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Ann Marie St Martin

Age: 56

Occupation:Teacher

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Destiny

Sailing Date: March 12th, 2006

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

Disembarkation after a beautiful 5 days at sea:

The weather’s beautiful, the balcony is peaceful and I’m sitting here very early Saturday morning thinking that maybe Carnival Cruise Lines has vindicated itself from the fiasco of our last Carnival cruise in March, 1993 (That was the year of the ‘storm of the century’ and Carnival was the only cruise line that decided to sail through the storm and not around it). As I continue to look out to sea, I see an island and realize I’m looking at Aruba which we supposedly left at 10 pm the night before! I also realize that the ship appears to be crawling. Warning bells go off, yet again….

We go down for the 11 am debarkation talk from Skip the Cruise Director and listen to his advice for over 1 hour of our time. The Captain Gianpaolo Casula is introduced at the end of this time and proceeds to tell us that a passenger had needed to be taken back to Aruba at 1am and upon leaving Aruba, the propeller had been damaged. We were going to be very late and flights were going to be missed etc. No apology at all. The ship’s staff had been caught totally unaware, they had known nothing of his announcement. Disgusting communication between staff and management!

I realize the holiday is over. People are in shock.

Well it’s now 10:45 am on Sunday March 19th. We are crawling toward San Juan. We still have not been informed of our new flight number. We don’t know our flight times, or if we go today, tomorrow or Tuesday. We’ve been given no complimentary emergency phone calls. I call the purser’s desk to explain that at sea our cell phone did not work and I needed to make an emergency phone call to my son to explain what was happening. I was told it would cost $6.95 a minute, emergency or not. Really good customer relations!

Workmen are working noisily in the hall outside so hearing announcements is difficult unless they are put through directly into the cabin. We are spending our day waiting in the cabin to hear what to do. At around 1:30 a letter is slipped under our door with our new flight. At 4:30 we are told that we must exit our cabins and go to the Paladium Lounge for hotel and flight assignments. When we arrive at the Paladium no hotel assignments are available for us ( us being over 1000 people). We are told to sit and wait.

My husband had forgotten his book in the cabin and when he tried to go back up to get it he couldn’t…fire doors had been closed to stop us from returning to our rooms.

The staff from Miami were without name tags…interesting! By 7:10 pm March 19th we are still waiting, cold (high air conditioning), hungry and very frustrated with the total lack of emergency preparedness. At 9:20 pm we still have no hotel. Older people, special needs people, are still sitting here in the Paladium,cold and hungry and thirsty…no concern or help from Carnival staff. We are hearing horror stories about the thousands of people waiting on the street to get on this ship, no food, bathrooms, water.

A gentleman makes an announcement that we are not to get off this ship without hotel reservations or Carnival will wash their hands of us. We remain seated….waiting. Finally they bring in blankets, food and drinks and we try to rest. At least we aren’t freezing anymore.
At ‘1 AM’ we march up to the people from Miami and demand to know why we have no hotel yet, since it was common knowledge that there were rooms at the Caribe Hilton that have been available all day. The Miami people pronounce the person ( who called her sister on the cell) a liar…that there were no rooms. We demanded they call the Caribe Hilton. Amazing! There were rooms!!!

(It’s past 1 am and people are still waiting in line to board this ship!) We were sent to the Caribe Hilton and arrived around 2 am, slept til 6 and were down in the lobby at 7. Carnival people were supposed to be set up by 8am to help with buses to the airport and flights. At 8:15 they arrived.

We took a bus to the airport and arrived for our 11am flight at 9am. After a very long wait we finally boarded our flight, which left at 12:30 and headed for Toronto, a day late for work…a day’s pay lost. Relaxation gone. Stress level very high. Totally exhausted. I’m going back to teach, more tired than I was when I left.

The ports were beautiful, the staff were wonderful but in the face of an emergency Carnival failed miserably and I will never recommend them to anyone.

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