“Apparently with Carnival, the passenger does not always come first”

carnival destinyKristen Hernandez thought she’d found a bargain on the Carnival Breeze next month. Or, to be more precise, she thought her travel agent had found one.

She booked two separate balcony cabins for her 8-night Eastern Caribbean cruise for $3,440 each.

Turns out she and her travel agent were wrong.

“After researching the Internet, we found out that Carnival Cruise Lines had slashed the prices due to the fact of the many mishaps,” she says. “Yesterday I went online on the Carnival website and found out that the balcony cabins are now selling for $2,319. That is a difference of over $1,100 per cabin.”
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Kicked off my cruise for getting sick

carnival ecstasyQuestion: We were recently scheduled to sail on a seven-day Carnival cruise to Mexico. A few minutes after we boarded in Long Beach, Calif., I had horrible kidney pains. I couldn’t walk, and felt as if I was going to pass out.

My husband immediately took me to the medical doctor on board. He performed an ultrasound and I asked for something for the pain. All of a sudden he said you need to get off the ship because you have a kidney infection. Within two minutes we had three Carnival employees rushing us to get our bags and they escorted us off the ship.

All the while, I could barely walk. One of the employees told me not to worry, that I could cruise at a “later date.” Everything happened so fast. I was never given a choice of whether to stay on board or not.
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Did Carnival do enough for these Destiny passengers?

gary yim /
gary yim /

Frank and Lucy Pirri are unhappy with their cruise on the Carnival Destiny, and they’re even more unhappy with how the cruise line responded to their complaint.

Sound familiar? Given Carnival’s recent Triumph troubles, it probably does.

But this wasn’t a short island-hopper with a bad ending. We’re talking 18 days in Europe, which was “poorly planned and poorly executed” from start to finish, says Frank Pirri.

How so? Let’s count the ways. (Warning: laundry list ahead.)
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What to expect if you’re expecting to cruise

Bryan and Fola Nelson were excited about their upcoming five-night Bahamas cruise on the Carnival Fascination. It was to be their last vacation before the birth of their first child.

Then, not long before their scheduled departure, Carnival delivered some bad news: Not only would Fola Nelson be denied boarding, but the cruise line would also pocket her entire fare, minus port taxes.
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The ship sailed, but they didn’t

At the dock without my glasses. / Photo by bimiers – Flickr Creative Commons.
When Antonia Giannasca called Carnival Cruise Lines this year to book a vacation to Mexico for her extended family, the sales representative assured her that she had all the travel documents necessary to board the ship.
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“We paid for a seven-night cruise and only got six”

Rina and Hasan Subhani disembarked from their cruise on the Carnival Glory with a sinking feeling. Along with a litany of complaints, one rises above the rest: The couple feels they were cheated from a day of their vacation.

“We paid for a seven-night cruise,” says Rina Subhani. “We got only six nights.”
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Yuck! Carnival served me dinner with a side order of chewing gum

Maybe I should have had the mashed potatoes instead?
When Marilyn Sweeney bit into a serving of sweet potato casserole during her seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor she tasted something unusual. It was rubbery, with a faint mint flavor.

“I did not recognize it at first,” she says. “I thought it was food.”

It wasn’t. It was chewing gum. Used chewing gum.
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Their passports sailed to the Bahamas, but they didn’t

Anne Newman’s holiday cruise from Baltimore to the Bahamas on the Carnival Pride got off to the worst start possible when two members of her party — her brother and father — were left standing at the dock because of a paperwork problem.

No, they didn’t bring the wrong birth certificate. Instead, they had inadvertently packed their travel documents in their bags and checked them.

Newman wants to be compensated for their denied boarding, and she wants me to help her.
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Smoked out of my suite on the Carnival Miracle

Andrew Besterman’s eight-day cruise to the Bahamas on the Carnival Miracle was something short of divine. For the duration of the journey, he was annoyed by the odor of cigarette smoke which seeped into his mini-suite from the cabin next door.

“Every time the passengers in the next stateroom lit up their cigarettes the smoke came into our room,” he says. “Since our bed shared a common wall, we could tell exactly when our neighbors smoked.”

A few days after his cruise, Carnival tightened its smoking policy, banning smoking in all staterooms. But alas, not in time for his vacation.
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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.
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Can this trip be saved? “This was the worst vacation any of us have ever taken”

Whenever I get complaint like Ashish Kapila’s, my first reaction is, “Oh no, not another laundry list.”

Companies almost never respond to laundry lists, because they look like pointless rants. (I always advise picking the most egregious offense, and focusing on it.)

But then I read Kapla’s litany of complaints against Carnival. And I understood why she couldn’t decide which part of her cruise was the worst. The whole thing was bad.

“This was the worst vacation any of us have ever taken,” she told me. “I have been on several cruises on Carnival and other lines, as have the others in our party, and none of us have ever seen something like this.”

What was so bad about it?
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The Travel Troubleshooter: My fiancé walked out on me — can I get a refund for my cruise?

Question: I was supposed to be going on a cruise for my honeymoon. Then my fiancé — make that my former fiancé — walked out on me. I came home to the house that we both owned together to find all of his stuff gone and a letter not explaining anything except that he didn’t want to get married.

The reason I am writing is that I called Carnival to cancel the cruise and was told that even considering the circumstances, I can’t get any money back, except taxes. Can you please help me with this? — Jennifer Tomes, San Antonio, Texas

Answer: I’m sorry this happened to you. On top of the pain of having your fiancé walk out on you just before your wedding day, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing your honeymoon.
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The Travel Troubleshooter: Can this cruise be salvaged?

Question: We need your help with a Carnival cruise that went nowhere. Earlier this year, we booked a Western Caribbean cruise directly through Carnival, including airfare and shore excursions.

On the day we were supposed to travel, our nightmare began. Our plane was delayed because of mechanical problems. So was the next flight. We missed the boat in Miami.

We wanted to reschedule the cruise, but Carnival suggested that we catch up with the ship in the Cayman Islands. We had to pay for new tickets to the Caymans. But when we arrived in Miami, a Carnival representative asked us for passports — and we only had passport cards.

We had to turn back to Cleveland. There were more mechanical delays. We made a claim with our travel insurance, but were only reimbursed $500 per person. Carnival says they should be able to give us something for the missed cruise but said we first had to fill out the insurance claim.

We booked the cruise, shore excursions, balcony upgrade and the missed flight all through Carnival. We want a vacation and we don’t have the money because Carnival is holding us hostage. Could you help us? — Denise Frantz, Cleveland

Answer: This cruise just wasn’t meant to be. But it might have been — if you’d gotten a passport instead of a passport card.
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