Carnival kicks mother and son off Christmas cruise

This is Rebecca Dickerson and her son, Jordan. A few days ago, they were cruising to the Bahamas on the Carnival Fascination. But last week, they were removed from the ship in a “shocking” turn of events, according to Rebecca Dickerson.

Their nightmare began shortly after boarding the vessel on Dec. 10 in Jacksonville, Fla. On the first day, Dickerson reports that her room was burglarized.

Her son picks up the story,

We obtained door key card documents showing that someone had been going in and out of my mother’s room without authorization, both when she was out of the room and attempting to get in when she was sleeping in the room. I myself witnessed an employee attempting to override the deadbolt on my mother’s door and enter while she was asleep.

Despite of the blatant evidence, the ship’s crew covered for all of their coworkers, and we were ultimately blamed for everything.

My mom was moved to place a chair in front of her door to feel somewhat safe at night. When she voluntarily told this to the second in command of the ship – the captain’s right hand man – she was told that she was in violation of the ship’s rules, and she was chastised in front of crew and passengers.

The Dickersons reported the incident to local police when they arrived in the Bahamas, which made the ship’s security personnel “very angry,” according to Jordan Dickerson.

And that’s when they were removed.

The Nassau police came on board, but upon the initiation of filing a report, the ship’s second-in-command told us that we were being thrown off of the ship, and put an end to the police interview.

It was obvious to us that we were not given the opportunity to exercise our rights in filing a police report. We were forced off of the ship in a different country with nowhere to stay, no way to get home, and no information to go about doing so.

When we asked the ship’s senior security officer who delivered the news to us that we were being thrown off the ship, how we were to get back to the U.S., the second in command simply responded by saying “that’s not my problem.”

On several occasions, the Fascination’s security personnel mocked the Dickersons, they say. At one point during the dispute, the ship also cut off the passenger’s line of credit, preventing them from being able to buy basic necessities.

“We were stuck on a ship with no allies, no justice, and no way to purchase something as simple as Tylenol or water — all because the people in authority on the ship seemed to rule the vessel with an iron fisted Napoleon complex,” Jordan Dickerson told me.

Carnival’s side

I checked with Carnival on Friday and it filled in some of the missing details. Here’s what a representative had to say about the Dickersons:

When Ms. Dickerson reported that her wallet was stolen, normal procedures were followed including an investigation by the shipboard security team, completion of a formal report, examination of lock link readings and a search of her cabin with her permission.

The comprehensive cabin search did not turn up the wallet. A lock link reading produces a record of every time a cabin is entered and what key card was used to access the cabin. The reading indicated that the only keys used to access the cabin were hers and her cabin steward’s.

Ms. Dickerson requested that for the remainder of her cruise, no one access her cabin other than herself. Shipboard team members were advised accordingly.

Later that day, she informed the shipboard staff that she found her wallet under a towel on her bed. She indicated that everything was intact other than $250. She insisted that someone must have re-entered the cabin to return the wallet but kept the $250.

Another lock link reading was done which clearly demonstrated that she was the only person who had accessed her cabin between the time the cabin search was done and when she allegedly discovered the wallet. When presented with the lock link documentation, she aggressively snatched it from a staff member and stuffed it in her cleavage.

Throughout the situation, Ms. Dickerson was repeatedly profane, vulgar and abusive towards the staff.

The level of profanity and verbal abusiveness escalated to a point where the ship’s captain made the decision to disembark Ms. Dickerson during a scheduled port call in Nassau.

Despite her extremely inappropriate behavior having been the root cause of her disembarkation in Nassau, in the interest of exceptional customer care, Carnival covered the cost of flights home for her and her son.

OK, slightly different story. I asked the Dickersons to review Carnival’s rebuttal. Rebecca Dickerson responded:

Sadly, but not surprising, they appear to be choosing to assassinate my character rather than dealing responsibly and professionally with me.

Please know the only reason I have pursued this complaint and was compelled to file a police report was due to this type of bullying behavior.

I ensured them all that I was not at all concerned about the missing cash. Apparently, I should have been grateful that my items were returned, even though they would not take one ounce of responsibility and instead accused me of this whole matter.

At that time, I informed them that it was my responsibility to file a police report with Bahama authorities given Carnival’s gross indifference toward customer safety. Little did I know that I would be punished for exercising my rights.

At no time was I abusive, vulgar or profane against staff. This is blatantly false and obviously a juvenile attempt to deflect responsibility by the onboard personnel who in fact were abusive to me and my son, laughing in our faces regarding this stressful situation, suspending my purchasing privileges without telling me, and finally kicking us off the ship immediately after Nassau police came on board to investigate and invite me to file a police report at the local station.

This infuriated David Perinciola, staff captain. After the police left my cabin area, Mr. Perinciola said “you are off this ship”. Within a few minutes, security Rajendra Negi and James Desouza returned to my cabin with Carnival letters stating we were being evicted from ship and prevented from ever taking another Carnival cruise.

We were in shock to be treated in such a manner as a result of our wanting to file a police report. When I asked these Carnival security members how my son and I were to get home to the states, they told me that is “not their problem”.

Thankfully, the Nassau police and the Ministry of Tourism were not amused by the behavior of Carnival personnel. The chief of police immediately got on the phone to the ship’s agent and demanded that they (Carnival) take responsibility to take care of us while in Nassau and get us home safely.

We have been assured by the Nassau authorities that this incident is being escalated and are continually corresponding with me. It was at that point in time that Carnival accepted my calls and arranged for travel back to Nashville.

Regardless of whose side you believe, I think we can all agree that no one wanted it to end this way. This had been the Dickersons’ Christmas present to themselves, and they ended up stranded in a foreign country. And Carnival must be unhappy, too. No one needs this kind of PR.

The Dickersons have contacted me to see if I can mediate their dispute, but I’m not sure whether my involvement will help. I could ask Carnival to refund their fare, but given the cruise line’s account of what happen, I’m not sure if it will budge.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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