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Lydia Miller

Age: 36

Occupation:Travel Agent

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Ecstasy

Sailing Date: 2009-05-12

Itinerary: Mexico

My mother and I chose to celebrate her 70th birthday aboard the Carnival Ecstasy for a 5 day cruise to Mexico on April 27th, 2009 and stayed in Cabin U228. When we heard news of the swine flu and it continued to get worse I phoned Carnival in route to Galveston and asked if our cruise would be canceled and was told there was no reason to be concerned that there were no cases in either of our ports or any reported cases from any past guests or crew. I told the agent that I had heard that the CDC announcing a non-essential travel warning was imminent, but she reiterated that our ports of call were fine. So on the ship we went. Immediately the rumors were flying that we were not going to get to go to Mexico. I asked a couple of service staff members and they thought we would possibly just redirect to another port but would probably only have time for 1 port. The next morning the information meeting regarding our ports of call was canceled and we were told that more information would be coming. All day they came on with announcements promising updates by lunch time, by 3pm, by 5pm, by the captain's cocktail hour, etc. No news came so we went on to the Captain's Cocktail hour hoping that the much anticipated information would be relayed by the captain himself. Steve Cassel, our truly fabulous cruise director, came out and told us that the captain would not be joining us because his was stuck on the bridge handling this emergency situation and that there was still no news to relay. This was at 7pm Tuesday evening. By this point I had already seen the news headlines stating that all Mexico ports had been canceled and wondered why they were not being forthcoming with this information. At dinner around 8:30pm, our cruise director, Steve Cassel, announced that the Mexico ports had been canceled and that no replacement ports were available to us. The Captain made no announcements himself and he never made an appearance at the dinner that night or at anytime on the cruise. He also never made any apologies for his absence. We were told that as compensation for our missed ports our Sail and Sign cards would be credited $40 to reimburse the port taxes of the missed ports. Being a travel agent myself I am aware that this amount is far less than the port taxes actually paid. On Friday morning the debarkation meeting was canceled because of a medical condition onboard the ship and we would be going back to Galveston immediately, to be arriving back in Texas by 8pm Friday night. They should have let everyone know that it was not the Swine flu because the rumors started flying that it was an outbreak on the ship. We later learned that it was one very ill passenger. Although I am very sympathetic to this family and hope that all is well with them, the lack of forthcoming information was just one more thing that ruined our vacation. Then new information came that all 4 and 5 days cruises were now being canceled and replaced with 7 day cruises. This is an option we would have preferred. We lost over half of our vacation and we were not compensated for this and, in fact, the cruise line probably made more money than normal due to the guests spending much more money than they would have in the ships casino, shops and bars. If we had gone to the movie and there had been a power failure, we would have been offered a rain check for any alternate movie. We would not have been forced to stay seated in the dark theater and just wait out our time. We should have been offered a refund or a rescheduled cruise. It's as simple as that. It is not fair that future guests will be enjoying a 7 day cruise while we received $40. I had a 7 day cruise on the Conquest planned for August 2nd. We have 10 cabins booked. At this point I am reconsidering my choice to cruise Carnival or selling it. Most of the food was fine. The dining room food was the best. Loud, we were in the rear of the ship and the motor of the ship shook us so bad that our things rattled off the nightstands. The Lido deck activities were lots of fun. The shows were a little corny.

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