Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Holiday
Sailing Date: December 30th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
We were ready for the vacation of our lifetime! My husband, Jeff, me, and our 6 children ranging in age from 17 to 8 arrived at Mobile cruise terminal at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 30th. That ship looked AWESOME! From the street! We waited in line in our van while security checked vehicles ahead of us. Finally, we get up to the security guard who hands us a piece of paper and says to read this. We are so excited and are going over our very last minute things like do you have this, do we have this, will we need such and such. The guy comes back to the window and asks if we have read our letter. Jeff says, no, what does it say? The guy says we need to read it as we are not going to be going to Cozumel. In fact, we are not going to Mexico period. Jeff begins to read, and I see all color drain from his face. He hands me the letter, which welcomes us to Carnival and then tells us we will not be going to Cozumel because they just that morning returned from Cozumel and found out they have a problem with the engine propulsion system. That will not allow us to cruise to Cozumel in the five day period, but we will still be cruising....on a cruise to NOWHERE!!
After about 3 hours to get through the whole check-in process we were allowed to board the ship. We found our rooms, glad they were right next to each other. They were very comfortable, small, cozy, and also clean! Our steward introduced himself, seemed like a nice young man. After placing our birth certificates and my purse in the safe in our room, we set out to explore this big ship. On entering the main deck, we had to go single file through a mob of people who were at the bar near the "big" pool. This is where we start our downhill slide. The stench of alcohol and smoke was so strong I had to hold my breath while I fought to get through all of the people. It smelled as if they had broken open a keg or something. It was awful. The pool in our view seemed pretty small, although it did have what looked like a fun waterslide. We walked on past this to the "teen deck". There we found a broken basketball hoop, a slouching volleyball net, and shuffleboard. Wow. At the next railing, we looked below to see what appeared to be a hot-tub, but I think it really was a swimming pool. It appeared to be about 4-5' deep, it was round, it was dry. There was a fishing-type net hanging over it. We assumed it must be out of order. Then the next railing led us to the children's deck. There was a really cute fish-shaped pool, approximately 2' deep, dry. We were stunned.
We walked around a bit more, went to the front of the ship. Went back to our room and asked our steward how far we would be sailing south. He did not know. Would the pools be filled or are they broken? He did not know. He suggested we call 9000 to get ship information. My husband did this as I was now crying. Jeff asked how far we would sail. The lady told him "well, since we have a gambling casino on board, by law we have to sail AT LEAST 3 miles off of the shore." At least 3 miles. "and because of the engine propulsion problem, we more than likely will not sail more than 20 miles". My husband hung up, and asked me what we should do. I asked him what could we do? He suggested that due to the looks on our faces, mine and the children's, and my husband's disappointment as well, he thought that since we were still in the port we should try to get off. That is exactly what we did. It took quite a time to do it, but we finally managed to get 5 of our 6 bags back. We were given a handwritten "receipt" that said we were entitled a refund since we cancelled due to itinerary change. We also got our $40 parking money back.
Since then, we have received a full refund, including our prepaid gratuities and our vacation insurance for a total of $4,986. I'm very upset with Carnival as I feel the same as several other passengers that Carnival has known about it's engine problems for quite some time now, and didn't take the time to cancel anybody's cruise and fix the problem properly, therefore, it became my family's problem. I feel lucky to have gotten my cruise money back from them, but at the same time, I'd love to be able to get back all of the money I spent on my trip. It was definitely a vacation experience I'd never like to repeat! All 6 of our children have sworn off future family vacations. To top off my story, our transmission went out of our van on our way back to Iowa. I don't think I'd ever trust Carnival again. Like I told a friend, I can plan just as well as the next person, but I didn't have a plan B for this trip as I didn't expect Carnival Cruise Line to leave me hanging like this.