If CCL hater had a clue about traveling, he would know that this very same letter can (and has been) written about every single cruise line out there. From the cheapest to the most expensive.
It is to bad that the few valid complaints won't ever get addressed, because he chose to write such a childish letter. Carnival does what any company does when they get a letter from someone with a starfish up their fanny....
Originally posted by Gabbie247:
Hi all, I am going to be a first time cruiser...yippeee!! I am set to sail out of New Orleans on the Carnival Fantasy in Mid Febraury. I have a couple of questions?
What do I need to pack, I do not want to over pack?
Pack a swimsuit, some shorts and t-shirts and business casual for non-formal nights (a suit orSunday dress for formal night) A tux is not required.
Do I need to bring my own shampoo, conditioner, bath soap and towels?
Shampoo, soap and towels...no Conditioner, yes!
Is the food really free and is included with the price of the cruise?
Everything in the formal dining room, on Lido (buffet, deli, pizza, hamburgers/hot dogs, ice cream by the pool) or listed as Room Service is included. The food that cost extra is on the Promenade at the coffee shop. (Speciality coffees and desserts) Sushi is free. In the formal dining room, you can order as many entrees as you like. You are not limited to one lobster! You can actually get an expresso or cappicino in the formal dining room for free where it will cost you extra on the Promenade.
Do I have to dress for formal night, if I don't want to do I have to stay in my room? No. A suit is nice, but dress pants, shirt and tie will pass for guys and a sundress for ladies.
Are they shopping areas close and in walking distance from the ship (Cozumel)?
Yes, you should dock at Punta Langosta. (Carlos and Charlies is at the end of the pier)
Downtown is to the left and an easy walk.
When is the best time to book a cruise?
Generally any time that school is in session, the rates will be cheaper.
How does the tipping work? Do they give you a card when you first board that you use, and they tally everything at the end of the cruise?
They will charge your Sail and Sign card $10.00 per person per day at the very beginning of the cruise. Some people tip more, but it is not required. Your drinks have a 15% tip added it when you purchase them. While Room Service is free, it is customary to tip a dollar or two when they bring it to your cabin.
Is the food really good on the ship?
I don't do buffets. But the formal dining room is good for the price you pay for a Carnival cruise. It will not be 5 star, but you will get your money's worth!!
Pizza, deli etc are good!!
Is it best to use a travel agent like ancors away when planning a cruise?
If you have not traveled much, I would recommend using a TA that you can talk to face to face. Now that we have been cruising since Moby Dick was a tadpole, we book directly with our PVP. But a face to face TA does not cost you anything and they are very helpful!!
Thanks for all you help, I really appreciate it. I am so EXCITED!! Now, if there are any tips you have for me, please feel free to leave them.
You can carry on your own soda and water. We always carry on a couple of 12 packs. The Security guys will look at it just to make sure it isn't beer.
Porters will expect $1 a bag tip when you give them your luggage. We love the New Orleans terminal because you literally park right on top of where you check in. If it is pouring rain, you don't get wet!!!
We have sailed on the Fantasy 4 times (3 times last year alone). A great ship with a wonderful staff and crew.
Relax. Make sure you have a passport. Make sure you have a "load list" to make sure everything important gets loaded into the car.
Originally posted by Dave Beers:
Come along on the cruise-chat member cruise! It is on Carnival! A really great cruise line for those who appreciate great food and service!
I would but you folks always book them when I have to take my son back to college!!!!!
Speaking of oldest son in college (chemical engineering), we are so excited. He got offered a year long co-op after his Junior year ( he is currently a Sophomore) from Eastman (parent corp of Eastman-Kodak) in Kingsport, Tn. Salary plus a $2,000 scholarship for his Senior year PLUS if he does a good job and he likes what he is doing...a job after he graduates!!!!
YEAH!!! Since we have instilled the love of cruising in him, he will need a good job to support his habit!!
I'm sorry you felt so mistreated by Carnival. I read your letter in it's entirety as well as the reply. It sounds to me like cruising may not be the right choice for your vacation needs. Starting with what you refer to as hidden costs, they actually are not hidden at all. If you take a flight from any airport in the world that I'm familliar with the Port Authority of that city regulates the cost of parking at their facility. The exact same Port Authority regulates parking costs at the piers you will have to park at and cruise from unless you have someone drop you off.
Embarkation, newer ships are better designed to handle the masses that have a limited time to board the ship. The time is not limited by choice. The ship arrives early in the morning and must have the passengers from the previous sailing out of the cabins to be cleaned, luggage and people off so they can get the passengers on for the ships next sailing. A ship is not a ballpark where thousands of people can exit from dozens or hundred of exits. Each one must go through the Customs check-point. It sometimes goes smoothly and sometimes it takes more time. Considerate and patient passengers can really speed the process up.
Gratuities are a part of cruising and although I don't agree with the way the conversation was haldled so bluntly at the Pursers desk the information they were providing needed to be explained. If you travel RCCL or any other line, "I'm not prepared financially to cover these costs" is not a reason to withhold these. Gratuities can infact be adjusted. they are adjusted for things like the cabin steward not performing thier duties and keeping you bed made, wet towels picked up. You dining staff not proving acceptable service and ignoring you at dinner, etc. They are in such cases adjusted at the end of the cruise if you make known during the cruise that these issues exist and they fail to resolve them. Otherwise it is necessary to pay gratuities to the staff that takes such fine care of your cabin and you in the dining room. If not it really is stiffing the staff who's income is based on these tips. If they were not your cruise fare would be higher.
You certainly should have had drinks provided at the excursions, no excuse for people dehydrated during an excursion organized and offeres by the cruise line. But come on, It was hot and humid in Mexico was worthy of complaining about in a letter to Carnival?
Drink pricing is also a revenue source for the cruiselines, no doubt about it. You said you sell Red Bull for about $2. Do you have to pay delivery in bulk to the pier? Longshormen to load it onto the ship? Pier personel to stock it and have someone available on the pool deck, casino, dining facilities, room service, bars and lounges all over the ship to re-stock and get it in your hand. And then dispose of it from the ship in bulk, again have the waste handled by the Longshoremen and deliver it to a landfill as a portable dumpster won't quite cut it. Yes, your drink are costly onboard, they are on all ships. ever buy a hotdog at a ballgame? A soda at Disney World? A beer at a fine restaurant or class club? There are many plases drinks are overpriced. Most are places where you have limited choices or options to shop elsewhere when you get thirsty... like a ship or ballpark. Again, they could make all drinks free. Some cruiselines do. Sail next time with Silversea, Regent, SeaDream Yacht Club or a couple of others and even your Conjac single malt 25 year old scotch are on the house. SeaDream will even serve you caviar for free... if you want to call it free. You paid for it in the multiple thousand dollar per person rate that includes these amenities. Your cruise won't be a dollar cheaper if the make you Red Bull a quarter or free. That revenue will have to be made up in the cruise pricing. Just drink coffe, tea, water (not in a bottle), lemonade, fruit punch, milk, etc. and you'll have no bill for drinks at the end of your cruise.
After reading just the first paragraph of your letter above I understood why your travel counselor quit replying to your emails if they included the same language and tone. Were I your counselor I'd have recommended another agent or company rather than be subjected to a never ending barrage of complaints and insults.
The window cabin went up in price as they were selling so fast they couldn't even find you one? That's a shocker. Supply and demand drive cruise pricing. I had a friend buying massive amounts of Compaq Computer stock about 20 years ago when they were closing facilities here in Houston and it didn't look like they'd even survive as a company. I asked Jim, "Are you nuts?" You've sunk nearly your whole life savings into a company that may not be here tomorrow and their stock is plummeting daily? As it did he'd buy more. That stock 5 years later bought he and his wife the retirement home they'd always dreamed of but never thought they could afford. Cruise prices, like stocks are volitile. I've seen several hundred dollar swings on cabins in 24 hours. One corporation decides to take it's employees on a cruise as a bonus and that ship just got very expensive for the rest of us. Supply and demand, that simple.
Next time you vacation please save the cruiseline, the travel counselor, the ships staff and yourself a lot of grief. Get a hotel in the Rockies, Tahoe, some beach somewhere and don't cruise. Please!
Thank you for answering all my questions. I was wondering about the soda, if they can bring it on board with them ( I don't drink sodas. but I love tea and ice water). I am so ready for my cruise in february,,,,lol..only think is I have to go online and hunt for a swimsuit, since they are no longer in the stores here.,,but that is just a minor problem. I did apply for my passport last week! So I am about ready!!