April 2016 - Carnival Inspiration to Mexico
What should have been a relaxing and enjoyable vacation celebrating our anniversary was unfortunately the worst vacation that myself or my significant other have ever had the displeasure of enduring.
Upon boarding the Imagination, my partner and I were displeased to find the pool was out of working order (see attached picture.) This finding was especially unsettling considering we chose the “Faster to the Fun FTTF” option for the purpose of additional pool time enjoyment. The out of order pool therefore crowded the hot tubs with larger than capacity crowds rendering them useless and becoming blatantly filthy.
The onboard dining experience aboard the Imagination did not prove to be any better. The dining selections I made on the “manage my cruise” section of the Carnival website did not reflect on my sail & sign card. Online I selected the ANYTIME dining option, my sail & sign card showed an 8:15 and later Spirit dining time. This discrepancy caused a dining hassle at dinner every night. Undoubtedly the worst experience of the entire trip came the following day. Shortly after arriving in Catalina, I noticed what appeared to be bed bug bites (see attached pictures,) This unnerving, unsettling, and infuriating experience set in motion a physical and emotional anguish that set the tone for the remainder of the cruise. The issue is still affecting us even after returning home. Upon discovering the bite marks on my arms and legs, my partner and I immediately returned to the boat. We were unsure of the best course of action to take so we turned to guest services.
Guest services heard my plea and directed me to the ship’s doctor. After waiting almost an hour to see the doctor, I was given a tube of Hydrocortisone and a small packet of what the doctor was “almost certain” were Benadryl tablets. I expressed my concern to the doctor that my bite marks did not itch, as is usually the case with other insect bites, but not the case with bed bugs; hence the reason for my concern that I was likely experiencing a bed bug issue. He said the bites “might be from bed bugs, and they might not,” but there was no way for him to know.
After my helpless experience with the doctor, I returned to Guest Services and inquired as to what the next steps would be. I was told that the housekeeping department had performed an investigation of my room and there were no findings of any bed bug activity and my bedding would be changed. Naturally, upon first discovering the bites I read as much as I could on the subject, paying most mind to the webmd.com, bedbug.org, and epa.gov websites. Armed with the knowledge from the websites I suggested to Guest Services that a “thorough investigation by Carnival’s Housekeeping Staff” was not a surefire way of ruling out bed bugs. I asked Guest Services if it would be possible for me to change rooms. They informed me that there were other guests awaiting a room transfer and I would be added to the list. The agent seemed irritated that we were not satisfied with a bedding change. I was, and still am disappointed in the way Guest Services handled the situation and spoke to me. I felt my concerns were trivialized and I was treated as a mere annoyance. My partner and I were never updated on whether a new room had become available and we spent the remainder of the trip sleepless and anxious.
I recognize that the Imagination is a “Fun Ship” and one of the more economical options of the Carnival Corporations fleet. That said, we did not go into this vacation with expectations of any 5 star luxurious accommodations. We merely expected a clean, comfortable ship with at least adequate customer service. Unfortunately, that is not what we experienced.