Sail Date: March 01, 2007
Reviewed: 10 years ago
We booked a reservation for a Carnival cruise via Carnivals toll-free reservations phone number During our phone conversation we made it explicitly clear that this trip was for our 25th anniversary and that we had to have a balcony stateroom with no obstructions (other travel sites only had obstructed view or no balcony rooms left). Carnivals reservation operator assured us that we could lock in an unobstructed balcony, even after I told him we could go on the following sailing if no unobstructed balcony was available on our first sailing date selection. After reviewing the reservation and pricing, we went online to complete the registration process as he directed. He also suggested, after we told him we were flying into port a few days earlier, that we look into the onshore excursion available via the web site after warning us we had to go online to Carnivals web site to register first. We immediately went to the web site and registered, and booked our hotel reservations and plane tickets within the same hour.
After trying unsuccessfully to get to the excursions on the web site we called the main reservations line back and were THEN TOLD that the excursions were only available at THE END of the cruise. Since we had already booked our return plane flight for the morning of the ships return, it was too late to book anything.
On a Tuesday evening sometime less than 24 hours before the scheduled departure time our son called to tell us someone from Carnival had called our home and left a message stating that Carnival would be unable to place us in a cabin with an unobstructed balcony (a phone # was left to call). We immediately called the phone number left on the message and were told by a Customer Service supervisor that the balcony rooms on our selected sailing date had been overbooked. I asked her to check the recording of our reservation phone call to verify that we had been promised an unobstructed balcony cabin and her reply was she did not have to. I asked why she would not want to verify the truth of what we were told and she replied that, even if the promise was made, the reservation operator was not authorized to make any promises and there was nothing that could be done. She said the cruise was over-booked and we would have to accept a cabin downgrade and an onboard ship credit, but we told her it was unacceptable given the special occasion we were trying to celebrate and the PROMISE that was made to us. She said the only alternative was for us to appear at the dock on time anyways with the hope that someone would cancel or be a no-show, but that no attempt would be made to get another passenger to accept the downgrade bump. She concluded by saying the hope for a cancellation or no-show was very very remote like pulling a clown out of a hat as she put it.
Needless to say my wife was crushed and we were both quite angry. We called the ships cruise director at the port from our hotel the next morning (after not sleeping all night) and while apologetic, she stated she could not do anything about what we were promised. She offered to refund our cruise fare, which she promptly did. It made no sense to accept a cabin downgrade and feel lousy about it the whole trip, nor to waste a whole day on the dock by ourselves hoping for a miracle Carnivals own employees said was unlikely to happen.
THE FACT WE WERE TREATED THIS WAY AS REPEAT CUSTOMERS SHOWS HOW MEANINGLESS THAT DESIGNATION TRULY IS TO CARNIVAL.
Needless to say, Carnivals behavior throughout our experience has been despicable. The fact that they wouldnt even fulfill a promise made by an employee on a recorded line (that would easily verify what we were told) is unjustifiable. This is nothing but a "BAIT & SWITCH" scheme.
Cons: Refused to honor reservation's promise