Yes, I have indisputable documentation that Carnival Cruise Lines steals from their customers. Perhaps before I get into that fact, I should explain two other serious issues and violations perpetrated by Carnival. I just got off the phone with the head of Carnival's customer relations and she told me that she could not possibly care less if I posted online what they did to my family and how they stole from me and now refuse to refund the money stolen when confronted.
First, are you aware that unless you wait in line for an hour or two during your cruise on Carnival and fill out forms in writing to the contrary, Carnival will charge you approximately $45 per day per passenger for tips? As each day passes, tips that have been charged from previous days are completely and totally non-refundable. I never was able to use their 'formal' dining room because the wait to get a table was well over an hour yet I graciously and generously tipped the staff there for their service to me.
Also, if you are extremely bored, feel free to go to Carnival's web page and read about using walkie talkies on board. It is completely allowed. However, upon returning to the ship at our first port of call security confiscated my youngest daughter's walkie talkie and refused to give her any receipt for taking it. I had to waste 2 hours waiting in line at customer services (pretty well the minimum time to get to speak with anyone there) and demand either my walkie talkie back or a receipt that they had it and that they would return it to me. I also asked WHY they took her walkie talkie when literally hundreds of passengers were using the same units each day. The response; the Captain allows security much leeway in deciding what they may do. After getting nowhere trying to get my walkie talkie back so I could keep track of my kids without being with them at all times I finally, after much heated debate, got them to give me a receipt stating that they had confiscated my walkie talkie and would return it to me as I 'debarked' the ship when back at port.
That is the minor issue I had with Carnival this time. I've cruised around 20 times and this was only the 2nd (and LAST) time I'll ever cruise with them. On 26 December 2012 at 4:12pm CST, my wife, son and I were laying out on a top deck while my daughters left the ship to shop in Montego Bay. This is when they had their walkie talkie and, while we were on the top of the ship, we could hear them fine while they were on shore just off the ship. At that exact time I noticed the hard covers were closing over the deck pool behind us. I thought nothing of it. Perhaps they were going to do maintenance on the pool or whatever. At 4:16pm CST it felt like it was sleeting hard on us. I sat up and discovered that we were being covered in chunks of hardened black soot. They picked that time to run scrubbers down their stacks to clean them!
Standing about 10 feet from me was a ship employee dressed all in white (I later discovered was the ship's chief engineer) so I got out of my lounge chair to ask what was going on. He only stared at me while using one hand to shield his eyes from the chunks of soot raining down on us. Since he would not utter a single word to us I took a picture of his name tag and quickly gathered our belongings and exited the deck. Our hair was full of hundreds of black chunks of soot. Our clothes were stained and covered with it. Our towels were nearly black with thousands of chunks on each towel. My wife and son began coughing as we got indoors as they had inhaled some of the soot particulates.
We immediately went down and wasted the mandatory 2 hours to get to customer services (this was before the walkie talkie ordeal) and complained. They first made a couple of calls and then denied they were doing anything and they didn't know what I was talking about. That is when I simply unrolled my beach towel on their counter, covering their keyboards and desk with thousands of chunks of black soot. Amazingly, they then made another phone call and said they were doing routine maintenance on their exhaust stacks. (no sh*t!) They said they were sorry and offered to launder our clothes and gave us 6 drink discount (not free drinks, but discounts). They said nobody in maintenance knew passengers were on deck. I said that was BS because one of their maintenance people stood there and watched us. When I showed them his picture with name tag, they told us he was the ship's chief engineer. Wonderful. Worse yet, one desk clerk let it slip that he speaks perfect English. He just opted not to speak with me on deck.
The final insult came at 4:30am as we were arriving at port. That is when I discovered that we had several hundred dollars worth of "gratuity" charges added to each room's bill; even though I tipped the people who served us. Between trying to get our walkie talkie back and waiting in line (was told it may be 4 or 5 hours long), we had to leave the ship and could not get to customer service. I got the walkie talkie back ONLY after producing the receipt I had and insisting that, no, I would not have them just mail it back to me. I figured I'd just call and get the tips I did NOT authorize taken off my bill when we got home. WRONG!
After wasting 2 hours more today, I found that Carnival Cruise Lines absolutely, positively refuses to refund tips charged to your account! WTF?!! As far up their chain of command I could go, they simply told me that it was "policy" and they NEVER return tips they charge. I reminded them that it was "policy" to allow the walkie talkie I had and they simply said it was up to security and the captain as to what policy they followed. Hmm, clearly this "policy" is simply a guideline and NOT something written in granite since they had already deviated from it with us. Still, I was literally told "NO, we are keeping the money" today. When I explained that I was willing to simply let it drop about them dumping a known carcinogen on us if they would simply give back the several hundred dollars they took from me in tips, they told me they really did not care what I did and under no circumstances would they return the money they'd taken from me.
I need not waste time telling you that we actually lost weight on the ship because it was difficult to get to food and, once there, it was of poor quality. As I said to begin, we have taken around 20 cruises. Each cruise seems to have less service than the cruise before. However, this takes the cake when Carnival steals hundreds from you and refuses to return it even after I gave names and amounts that I tipped workers who served us! I have to say that I highly recommend never considering a cruise on Carnival. I am seeking the services of an attorney concerning the cruise line dumping a known carcinogen on passengers with complete knowledge of doing so.__________________