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Jim Kull

Age: n/a


Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Ecstasy

Sailing Date: April 19th, 2004

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

I made a mistake!

I made a mistake! My mistake created a very unhappy wife and when my wife is unhappy, I am unhappy. My mistake was not Carnival. My mistake was not the particular cruise – April 19, 2004, Ecstasy cruise to Mexico. My mistake was not the service, the food or any particular amenity. Rather, my mistake was to not use a professional Travel Agent and instead deal directly with Carnival. My mistake was Gordon Stephenson. Mr. Stephenson was my “Carnival Personal Vacation Planner”.

Now, you may ask why one person could be my mistake. Very simply, he either lied to me or he was grossly misinformed. Despite some strong trepidation, I will get to that, I trusted him.

My, at that time, happy wife and I needed to be in Los Angeles. Since we were going to be there anyway, we thought a short cruise would be a nice break. The itinerary for this particular cruise was not exciting but it was an opportunity to simply get away and rest. We love cruising. We prefer a suite with a balcony. A suite gives us a fair amount of room. The balcony gives us a place to stretch out, relax and merely watch the world go by.

I did a fair amount of research on the various cruises departing from the Los Angeles area and found the Ecstasy was one that fit our schedule, had 2 different levels of balcony rooms and seemed to best fit our needs. The Ecstasy had another benefit to us. In the September timeframe we intend to take a repositioning cruise from the West Coast to the East Coast. The Ecstasy is going to offer this particular cruise and it was a good opportunity to check it out.

I looked at travel agents in this website and also visited the Carnival website. Visiting the Carnival website brought me Mr. Stephenson. He did his job well. He contacted me with almost overwhelming frequency. That’s fine, he was doing his job and had I told him to quit calling I am sure he would have.

So, why is my unhappy wife making me unhappy? My wife is unhappy because cost is not a major issue. We want what we want. We want a large room with a balcony. That was explained to Mr. Stephenson. I was fully prepared to book a Category 12 Suite. Mr. Stephenson pushed a Category 11 for a variety of reasons including spectacular views and greater privacy than a Category 12 would offer. I trusted him and accepted his recommendation. We started to book the cruise. He assigned me cabin V27. I told him I did not think so. He asked why. I told him I had found comments on the Internet that cabins V23, V25, V27, V34, V38 and V42 had obscured views. I also did not want cabins V1, V2, V3 and V4 because people on deck could look straight into the cabin. He said none of that was true. He said there was no way Carnival would offer a high-priced cabin with an obscured view. He said only “cheap” cabins had obscured views. I told Mr. Stephenson I was still concerned and if there was any possibility the cabin view was going to be obscured I want a Category 12. He asked me to trust him and I did. The Internet travel agents recommend against this cabin but, after all, Mr. Stephenson is Carnival and who should know this ship better.

April 19th brought a beautiful day in Los Angeles. The weather was perfect. April 19th brought any excellent breakfast on the Queen Mary. April 19th brought an excellent boarding process. April 19th brought cabin V27 with a lifeboat and a “Zodiac-type” boat hanging outside the railing of the cabin. Now, in my mind that is an obscured view. My wife was not happy but decided she was not going to allow this to mess up her vacation. After all, the balcony was still there and she could take a glass of wine out there and read. That was not to be. On two separate days she tried that and on those two separate days happy merry workers deciding it was timely to work on the “Zodiac” joined her. That may be Mr. Stephenson’s concept of spectacular views and greater privacy but it was not hers.

Spending a few more dollars would have given us what we wanted and, I stress, I was fully capable and prepared to spend those few dollars. Following Mr. Stephenson’s advice gave us essentially the same thing as an Ocean View Stateroom and that would have been a lot less money. My wife did not get what she wanted, she is unhappy. She is unhappy so I am unhappy.

Compounding my displeasure was a lack of interest on the part of Carnival. Two letters to Carnival’s Corporate Offices brought no response. We still intend to take a Trans-Canal cruise in September. We may opt to cruise with Carnival but that is somewhat problematic. We are not being particularly fair to the Ecstasy or to Carnival as a carrier. We are affected by the less than pleasant experience we had on this last cruise. It was not the ship. It was not the service. It was my fault. I trusted Carnival – I trusted Mr. Stephenson. But, then, Carnival has also shown their apathy. That will not happen again.

Perception is reality. Perception says Mr. Stephenson is Carnival. Perception says Carnival cheated me. Perception says that Carnival does not care. Perception says my wife is unhappy. Reality says I am unhappy.

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