This is an email thread that I had between a friend and myself regarding my troubles with Carnival. I recieved a letter response from Carnival, which was unacceptable. I then emailed my friend about their response (I have a scanner), cc'd a lot of other folks, and suddenly I got a second letter stating that their so called "just compensation" was fair. At this point I just want to warn folks not to allow Carnival to book flights for them, or you could end up just like me. Please read the following:
I felt that it is important to write to you in regard to the recent cruise experience my wife and I had starting July 8, 2006 aboard your Carnival Triumph ship. My recollection of events leading up to our cruise seemed to go quite smoothly. I let Carnival book my flights, set up the itinerary, and I even booked and prepaird my excursions well in advance of the cruise date. I appreciate that you were able to find a good discount for veterans, as it allowed for a better time on the ship for extra fun and purchases. I also appreciate that you were very receptive and returned my calls when you had time.
For the overall experience, I would have to currently rate this cruise as a 7 out of 10 due to a number of problems that continued for the first two days of our trip. The itinerary was booked such that we were to get to Miami Airport at 12:50PM, about 40 minutes prior to the two hour boarding window. The American Airline Flights to Miami were to change planes at the Chicago O' Hare Airport, with A/A Flight 1048 leaving at 8:46AM.
When we got off the plane from Cleveland to Chicago, we noted that the estimated departure of flight 1048 to Miami was delayed to 12:00 Noon. We had originally thought that perhaps bad weather in Miami would have delayed it, but we were to only flight on the listings that was delayed like that. When we got to the A/A gate for the next flight, we were informed that they were down for a maintenance, and that we needed to go find a standby flight if we wanted to get to Miami prior to 3:30PM. Keep in mind that 3:30PM is the final boarding call for the Carnival Triumph. We would not have made it in time.
It is unacceptable that they didn't even consider that we didn't have time to get an a standby "list" on overbooked flights. No one tried to prioritize and work to rebook the folks that were the victims of A/A flight 1048. My wife was upset and in tears, with the beginning of the adventure we had planned on so long becoming ruined. We had demanded a confirmed flight and wanted to get to the ship. They then transferred us to United Airlines flight 1474, which was to depart at 9:00AM (only 14 minutes past the original booking). The flight attendant put in a baggage change order, and mentioned that we needed to "run" to get to our connecting flight.
We had discovered that she was indeed correct! We had to leave Concourse H and find the proper gate in Terminal 1, which happened to be a good 20 minute run for us. Why they didn't find us a rolling coach, I still have no idea. We barely made it in time to board the plane. I ended up with shin splits! Go figure, I was wearing sandals for the cruise :-)
Once we had arrived in Miami, we made another discovery - our baggage did not make it with us. Not only that, when we arrived, there was no one from Carnival Cruise Lines waiting at the baggage carousel as was expected. I actually had to find someone by asking one of the Royal Carribean Cruise representatives. The Carnival Reps were located near the other end of the baggage claim area, apparently not expecting anyone to arrive.
Once I did get someone from Carnival, I was told to go fill out a claim form through United or American Airlines, but no real direction. After noting that I was quite frustrated when I got back with them, someone decided to take me over to United claims office, where another group needing to get to the Carnival Imagination had the same problem with flights and lost their baggage, too. We all filled out the claim, and was put on a Greyhound Bus headed to Miami Port. This was expected, since the tranfer was paid for by booking flights through Carnival.
As some good luck would have it, the bus got us to the ship in time to be the last people to board the ship. We had nonetheless missed the lunch that other folks on board had been able to enjoy. We were tired and very upset. Since we were told to immediately talk to the Purser when on board, we waited in the very long line to address the issue of missing baggage. We gave them the information, and we went to our room. My wife was depressed about the situation, and did not want to leave the room. She only wanted to sleep.
No wonder... we were tired, hungry and without clothing for the next two days. It would have been easier to live with, but the shops on board do not carry undergarments or clothing that really fit my wife and I. We each bought a shirt, I got a pair of swimming trunks, and we had to rent a tux and eveningwear for the formal night on Sunday. The rental shoes were painful, and I actually wanted to go home at that point.
The formal dinner went ok, and we did manage to get drunk during the rum/vodka tasting. I suppose we needed something to give us some escape. So far, it had been the worst vacation we had ever taken. If it weren't enough, we had discovered at about 9:30 on Sunday night that our Fiesta Party Boat excursion we planned and paid for 75 days prior, was cancelled. So, we had no where to go, and was really too late to think what we wanted to do. After all, we figured that another adventure might get us lost and miss the rest of the journey.
On Monday morning, we talked to the purser, as we had been doing from time to time, to get status on arrival of our missing baggage at Cozumel. No status was avaialble, and no one could explain any handoffs for our luggage. We were desperate! Finally, at about 10:30AM, someone found our baggage in Cozumel, and we were able to see it at our Stateroom a bit before noon. We got dressed, and prepared to see Cozumel. We figured that we may as well try to see something while there. Since we figured there was lots of activities around the water, we wanted to get out our beach bag from a smaller rolling suitcase that held our shoes. When my wife opened the suitcase, her expression was blank, and surprised. Our shoes had been stolen! All we had were our sandals, and very uncomfortable rental shoes.
The beach bag was missing, too. This was even looking worse. Should we have taken a flight home? Maybe we could salvage some of our lost time and make some fun ourselves. It felt like we were not meant to enjoy ourselves. Of the shoes stolen were some new leather dress shoes I had bought that would have even been suitable for the office when I got home. I drove clear across Akron to find this pair of shoes, as it was the last pair in the region. I was a bit miffed...
So far, we had a flight cancelled, a cruise almost missed, baggage missing, no clothes for two days, a cancelled excursion and three pairs of stolen shoes. It wasn't until later on Monday that we started to ease up and enjoy ourselves. I wonder how the other group we bumped into that had similar problems faired.
Again, I mainly wanted to convey my thoughts about why the cruise was a "7" rather than a "10". It is acknowleged that the airlines and baggage handling are out of your control. I understand those instances. It would have been of great benefit, however, to be offered a flight to Miami the day before, so as to minimize the affects of delayed travel. We were not offered this. We didn't get our itinerary until much later, so I didn't have much time to review and potentially change the logistics.
I might have done better if I would have booked my own flights. I would have seen the lack of logic in travel on the same day, as I do in any of my business travel. My suggestion to help future patrons would be to "strongly suggest" arriving the night before embarkation for those traveling at such a distance as mine. If I were offered this and hotel accommodations, I would have certainly allowed Carnival to book it that way. It may have even been fun spending time in Miami. Please consider this in the future.
To anyone that has taken the time to read this email, thank you for taking the time to do so. I would love to take another cruise very soon, but have no confidence that things will go very smoothly. Previous to this, we considered bringing our kids to another trip. Let's hope we can forget the bad, and remember the good.
RE: CARNIVAL TRIUMPH, 07/08/06. 7300, 8I.S029, 001767928D
Dear Mr. ---
Thank you for taking the time to bring your experiences to our attention.
Mr. ---, we were sorry to hear that your airline arrangements were not satisfactory. Our FLY A WEIGH program was designed as a convenient and economical way to arrange your vacation package. Please be assured, the issues you have described are atypical of the standards we wish lo provide our valued guests, Regrettably, specific flight schedules and airlines may not be available at our contracted rate. The carrier may also cancel specific routes due to various reasons which are out of our control. We apologize for any inconvenience you experienced.
Because we value your business, we would like to extend to you and Mrs. Amber an onboard credit in [he amount of SlOO.OO per person, $200.00 total. The onboard credit is valid for eighteen months from the date of this letter and is non transferable. The credit does not have a monetary value and must be used onboard a Carnival Cruise Line Vessel.
To redeem your onboard credit, please contact our Guest Relations Department at 1-800-929-6400 at least 30 days prior to your next cruise. Our representatives will make the necessary arrangements to have the credit applied to your shipboard Sail and Sign Account for your convenience.
We appreciate you giving us the opportunity lo respond to your comments and concerns. We hope to welcome you back aboard in the near future.
*** I was a bit upset with the outcome. My losses were much greater than that. They didn't take care of me. I decided to email my friends regarding this:
Some of you are familiar with the origin of this email. To those that aren't, please read my email to Carnival Cruise Lines regarding my troubles surrounding the cruise. After that, please read my scanned in jpeg image of the letter of response. First, ask yourself if you would like to have such a vacation. Second, ask yourself if you would ever want Carnival to book your flights. Lastly, ask yourself if this would be an acceptable response to you, when you expect to be taken care of.
Thanks for tuning in!
*** I had a friend reply to me with the following:
The unfortunate matter in this situation is you and Amber are just a number to Carnival. The
other problem is when someone as sincere as yourself does have a real problem they do not
address it correctly. So many people complain about the little things that when you experience
what you did and have a legitimate complaint Carnival does not take care of it. The only fare
response in this case is Carnival should reimburse you for a minimum of one night of your trip.
and the cost of the items stolen in your luggage. Carnival can go to the Airline and get
reimbursed for what money they feel the airline owes them. They took care of all your travel
arrangements and therefore have to accept responsibility for what may have happened to you. It
is up to them to go to the appropriate parties and make sure all refunds or vouchers are taken
When I sell a system to a customer and it includes products that I do not manufacture I still
have to take responsibility for those products. The customer is going to come to me when there
is a problem and say you sold this to me I need you to fix it. That is no different then this
situation. Carnival sold you the whole package and therefore is responsible to support it
otherwise they should not offer air fare assistance.
This is just my view and why I do not go on Cruises only resorts. I will keep this in mind when
I hear people talk about going on cruise.
*** I suddenly got a second letter from Carnival:
RE: CARNIVAL TRIUMPH, 07/08/06, 7300, 8LS029, 001767928F
Dear Mr. ----:
Thank you for contacting us regarding our previous response to you.
Our original response was a sincere effort to address the issues brought to our attention and not to trivialize or disregard your observations. Please accept our sincere apologies if any comments in our response were perceived as inappropriate.
It was disappointing for us to learn of your continued disappointment with your Carnival cruise vacation as providing a quality cruise experience is our top priority. Therefore, it is regrettable that you met with such frustration in the course of your cruise holiday. While we understand your position, it is Carnival's position that the gesture extended was fair and equitable and no further compensation will be granted in this instance.
It is always discouraging for us to learn that our guests have returned home disappointed. We hope you will give us an opportunity to welcome you back. I assure your next cruise with us will exceed your expectations.
"Joel Casimiro Special Advisor, Office of the President 1-800-929-6400
*** Nonetheless, it appears the phone number he gave me would have been just as evasive. I tried doing this in a civilized manner. I left them the opportunity to gain me back as a guest with additional passengers. I even wanted to brag about the great times to everyone. Apparently, this did not happen. When traveling Carnival or Princess cruise lines (same company), buyer beware.
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