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Michelle Elliott

Age: 38

Occupation:Financial Planner

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Splendor

Sailing Date: 2009-05-3

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

We were booked for the Splendor sailing on May 3rd. Because of the swine flu, we had two days to decide if we should try to book something else or go anyway. There were 10 of us in our group so we decided to go ahead with the cruise. Some of us used airline tickets that couldn't be changed, vacation time at work, etc. Looking back, I wish we would have opted to cruise at a different time and taken the credit. I know it was a hardship to Carnival as well, but we had planned and saved for 18 months and the trip was par at best. Because of the awful weather, we were unable to be outside at all. We paid $800 for the cruise and heard of people who paid $125 because of the situation. We felt completely ripped off in alot of ways. Carnival could and should have remedied the situation. This is my third Carnival cruise. I will try another cruise line next time and will probably never cruise Carnival again.

Food and service in the supper club was outstanding. This experience was well worth the extra charge. This was the first cruise we had taken that had the dinner club available. I would highly recommend eating in the supper club at least once. Most of the buffet lines were never open because there weren't enough guests. We were basically served the same food day after day. No midnight buffets, no ice sculptures, no "theme" food. We were extremely disappointed with the buffet lines. The coffee shop was amazing. The dining room staff and food were the best so far. Because the buffet lines were awful, we ended up eating in the dining room each night. Our waiter was fabulous and the food was very good here.

Staterooms were new and very nice. We had adjoining rooms for a family of four. It worked out perfectly. We left the door open between rooms. Kids had a room, we had our own room. We always book the Riviera deck Oceanview cabins. The rooms were the same as the two other ships. Almost identical, but brand new. The cabin staff were fabulous as always. Our third cruise and the cabin staff have always been perfect.

Onboard activities were very limited. Again, it seemed like most things were limited because so many people cancelled. The slide, pools outside, etc were rarely open because of the weather. If they were open it was freezing. One thing I found out about Carnival this time, is that if you've been on one Carnival cruise you've been on them all. There was no variety and everything is exactly the same. The adult comedian was filthy, and I'm not sensitive. People were actually walking out and so did we. The shows are all the same. Basically if you aren't a big partier, there wasn't much to do. The sunroof on our ship was open once for a few hours. On a bright note, our kids, 11 and 14 enjoyed Camp Carnival. They basically did the same things everyday (because nothing was ever open), but they enjoyed their counselor and the kids on the cruise. The shops are all the same and have the exact same things. Drinks were very expensive.

Because of our change in itinerary, we stopped in San Francisco, Seattle, and Victoria. All three are beautiful cities. We couldn't plan any excursions because Carnival couldn't give us times that we would be there ahead of time. The ship offered a few things but nothing we opted to do. It was basically get off the ship and figure it out. We went to Pier 39 in San Fran. Always fun, but it poured on us. Seattle, Space Needle and Fish Market. This was the only sun we had the entire trip and it was amazing. I love Seattle. Victoria, rained the entire time but this is a beautiful city to explore. I can't help more than that because we weren't there very long and didn't have many options available. We ended up docking late in each city and standing in huge lines for what seemed an eternity.

This itinerary would be fun in July or August. Not when it's cold. The ship was new, but I didn't think it was worth $800 per person. We thought Imagination was just fine and like to cheap out and spend $250. I don't mean to be sour grapes about the whole Swine Flu thing, but Carnival really could have tried harder for those of us who didn't have the choice to reschedule. The staff that work for tips are always amazing. The other staff at Carnival, not so much. I am really disappointed that they gave the cruise away to get people on the ship and then made us pay $800 for a horrible experience. This trip cost my family of four $10,000 when it was all said and done. A big boo to Carnival, we will try other cruise lines if we decide to cruise again. It just shows you how far loyalty gets you with this cruise line.

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