I have an ongoing concern and yet to obtain a satisfactory resolution in recouping a refund. I first cruised on the Carnival Legend on March 28 April 4, 2010 with my sister Danella McNeal. Being that I reside in Gautier, Mississippi I drove six hours to Jacksonville, Florida to meet my sister then we travelled an additional three and a half hours to Tampa, Florida to board the Legend. Boarding the ship I had my drivers license and social security card. I am not sure what documentation my sister had at the time however, we were allowed to board with no issue and had a tremendously wonderful time. So much so that we decided to book the same cruise the following year and bring our spouses as a surprise.
Early January, 2011 I logged onto the Carnival site and expressed interest in booking the Carnival Legend 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise from March 27- April 3, 2011 for myself and my husband. A representative by the name of ****called me and I agreed to book the cruise with her. I expressed that I travelled upon the same vessel to the same locations during the same time the previous year and that although my sister booked her tickets through a military source, I would like to ensure we were seated at the same table for dinner time. **** stated she would need to verify some information first and was able to ensure we would dine together.
On January 12, 2011 I attempted to pay for the tickets. I received four payment decline emails. There were complications with $1780.00 being debited from my account in one lump sum due to daily limitations set forth by my financial institution; I submitted a request asking the daily limit be raised as **** suggested. Later I would learn that the option to properly pay over time was available, however just not mentioned to me.****understood the situation and over the course of the next few days I paid $1780.00 using credit and debit cards. Each time a payment was posted **** would call me and advise of the remaining balance and despite playing phone tag the balance was paid. Upon the final I did not receive payment confirmations and did not think it unusual because she and I had been in constant communication and I definitely had documentation from my bank and credit card showing the charges. Upon the final payment being posted I was able to access my booking.
I accessed the site to view excursions. I never heard from Elizabeth again until I received the Bon Voyage email on March 20, 2011, stating it was a pleasure assisting me and to be sure to refer her to my friends and family.
My husband and I travelled from Gautier, Mississippi to Jacksonville, Florida picked up my sister and her husband. That night at 11:53pm in excitement we logged on to the Carnival site to discuss excursion options yet again. I noticed the fun pass section and printed it out -thinking it had something to do with possibly obtaining free drinks or discounts, after all I had not needed a pass to board the cruise last year. We attempted to log back into the site a little after midnight and noticed our bookings were gone. After calling customer service, it was explained that the booking goes away the day of the cruise. There was still no logical explanation for this and seem to be no concern being that our information was still in the main data base. The only down side seemed to be that my sister had not been able to print fun pass which in our minds meant no discounts or free drinks for them.
We travelled to Tampa, Florida. My husband and I were turned away because we did not have passports or birth certificates! We had our Drivers Licenses and Social Security Cards just as I had been able to board with the year prior. The agents at the gate asked if we had fun passes, which we did. They called supervisors and the final word was that we could not board with the identification we had. They expressed that Homeland Security had enhanced restrictions over the past 11 months and that others were turned away despite having faxed hospital Birth Certificates. I suppose sharing this information with us was meant to convey empathy; however it only incited me more. I began thinking this must be some sort of scam.
My sister and her husband, being active military, had their passports but no fun passes. They were allowed to board. After tearful deliberation my husband and I convinced my sister and her husband to board the ship.
I called Carnival Customer Service the same day and expressed my concern as well as requested to recoup my funds. I was told despite the documentation that was accepted last year and the communication I had with the booking agent, it was my responsibility to check the site for the list of acceptable documentation. I was also advised that the notes on the account stated Elizabeth told me what documentation was needed; this is not true. I asked to submit a request to have the audio of the conversation retrieved.
Throughout the week that followed I spoke with about five different representatives. I was told since I did not elect to purchase the insurance I would not be able to have anything but the taxes refunded; no one else will tell me anything differently; there were no managers available to take my call, I would have to contact another department; no one has direct phone extensions. During one conversation I was on hold for a supervisor for over sixteen minutes then the call was disconnected.
I called yet again on April 2, 2011 to inquire about the status of the recording and resolution. After speaking with two customer service representatives and one supervisor, I was told there were no notes other than my initial call on March 27, 2011. After reliving the situation so many times during my scheduled vacation, it was like a slap in the face to be told only one call was documented.
(When I shared this point of view with one rep, she told me no one made me relive it, that I chose to share the information on my own). The supervisor assured me she would check the status of the call retrieval and contact me on April 4, 2011. I truly hope this occurs but I have little faith it will.
At this point I am beyond concerned. Carnival is supposed to be a trusted name, yet I feel like I have conducted business with a back alley salesman.
I do understand that I elected not to purchase the insurance that would allow 80% of my payment to be refunded in the event of cancellation. However, I also am aware that Carnival did no lose money because of my booking. Up until four days before the cruise there were still rooms available. I am asking that at least 75%, $1335.00 of my payment be refunded.