May 2015 - Carnival Magic to Caribbean - Western
My wife and I were really excited about this trip as we were celebrating a graduation and it was our first cruising experience. Because we were new and didnt know what to expect, we opted to let the cruise line arrange our flight schedule and transfers. This was a mistake.
They decided to fly us out the morning the cruise ship left. As we feared, the moment we touched down in Dallas, a huge storm hit, our connecting flight was canceled, and we were stranded there with no hope of reaching the ship in time. The next 10 hours were spent waiting in lines in the airport, or on hold with customer service reps, some of which were very rude. We had to fight for them to help us with our situation. I reminded them that they booked the flights and should have flown us out sooner to avoid potential problems like this.
We eventually got to Houston later that night where we were promised a hotel and flights in the morning. After a 90 dollar cab ride to the hotel I was told we should go to, we arrived, confirmation number in hand. Only to be told by the hotel they have no record of us or that confirmation number I had received from Carnival. I decided to pay for the hotel myself and make some calls in the morning.
After more fighting and arguing with Carnival, who claimed we should have stayed in Dallas, and that they had no record of anyone telling us to do that in the notes on our booking number. I finally got them to pay for our hotel, but they would not fly us to mexico til the day the ship arrived. Meaning we got to spend 2 days in a rainy miserable Houston, while we were supposed to be enjoying a cruise.
We finally reached Mexico and had to go through customs and attend meetings from the staff of Carnival. We were never once told sorry, or shown any empathy or remorse. They seemed to think that they were in the clear and done all the needed to do to make it right. We were not given any accommodations or upgrades of any kind or anything in the way of a sorry.
While on the ship, we heard tales of other guests who missed the ship that were flown out by Carnival to Mexico early. They were also put up in a 5 star all inclusive resort. My wife and I were put in a 3 star hotel in Houston. I brought this up to Carnival and they gave me shoulder shrugs. I am also still waiting and fighting to get food and travel reimbursed with my receipts that they said they'd pay for.
All and all, the ship was fun, we enjoyed the 2/3rds of the trip we actually got to spend with the boat and not in Houston. I was horribly disappointed with the customer service and lack of professionalism. Through this whole process I'd tried to be calm and understanding and kind, with hopes I would be treated with respect in return. Instead I got shoulder shrugs, half hearted "sorry, there's nothing I can do"s, and a lot of waiting in lines and on hold. We are fighting them for reimbursement of the first 3 days of our trip which they have been unwilling to even be slightly understanding about. I dont believe I should have to pay for days I didnt get to spend in the ship. We also might as well not have gone to mexico at all, all we saw of it was in the taxi and dragging our own luggage to the ship right before it departed for the next port.
Sorry for the long-winded review, but I even left out some more fun details for the sake of length. If it were up to me, I'd pick a different cruise line then Carnival. Cheap cruises customer service has been really hit or miss, we had good and bad experiences through the whole trip with them. Cruise at your own risk, and fly to the port the day before! You never know what kind of weather could ruin your vacation.