Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Fascination
Sailing Date: October 16th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Where do I begin? I am so disappointed in
Carnival cruise lines that I am barely through the door and find the need to
immediately get the disappointment off of my chest!
We just returned this morning from a cruise to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. I can not believe the level of dysfunction of the staff and crew and lack of care for Carnival's passengers. My husband and I have been on two other cruises before. The best by FAR was Royal Caribbean. I came home from that cruise bragging to everyone that would listen about the amazing food, service, and crew onboard. In a stark contrast, I am home from my Carnival cruise on this site ready to warn anyone who will listen about the major problems involved when booking a Carnival cruise!
Food: Horrible! That is the only word that comes to mind when thinking of the mass of overcooked, undercooked, bland, tasteless, poor quality food that was served to us for five days! During our first dinner on night one, I ordered what sounded like a very nice dinner. It is a shame that it turned out to be overcooked, under seasoned, and made from poor quality food. I thought to myself, "Self, it might just be a bad night, give it another shot tomorrow." Well, so much for trying to be positive. Everyday got worse. The formal night was exciting, because I knew that they were serving lobster. I couldn't wait to receive it. When it came out, it looked as if the fishermen had raided a mutant midget lobster camp full of two inch long shrimp disguised as lobsters. I am from Florida and have NEVER seen a lobster this small before! They had to go out of their way to find lobsters this small. Is this candid camera? Am I on PUNKed? Is Ashton Kutcher going to come out from the galley and say, "Man, I really pulled the wool over your eyes!" Nope, this is actually my dinner, and my snack sized lobster is even laughing at me!
Service: On night one of the cruise, we ran into some turbulent water immediately as we were being seated for dinner. I could not sit through the whole dinner, so I asked my waiter to send my dinner to my room with my husband when he was finished (this is what Royal Caribbean had thoughtfully done for me when the same thing happened on their cruise, while attaching a note to my dinner that they hoped that I felt better). My waiter actually chuckled as he said that the passengers could not be trusted to bring hot dishes into their rooms, because they will spill the contents all over the room. Now, I do not know what kind of crazy hillbilly toothless idiots he has served in the past, but I happen to have all of my teeth, and was planning on using them to eat my meal, not throw it on the wall! Also, the next morning while trying to find Bogart's cafe on the Promenade deck for coffee, I asked one of the crew members of the Latin persuasion where Bogart's was. He said that they had yogurt on the Lido deck. I said, "No-BOGART'S cafe!" He said, "Yes, yogurt on Lido." I just gave up, and could not believe that they had so many crew members (because there were many) that could not even communicate in our nation's language. This had been the sixth crew member that I had asked about this cafe, and NONE of them knew what the heck I was referring to. THEY ALL WORK ON THIS SHIP EVERYDAY, MIND YOU! They all looked at me as if I had aliens crawling out of my ears, and actually looked at me like I made the whole cafe up.
Tipping: This was the craziest thing I have ever heard of! I am a fine print reader (thank goodness), because after reading the fine print I come to find out that they are pre-charging me and my husband $40 each for the week for gratuity for service that we have not yet received. It also states that you cannot contest the gratuity until the night before the cruise ends (when they know you are busy packing, and can't be bothered with such stupidity). The reason this is such a terrible idea, is because the crew knows that you are most likely not going to find out until it is too late, or that you will feel too embarrassed to ask them to take the ridiculous $80 gratuity off of your bill! Due to these reasons, they give you lackluster service the entire cruise, and do not understand the value of a work ethic, because they know they will get paid most likely, anyway. Call me crazy, demented, or slow, but isn't gratuity something that you honor someone with of your own discretion? When did tipping become a forced action? EXCUSE ME? You must be kidding! The comment card at the end of the cruise asks for anyone on the crew that went out of their way to serve us. I honestly could not think of one person on the whole cruise that went out of their way for us even one time. Royal Caribbean, on the other hand, went out of their way continuously for us, and as a result, their staff received well deserved high tips for everything from us!
Good things: I have to acknowledge the good on this trip, because I feel that everything should have a balance. The rooms were great. We had a large picture window in our ocean view stateroom, and the beds were to die for! Feather top beds, with duvet covers made it difficult not to nap continuously. Very relaxing! Flat screen TVs and excellent movie selections on the down time. Also, our tour to the Mayan Ruins had the best tour guide of any tour that we had ever been on (and we travel extensively!) Even though the tour guide is not an employee of Carnival, the cruise line still gets credit for finding him and the tour group and hiring them as a shore excursion option. The calypso band was also excellent, and we enjoyed listening to them while sunning ourselves on the pool deck.
To conclude this disappointing review, I must say that I am not out to get Carnival. I do not want to ever have to post something bad about a business. I know a lot of work goes into a cruise line, but this cruise line is worth skipping. You really do get what you pay for. I would not recommend this cruise line to anyone in the free world...maybe to a mutant midget lobster, but where would I find such a thing?