructed us the previous day. Then like one final cold slap in the face, the stateroom safe in E150 would not open! Our car keys, passports, cash and jewelry were locked in the safe. We had to wait for over 1 hour before a Fantasy crew member could open the safe. As we waited, the other guests on the Empress Deck debarked ahead of us. By the time the safe was open and our valuables collected, the lower decks had crowded the hallway and we proceeded into a long wait.
As we finally reached our car, we took a few moments to laugh about our ruined wedding anniversary. Then my wife cried.
I should have known from the planning of the cruise that something would go wrong. I booked our tickets and shore excursions on Carnivals web site for (what I thought was) convenience sake. When a shore excursion in Cozumel was cancelled, Carnival booked another for us. Sadly, that replacement shore excursion was not what we wanted. It took 4 days to get it removed and book something else.
All my wife and I wanted was what we paid for a wonderful first time cruise to celebrate our 20 years of marriage. We believed Carnivals claims and truly expected to have fun aboard the Fantasy. Had Fantasys crew believed us Monday evening and taken a few minutes to investigate our claims, the problem would have been solved. Had Fantasys crew been more concerned about making a customer compliant right rather than making money, you would not be reading this letter. Between shore excursions, spa treatments and other purchases on board, we spent over $1500 with Carnival.
We began counting the number of times we were reminded how hard Fantasys staff worked to make our cruise spectacular. Oddly, neither the cruise director Butch nor any other ships officers other than the 2nd Purser ever paid us a visit given our 2 days of problems and a band-aid fix for a problem needing more attention. We did not complete the comment card given to us at the end of the cruise. We did not even have time to review our Sign and Sail card bill which had several errors on it all to Carnivals benefit. When youre told to get off the ship and your valuables are trapped in a safe, your mind gets preoccupied with more important issues.
I do not want apologies. It is far too late for them and they would only be hollow. I wanted the romance of a 20th wedding anniversary cruise. I never wanted to listen to my wife cry herself to sleep. I can only hope that you take this letter seriously and put in place a true customer service plan to address issues without worrying about the bottom line.
Finally, Tuesday morning we considered exercising Carnivals Vacation Guarantee before I read the fine print. Under that guarantee, we would have been debarked in tiny Progresso, Mexico to fend for ourselves in getting back to the U.S.A. We would have paid for 2 days of not being able to sleep on the Fantasy. We would have had to make it to the nearest airport (Cozumel) and leave Mexico within 24 hours or face imprisonment for not having a Mexican Tourist Visa as is required of all foreigners staying more than 24 hours in Mexico. Doesnt sound much like a guarantee to me. I wonder if Carnival guests know the facts surrounding your vacation guarantee?
David L. Hippensteel