Bill & Bonnie's Carnival Cruise from Hell
February 11 ~ 19, 2008

We booked a "Southern Caribbean" cruise using a Carnival Cruise Lines travel agent.  This trip was booked nine (9) months in advance of the departure date, and among other things we reserved a 5:45 restaurant dinner seating, rather than the later 8:15 seating.  This 5:45 reservation was necessary because of our age and health considerations, and the early seating was confirmed in writing by Carnival.  When we boarded the ship we discovered that we had been assigned to the 8:15 dinner seating!  Rather than go into more detail here, the entire fiasco was detailed in this letter which was sent to Carnival Feb 25, 2008.

If you've read the letter, you realize that Carnival refused to honor their commitment and we we had no choice but to eat all our meals at the buffet.  This was unfortunate because the meals in Carnival restaurants are sensational as we had discovered during our two previous Carnival cruises.  Had we had any idea that Carnival was going to switch us to a late dinner seating, we would have immediately cancelled the cruise!  We were in the position of being a captive audience ~ unable to do anything since we were already on board and committed to the trip.

If you think we're over-reacting to this situation, please be reminded that we booked this trip nearly a year in advance so that we could have the departure date we wanted, the stateroom we wanted, and the dinner seating we wanted.  Having all this confirmed in writing, then having any reservation withdrawn after arrival at the ship should be illegal and Carnival should be given severe sanctions for such "bait and switch" tactics!

It was exactly 5 weeks before I finally received a response from Carnival to our letter.  As you can see, the response was brief, basically saying that it was not convenient for them to honor our dinner reservation.  Additionally, they offered us $100 which would be given to us after our next booking with them, but of course they know that there will never be any such booking.  In this letter Carnival referred to our reservation for early dinner seating a "preference" rather than a reservation, but I'm not sure this makes any difference since it was never made clear to us that they could switch us to a difference preference without warning. 

This page was created to warn you that Carnival has little respect for their customer's needs as evidenced by our shabby treatment.  Since Carnival attached no importance to our dinner reservations, I find myself wondering if other commitments made by Carnival (stateroom, side trips, departure date, etc.) can also be changed at Carnival's whim?  If it is important to you that a cruise line honor their obligations, possibly you should be looking at another company?  And if you have any friends that are thinking about cruising with Carnival, maybe you should warn them about this problem!

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