I had a real shock and surprise these past couple of days! Let me give you some background first. For the past two years I have been booking my cruises at this Kiosk in a popular mall here in Orlando. It was called the Carnival Vacation Center. Although, soon after I booked my first cruise with them (on the Inspiration back in 2005) they no longer were owned by Carnival. They changed their name to Our Vacation Center. Although they did keep using the name "Carnival Vacation Center" on the phone and elsewhere. And they still kept the kiosk looking unchanged, with large 9' replica of a red, white, and blue Carnival smokestack fin. Anyway, I have been doing business with them, and was quite satisfied. I booked two cruises with them (one on the Inspiration in 05' and one on the Glory last year). I had just booked a cruise with them on the Triumph in November (3 months away). Anyway, things were looking just fine. I wanted to get in touch with them to tell them my credit card # had changed. There is this pretty blond agent that works there that I dealt with. Just a few days ago I was running some errands at the mall, I planned to stop by the Kiosk to talk to this agent. Just as I was heading over to the Kiosk to talk to her, she past by me in the hallway. She told me her shift has ended. So, I told her I would get back with her. So, in order not to miss her next time, a couple days ago, I called ahead on my cellphone to see if she was there. I got there answering machine instead. So I left a message (which was never returned). Then Saturday, I got off work early, so I phoned ahead to tell them I might stop over. Same answering machine. So, I just showed up at the mall.
Oh....Yes, that's right.......You guessed it! It was as if that Kiosk never existed!
That Kiosk, which was such a fixture in that mall for three or more years, was gone. At first I thought I was loosing my mind! Maybe I was in another part of the mall and was expieriencing a total "Senior Moment". Although I am in my middle 30s, so I didn't think I had ALzheimer's. I knew it was there. Then I looked across and saw that herbal tea bar, which that agent showed me one day. I then knew I was in the right spot. So I ask the people at the tea bar and they said "Oh yeah, that agent told us yesterday that it was going to be her last day. Then this morning they (mall maintanance) tore down the kiosk". I tried to call them using my cellphone; once again I get their answering machine. So, I left another message which was never returned.
This morning I called the headquarters of this travel agency (which is in Phoenix). I talked to someone explaining what happened. He was as surprised as I was. But he looked up my information on his computer and he told me everything was OK and on track for my cruise in November. Should I believe him? I didn't tell him about my credit card # change just in case. Next week they might make charge the final payment to my expired credit card #, in which there will be a problem.
So, since I paid for this cruise with my credit card, I shouldn't worry if this travel agency goes belly-up. If so, do you think I can deal directly with Carnival and they will accept my payments? I would really hate to loose this cruise. Should I contact Carnival now?
I would definitely contact Carnival. I do hope you have a booking number. I would not trust my credit card information to the "main" office, give it to a reputable travel agency with your booking number or Carnival directly (prefferably the latter). Best wishes and I hope all turns out NOT to be a scam.
Frase.. see the discussion on PVP's in the carnival topic and call one of those and ask them to verify your booking. (Do you have a reservation #?) If you are still booked, ask the PVP to take your new card number for your account so that you don't miss final payment. Better to be safe than sorry.
Just an update: I called Carnival. Everything looked OK on their computers. Of course, they have not received final payment, because I won't have to submit it until next week. The Carnival vacation specialist (or similar words) on the phone said I must deal with this travel agency I booked the cruise with. I must submit the final payment to this travel agency based in Phoenix (not Carnival). And if this travel agency in Phoenix dissapears like it's local branch here in Orlando, the vacation specialist said that "Carnival will look into it". So I just have to keep my fingers crossed. I suppose I have some protection since I paid with credit card. I was able to complete the "Fast Pass" at the Carnival website online. So maybe that is a good sign. The website also lets you now complete the Sail-n-Sign application on-line. But only if your cruise fare is paid in full (which is not the case with me). Hopefully it will be soon.
Frase, as long as Carnival confirmed that they have your reservation and deposit, you're ok. They'll contact the travel agency you used and ask someone to get in touch with you. If the whole agency you've been using has gone completely out of business, Carnival will finish the process with you directly. Your reservation is not in danger; they're just trying to keep the travel agency of record involved if possible.
I have a sneaking suspicion I know who this travel agency is. If my suspicions are right then they are a legitimate travel agency. However; I have never liked this travel agency because I believe they operate in a somewhat unethical way. They are the same travel agency that has been operating on the Carnival ships selling the very controversal Carnival Vacation Club. They also are the agency you would deal with if you called the 800# on the Carnival credit card. The fact that they closed the kiosk probably only means it wasn't a profit center for them.