October 2014 - Carnival Breeze to Caribbean - Western
Let me start with saying that I never write any reviews and I am not picky. In case if something really goes wrong I call customer service and usually all the problems are getting resolved. Any decent company that sucsessfuly functions in this country will do everything not to loose a customer. By the end of the Western Caribbean cruise people were promised, I am sure carnival lost a lot of current and potential clients. I understand that some things go out of control because of the weather and other natural causes. But the good smart management and putting customers’ satisfaction above financial gain would bring any business more success. Apparently Carnival is too cheap to pay to qualified specialists or just prefers to be dishonest and unfair to it’s guests on board. English is my second language, so please keep in mind when you read this. I only did this review to warn people about how their vacation can be spoiled by trusting it to Carnival.
My cruise almost started on the wrong ship. I was travelling with my mom and one other person. We got our keys at the airport after spending 1 hour in the line. Then we took a cab to the port. Interesting fact - the taxi from airport to port is $25. the Carnival shuttle is $16 per person and after waiting in line to check in, you would have to sit and wait even longer for a shuttle. No comments here, I simply don’t get it. So we took a cab, because it made more sense to us. We arrived to the port early. There were two cruise ships Breeze and Conquest. We just wanted to get rid of our carry on bags and walk to the bayside mall in Miami. Workers at the port were not helpful at all. I felt like a ship in the herd. We ended up going through all the checking points but the last one, to find out that we have to go outside to get rid of our baggage. So we walked outside where we started. We found the crew that was grabbing and throwing bags in a cart. one of the men offered to take our bags and demanded(!) a tip. I gave him a few bucks, but was kind of irritated by the way he acted so i watched for a minute. Nobody else tipped. At that time I was in a great mood and didn’t care about that little incident at all. I was exited and happy about the coming cruise and the islands.
When we came back to the port hours later, we had to go through all the checking points again. At the last checking point right before you step on the board of the vessel, they checked our keys, the keys were not working. The guy started to issue new key cards to us, when I asked if we were on the right ship. He started to laugh at me and then looked at the keys and yelled “Oh S**t! F**k! how did you get here this is not Breeze, this is Conquest!" (wow! really?!) I didn’t even care about him cursing at that point, he started to run away and was calling us to run after him.We came to some office, where they told us, that our bags could go on the wrong ship. We were asked many times how our bags looked like, in spite of the fact that they had tags with our info and stateroom number attached. It was so confusing and unprofessional, I don’t even want to get into all the details.They also asked us about how the building and the hall looked like when we arrived the first time and dropped our bags. My mother’s blood pressure was so high, she had to take medication. We were checked 2 times and nobody paid any attention if we were going to the right ship. Also when they scanned my purse second time after we came back they asked me if i had a knife there. I said, I didn’t, and they let me go. wow! that is a security!
Anyway, after all the craziness, we finally got to the right ship, and found our bags safely delivered to the right place, as I thought, they would. I tried to explain it to people in the office to avoid the panic. Instead of calming us down they scared us that our bags could get lost. they could just call someone on the wrong ship first, but instead they were sending them emails. that was just stupid! I was still happy when it was all over and was very excited to be there. The cruise ship was beautiful, new and clean - that was a big plus. The food was ok, barely any seafood in the buffet. the same breakfast every day. The restaurant offered great menu, but it was taking forever to get your food. Our headwaiter was so slow. The only helpful person was his assistant/food runner. It seemed like he did all the work.
The next day after embarkation we arrived at Key West. And it was nice, although it didn’t really have the best beaches, but the weather was great and we were just walking around the island, sightseeing. We left laying under the sun and swimming with beautiful fishes to other places we supposed to visit.
The day after the KW supposed to be ‘’fun day at sea”, I thought it was our luck, because it was raining and we planned nothing but exploring the vessel. Around 12:30 we found out that someone on the ship got sick and we all need to rush him to Cozumel. at that point I was getting a bit upset, because when we arrived at Cozumel 2 hours after the announcement, we saw how cloudy it was, and it was raining most of the times. It was irritating because we shouldn’t even be there yet. And we wouldn’t if they could arrange a helicopter pick up for a sick person. so Cozumel was ruined for all of us. We got there late around 2:30pm and it was raining, all the fun places were closed, except for the mall. Even then I wasn’t loosing my hope. We supposed to be at Cayman Island in a day, and the weather is always good on cayman islands, at least that is what i heard from people on board.
According to new itinerary we supposed to have another “fun day at sea” the day after we left Cozumel, but someone else got sick, so captain decided to rush us to the Grand Cayman. we got three at 1 am at night. The next day I woke up and saw the beautiful sunshine, the weather was perfect. No rain, finally! I was ready to spend all day at the beach. However at @10am they told us that it was too windy for boats to get to the ship in order to take us to the island, so we have to cancel it and go back to Miami.
I was so upset, I almost cried. I decided to go to the lobby and demand some reasonable explanation. because I honestly didn’t notice any strong wind. if boats can not handle a little wind, the captain should always have plan B or back up island, or something.
The lobby was filled with furious people. The guest services crew was useless. people were screaming “Refund! Refund!” Some guests were asking at least a free drink, others would be ok with a free wifi or on board credits. However nobody got anything! Nothing at all. People’s vacation was ruined and the company didn't do anything to make people happy. There were over 4000 people on board from all over the world. A lot of the guests didn’t speak good English. One poor woman in the lobby was trying to talk to some customer service representative in spanish. All she got as an answer was ‘’I don’t speak spanish, sorry”. My spanish is not good at all, but i could understand that she was just trying to find out what was going on. I demanded from that crew member to find someone who could announce everything in spanish. And - Surprise!- a minute later, they found someone who could speak spanish.
People kept demanding refund, and the crew started to refund gratuity as partial refund without explaining that they were taking that money from poor room cleaners, bussers and servers. That means not just that they don’t care about their clients, but also that they couldn’t care less about people that worked for them. Or maybe the gratuity they collect doesn’t even go to the person that makes your bed and cleans your toilet for a week?… shameful company, full of empty promises.
This is what we were promised:
2 Key West 8am-4pm
3 Fun day at Sea
4 Cayman Island 8am-4pm
5 Cozumel 10am-6pm
6 Fun day at Sea
This is what we got:
2 Key West 8am-4pm
3 Cozumel 2:30 pm-11pm was raining , we arrived to late to do anything fun.
4 not so Fun day at Sea, cloudy, rainy
5 Day at sea, arguing with customer service; cloudy sky after we left Grand Cayman waters, raining most of the times.
6 Day at Sea, no extra fun, cloudy, rainy.
I personally think we all got only about 30% of what we paid for. I am a business owner myself and if for some reason i can not perform what i was paid for, I don’t charge. Because customer doesn’t care why i couldn’t do it. Than is what I call an honest business!
I called their 1-800 number and tried to explain the whole situation, saying that I could pay 3 times less for going to Key West, after all it was the only place we visited and enjoyed as we supposed to. The lady was silent most of the time and then she told me she put a note about my complain, but they not gonna do anything in order to fix it.
Don’t let Carnival ruin your vacation! Stay away from their cruise ships!