August 2016 - Carnival Sensation to Caribbean - Western
Booking through with the travel agent Ian for our anniversary went very smoothly and we were happy about receiving onboard credit for being returning passengers. However, were are still very upset about Carnival not warning its passengers about certain ports, specifically Jamaica. Although Carnival provides excursions for purchase aboard the vessel, not everyone chose to take an excursion immediately upon docking at the port. Many people, including ourselves, had a horrible experience with the locals in Jamaica. Travelers were extorted for money and personal effects by the locals.
Before arriving in Jamaica, we had approached the Fun Desk and took their recommendations to visit the Taj Mahal and Diamonds International. When we got off the cruise ship, we were immediately followed by locals who kept demanding money from us for being on their island. To avoid all the people demanding payment from us and to stop them from following us, we took a taxi to Diamonds International. However, the taxi driver took us far into the hills and extorted us for most of our money. He would not allow us to get out of the taxi and he also flagged down other locals to keep us from going anywhere. For as much as we have traveled, we have never felt so fearful for our lives. Knowing we would not be able to walk back to the ship and our lives would be in jeopardy if we chose to do so, we both knew we had to pay the taxi driver. From the mountains, he finally took us to the edge of the tourist area. However, by then, we did not have enough money to purchase Tanzanite nor anything else, which was repetitively encouraged aboard Carnival Sensation. We started our walk to the Taj Mahal, where we were again followed and harassed for the last of our money. In Jamaica, we spent our entire budget which we had saved for both Jamaica and Grand Cayman, all without having eaten or done any activities or excursions.
Carnival should have provided a disclaimer for all the passengers, especially knowing that this is not the first time this has happened, from what other Carnival crew members have told us after leaving Jamaica. Carnival did not have to discourage people from going to Jamaica, but they should have taken it upon themselves to warn people before arriving in Jamaica. Additionally, Carnival should have arranged for Jamaican officials and Carnival staff to safely guide travelers off the ship to the recommended shops and locations. This is not to discourage people from going to Jamaica, but this is to provide a much needed warning for people intending to get off the cruise ship at Jamaica. People should be warned that if they are getting off the ship, to only stay within eye sight of the ship. Although all the shops recommended by Carnival are nearby, within a few blocks of walking, the locals will extort travelers for money and will not desist until they have what they demand.