My wife and I just finished our first Cruise on the Carnival Glory from May14-May 21. It was a new and exciting experience for us. I am sure in the days ahead that you will get many E-mails and letters as a result of what happened at the beginning of our Cruise. I'm hoping and praying that you will not dismiss this e-mail, as just “one of those e-mails” and shrug off the contents of what I share.
As an author and a writer I tend to look at things from a different perspective. I see an opportunity for you as a company to not just “go” through the experience that happen to us but to “grow” through it, so that in the future you will have many happy and satisfied customers.
First off, I cannot say enough for the wonderful treatment we received from the Captain Crew and staff of the Glory. Not once, while we were on the boat did we ever pass a person who worked on the Glory, who did not greet us with a genuine warm smile and a greeting. You should be proud of the quality of workers that work aboard the Glory. They were always eager to serve and went out of their way to do everything they could help us in a professional and courteous way. Your super shopper Zara did indeed save us money once we got into port. The ship was spotless. Even with all its shiny surfaces, and glass everywhere, we never saw any dust, fingerprints, or dirt at any time. This is a miracle of housekeeping, with the thousands of people, constantly moving throughout the ship. The ship Glory truly did feel like our home away from home.
It was hard for us throughout our journey to reconcile what happened at the beginning of our journey at the terminal to the well-run procedures and policies of your company once we were on board your ship. Perhaps it was a fluke or a compilation of difficult circumstances and situations, but I thought it only right that I should contact you and share from my heart.
We had planned every detail of our Cruise for a long time and in our small way, had tried to anticipate changes that might take place and make contingency plans for that event. Stuffed into a front pocket of the bag we took to shore were some cheap rain coat ponchos in case it rained. It did rain at our first port-of-call as it does often on the Caribbean Islands and we were the envy of other fellow passengers who got soaked to the skin. I thought to myself: “It is to bad Carnival had not made these available to everyone on board with their logo on the front.” The island would have been filled with walking billboards advertising the company name and logo, and the people wearing them would have been thankful for the thoughtfulness of the company to provide them with such a simple, yet practical way to make their customers happy and dry. Even if they did not use them during the cruise they would use them at another time once they were home and again the company would receive free advertisement.
Just as we had plans for things that might happen I did not understand why Carnival did not have better contingency plans in place to handle the needs and comfort of the customers that were delayed in getting on the ship. I know from talking to others on board that you started well by taking some of them on buses to the beach, shopping and restaurants until they could board later. How I wish I could have been one of them as I was recovering from surgery at the time. We did not realize that when we sat down on the hard folding chairs in the terminal that we would be sitting there for over 7 hours. It was even worse for those who came behind us, whose only option was to sit on the floor.
There were so many elderly people sitting on the floor I feared for the health. I would never want my elderly father or mother to go through what many of those had to go through to get aboard a “fun ship”. It certainly was not fun while we were waiting. Of course none of us wanted to give up our spot to get on the ship as early, so we all suffered and waited together.
No one likes to wait. We feel powerless and abandoned when it happens. With the events that took place in your terminal we felt indeed like we were just stuck in your waiting room. Other ways to describe our experience would be to say “caught,” “trapped,” or “held hostage.” That is how we felt as we waited. Had we known how long it was going to take to clear the ship and get it ready for the next passengers we would have gladly delayed taking the transport and remained at Orlando Airport were we had access to comfortable seating, restaurants and shopping while we waited. A hastily thrown together brown bag sandwich, a bag of chips and a bottle of water was not the greatest start to the voyage. The terminal at the port has virtually, no facilities to handle long delays of ships coming in , either for food or seating for a large group of people. We began to question the wisdom of bringing us there and keeping us there, when your company had at least an 8 hour advance warning that this was going to happen!
There are many things that could have been done to make our wait better in the terminal. One of the worst things was the silence. Hour after hour of silence! Rose from your headquarters was indeed a light in a dark place and she should be highly praised. She walked virtually into a hornet’s nest of unhappy people, but she was hampered in what she was doing by the fact that she had no access to a loudspeaker, a megaphone or a sound system so that it was very difficult for people to hear what she was saying. Even if the musicians on board the ship had been brought off and played for the people in the terminal it would have made the wait to get on board at least an anticipated event. Many of the people as well were still in shock that they had lost going to their first port of call and all that was being compensated for was $50.00 per person.
David-first time cruiser