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  #1  
Old September 16th, 2008, 08:44 PM
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Default Anyone back from Conquest?

Just wondering if anyone has returned from the Conquest & ready to tell us your story???
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  #2  
Old September 16th, 2008, 09:51 PM
Debe7ing Debe7ing is offline
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Yes, we are back...and quite an ordeal.

To be honest, I TRIED to keep the great spirit, TRIED to be understanding, TRIED to remember that Carnival was as much a victim with this storm as we were, but...

While this storm is NOT their fault, they did not handle the entire New Orleans thing very well at all.

We changed course at least 3 hours BEFORE they announced it...but for whatever reason chose to wait until 5pm on Sunday to tell us that NOLA was our destination.

Of course, at that very moment you had EVERYONE trying to access the internet to get flights/rental car/some type of line up to get home. The HUGE issue was they put us WAY behind the powercurve by not letting us know AS SOON as the decision was made. Given the Houston airports were closed and EVERYTHING trying to get to Texas was being routed thru Dallas (not just cruisers/displaced people) the sooner we knew the easier it would have been for all of us. It was a nightmare to try and get anything at all because of the Dallas connection needs.

That is my huge gripe...and for those of you that don't live in Texas, it might not seem as big...but living as far away as San Antonio I spent 7 hours on the phone today trying to get ANY rental car because ours was destroyed at the port. There is NO part of Texas that is not in some way affected by this storm. Went to the grocery store and there were near bare shelves in lots of areas since food is (as it should be) being diverted to those in the Houston area and in much greater need than any of us.

Given how this storm is affecting ALL areas in Texas and LA, it just seems that it was not right that they gave no indication as soon as the decision was made to those of us that needed to try and get home. There are many who could not get flights until Tue or Wed as we all tried to book online Sunday after 5pm.

The option was to "get off and get home", stay overnight on the ship as a hotel once you have cleared customs...or stay on the ship until it returned to Galveston. Given no one that had seen the news thought that would be anytime this year, those that could did what they could to try and get home.

I REALLY felt sorry for the service staff...when I went to the Pursers Desk to ask for quarters to do laundry at 4am, I did ask to ensure that tips were being added for the extra time aboard...they said no, not unless you signed for it. I immediately had her add the tips, because the wait staff/cabin staff were all doing such a fantastic job despite the issues being dealt with...they certainly deserved to continue to get tipped for their service, and we gave each of ours additional tips as we left as well, for they will be the ones that really suffer during this next week of missing out on serving those that pay the bulk of their income since there are not new pax aboard to service.

This was our 24th cruise, and I worked hard to try to keep things in prespective, but I honestly feel that way Carnival chose to handle things means we won't be inclined to continue cruising with them. I don't expect them to cover the cost of our airfare home, nor do I think they owe me for the loss on our car, but I certainly think that being honest as soon as possible would have made a very difficult situation easier for those of us that had to get home. Their choice NOT to tell us (or give any updates to so many family members of those aboard that were calling and checking their website info on our status) does not give me the feeling of trust I need to sail with them again.

The special moment in our cruise was getting to met a wonderful couple (Hi Sonya and Danny!) who are still working to get home almost 40 hours after we did dock...and we are grateful for that and looking forward to hearing they are home safely as well.

Last edited by Debe7ing; September 16th, 2008 at 10:10 PM.
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  #3  
Old September 16th, 2008, 10:28 PM
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We were also on the cruise and have to agree with the lack of communication from Carnival. We were luckier than most in that we had our son drive to Galveston and get our van. We were able to book flights on Southwest out of hobby thinking we would be able to get back to Galveston and need to fly out of Houston. Everyone was doing ok until after the 11am meeting where they were going to let us know what was going to happen and what port we were going to. Jen the CD came in and told us sorry not going to Galveston (DUH!) and still no idea where or when we would get in. People were really upset and the complaining started. We were told to come back at 5pm. My DH noticed we had changed course and figured we were headed to NOLA around 3pm and they did not say anything until after 5pm. Once they told us we were headed to NOLA everyone took off to try and make arrangements. My DH was able to get ahold of Southwest and they were so nice and without any extra charge changed our flight so we could leave out of NOLA! The earliest flight was 7:10 but that was ok since we could get home to the kids. The staff was nice for the most part. The guy in the internet cafe was not so nice. There was a very long line of people trying to use the internet and it was hard to get cell phone service. They never announced it but they did allow one call from the room that could last 3 minutes. It would have been nice if they had made the internet use free or give you 15 minutes free. They could have made arrangements for free bus service to the airport but they did not. The port people were upset since they did not get notified until after 5pm the night before we arrived and they had to scramble to get ready. My DH and I enjoyed our cruise, the people, the extra day in Cozumel and even missing Grand Cayman was ok but the last day was hard. Carnival really needs to work on communication with the people on the ship.
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  #4  
Old September 16th, 2008, 10:58 PM
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Welcome back to both of you. What an ordeal you've been through! Hope you both get some much needed rest.
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  #5  
Old September 16th, 2008, 11:04 PM
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Thanks for posting; I have been wondering how everything was handled on the ship from your perspective. Can't imagine what it was like being able to watch on CNN and not having enough information from Carnival.
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Old September 16th, 2008, 11:18 PM
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I did ask to ensure that tips were being added for the extra time aboard...they said no, not unless you signed for it. I immediately had her add the tips, because the wait staff/cabin staff were all doing such a fantastic job despite the issues being dealt with...they certainly deserved to continue to get tipped for their service, and we gave each of ours additional tips as we left as well, for they will be the ones that really suffer during this next week of missing out on serving those that pay the bulk of their income since there are not new pax aboard to service.
This shows so much integrity I just have to comment. I honestly don't know if I would have thought about it. It's truly wonderful that instead of complaining, you very unselfishly thought of the staff onboard. It's people like you that make the world a little brighter.
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Old September 16th, 2008, 11:20 PM
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We were also on the Conquest and while the cruise over all was great, the lack of communication and assistance to the passengers was appalling. We were also on a cruise when Hurricaine Rita hit the Texas coast. It was a Royal Caribbean cruise and they certainly handled the situation differently. There were constant updates....several a day and they were planning to fly every one home if we were not able to return to Galveston. We even filled out a form to indicate where we wanted to fly into. We were given free internet time and free phone calls from our cabins each day. We also lost our car in Galveston and while I realize that Carnival is not responsible for that....they certainly could have tried to give some form of compensation to the passengers to allow for the unexpectied added expense to get back home. It is extremely doubtful that we will ever cruise with Carnival again.
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  #8  
Old September 16th, 2008, 11:21 PM
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Welcome back!
Carnival also didn't notify that the cruise after yours would be cancelled until the very last moment.........even though most people here already knew.....which put some in a quandary because they could not cancel and get full refund until Carnival cancelled.
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  #9  
Old September 16th, 2008, 11:39 PM
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We had family scheduled to go on the cruise that was to leave this past Sunday and they waited in San Antonio and did not get word until about noon Sunday that the cruise was cancelled. They were crushed. Drove back to Oklahoma and rebooked.
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  #10  
Old September 16th, 2008, 11:55 PM
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Glad you guys made it back home. Sounds like alot of you made the most of your cruise & had a good time. Don't think I will ever cruise in Hurricane season.
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  #11  
Old September 16th, 2008, 11:58 PM
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Eesh...sounds like it got rough. Debe7ing, i was following the "Live From" thread so i can definetly "hear" your change and you certainly had an upbeat attitude on that thread! i am sorry to hear that the communication broke down.

When i read of the plans Carnival was offering I thought that it sounded very nice and accomodating. I am sorry to hear that you were not notified in a more timely manner!

How great that you asked about the tips! i would have just assumed that tips were continuing to be added to my account and might not have thought to check! Glad that you posted about that. i for one will surely make sure they get added if i am ever in a similar situation!
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  #12  
Old September 17th, 2008, 12:04 AM
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Im another from the Conquest who made it home now. I was fine with everything, yes worried about my car, which I think is normal, but was fine with Carnival until about the last 24 - 48 hours.

I need to get a full night's sleep to be more coherent with my thoughts, but finding out that had I stayed on the ship, I would have come back to Texas by Thursday and maybe able by then to see my car, that kinda was the nail in the coffin, why Im frustrated with Carnival's handling of things.

As soon as I heard we were going into New Orleans, I got up out of the disembarkation meeting and went to the purser's desk and asked to call a rental car. They didnt have a list of the phone numbers yet. Said go to your cabin and you can call from there and get a free phone call. So, I stood in line for nothing and from the cabin you couldnt call, so I went to the internet cafe, and the line was out into the bar and hopeless, so I came back later. Clearly folks behind me would be in line until midnight the line to make a phone call was so long. Not Carnival's fault they only have so many phone lines, I get that, but the communication was lacking for the last few days for me too.

I wanted them to print off more updates on the hurricanes position and put them up on the map board more often. If I had been home and affected I sure would have been tracking the storm more closely than I could from on the ship. Lots of folks were very frustrated.

I, also, think they should have picked up something for us to get to somewhere in New Orleans, paid for the shuttle bus, or whatever, nadda. I think saying they might get to Galveston by sunday so they didnt owe us anything if we got off in New Orleans was a cop out. Im sure others will keep telling me Carnival did the best they can, but they need to work on communication big time.

I meet some nice folks I hope to meet again and chat with and enjoyed the cruise otherwise, no complaints and had a good time.
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  #13  
Old September 17th, 2008, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yearnin4cruisin View Post
This shows so much integrity I just have to comment. I honestly don't know if I would have thought about it. It's truly wonderful that instead of complaining, you very unselfishly thought of the staff onboard. It's people like you that make the world a little brighter.
That popped out at me too and I want to commend your unselfish, thoughtful gesture. What a wonderful thing to do. If what comes around goes around, you have a great life ahead of you!
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  #14  
Old September 17th, 2008, 12:57 AM
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I'm amazed at your guys good attitude. I am sorry about the way Carnival acted. I can't stand being uninformed and I can imagine your frustration. Glad you guys got back okay and sorry to hear about the cars.
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  #15  
Old September 17th, 2008, 01:30 AM
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Welcome Home Everyone!! Glad that you are safe.
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  #16  
Old September 17th, 2008, 01:43 AM
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I travelled with another lady who Ill admit is difficult, so when she told me she called the purser's desk three times and she could hear them laughing in the background, and then they just kept hanging up the phone and not even saying hello, I kinda dismissed it, but some other lady told me she had the same thing happen to her, that she too was calling the purser's desk and they were just picking up the phone and hanging up on her. I do know the purser's desk was overwhelmed and I did explain that to the other lady I was with. She was on a walker and incapable of standing in the long line to go ask her question in person. It never occured to me to call the, I went there in person, so this is just second hand from reports that last night on the Conquest.

If I hadnt seen the purser's desk myself, I dont think Id have believed the long line either if I just read someone telling me the line went to the theater and around from there. It was pretty crazy.

On the plus side from folks in line passing news along, I heard two of the airlines really stepped up to handle their passengers and take care of getting them on new flights. One was Continental and I forget the other one, wasnt American or SW, one of the others, maybe United. All you had to do was say you were on a ship out at sea and they handled it and were really nice about it.
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Old September 17th, 2008, 02:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yearnin4cruisin View Post
This shows so much integrity I just have to comment. I honestly don't know if I would have thought about it. It's truly wonderful that instead of complaining, you very unselfishly thought of the staff onboard. It's people like you that make the world a little brighter.
sorry still sort of a newbie but this is why regardless of the flames I still check here every day. I love this site cause when i went on my first cruise this site made it so amazing i still call my ex hubby.....the DEXH(darling ex hubby).....and even he admits what a cruise we had but I LOVE TO SEE THESE POSTS. god bless all of you that are sick of the same old questions....But still answer answer even if sarcastically (grin) and GOD BLESS those of you with patience........Can you share some? I really need it... To the OP As I am in the service industry I know communication is everything......Its NOT The peoples fault they are just following orders . One day LOGIC will be involved in the service industry.......Sigh even though I am a betting girl I wouldn't bet on that........
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  #18  
Old September 17th, 2008, 06:17 AM
Debe7ing Debe7ing is offline
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Eesh...sounds like it got rough. Debe7ing, i was following the "Live From" thread so i can definetly "hear" your change and you certainly had an upbeat attitude on that thread! i am sorry to hear that the communication broke down.

When i read of the plans Carnival was offering I thought that it sounded very nice and accomodating. I am sorry to hear that you were not notified in a more timely manner!

How great that you asked about the tips! i would have just assumed that tips were continuing to be added to my account and might not have thought to check! Glad that you posted about that. i for one will surely make sure they get added if i am ever in a similar situation!

We are seasoned travellers, and understand when things are beyond control, such as weather, but honestly, once we got on the ship and sailed from Coz, the information stopped cold to passangers from the company.

Other than Jen getting on the overhead shouting at us that they would give us an update the moment they knew it way to often, NO INFO AT ALL.

They scheduled a debark meeting at the theater at 11am...and at 2 minutes to 11am the Capt came on and said he was "currently in conversation with the home office and it would be delayed until 5pm:....AFTER people went to the theather and SAT there trying to get a decent spot...come on....you could not have told people at 10am that you were posponing the announcements until 5pm???? Sitting there with 3000 for an hour only to hear that they were postponing the info update was upsetting to everyone...including me.

Then, when the 5pm announcement was made, you could not get near the theather...it was packed out the doors on every level. After about 20 minutes into it, they announce "oh, you can hear the announcement being simulcasted on your TV in your room"....like 3000+ people would have INSISTED on being cramped into one room when we could have watched it from or TV in our Cabin at a given time if we had KNOWN.

I too feel that they lost good will with us personally when they did not announce that there at least be shuttles to the airport for those lucky enough to get back, and you would have had no indication that the world opened their arms for the people of NOLA just 3 short years ago to assist them after the exact same situation...they only thing we witnessed was hands out waiting for payment from the moment we stepped off the ship. As someone else mentioned, they were pissed at us for being there unexpectedly it seemed.

Anyone can keep a stiff upper lip and roll with the punches, but bottom line is once Carnival got us back on the ship from Coz, they kept us in the dark...totally. I personally believe that the reason that they did not give us the info earlier (like when they changed course so obviously KNEW they were going to NOLA) was because they minimized the complaining they had to endure by making it an hour before dinner, knowing everyone would have to rush back and pack and that kinda gave them the "least ammount of time we have to deal with these people" type senerio." With less than 12 hours notice what your new port is going to be, needless to say from the moment we were informed until we docked at 5am, people were busy trying to get things done to get home, get packed, try and get a little sleep, help others without the ability to get connected themselves (cell phones, ideas, alternate routes).

I am grateful that I am not the only one that felt that they did a very poor job of informing us...especially given the magnititude of this event.
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Old September 17th, 2008, 06:33 AM
Debe7ing Debe7ing is offline
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Originally Posted by firefly333 View Post
I travelled with another lady who Ill admit is difficult, so when she told me she called the purser's desk three times and she could hear them laughing in the background, and then they just kept hanging up the phone and not even saying hello, I kinda dismissed it, but some other lady told me she had the same thing happen to her, that she too was calling the purser's desk and they were just picking up the phone and hanging up on her. I do know the purser's desk was overwhelmed and I did explain that to the other lady I was with. She was on a walker and incapable of standing in the long line to go ask her question in person. It never occured to me to call the, I went there in person, so this is just second hand from reports that last night on the Conquest.

If I hadnt seen the purser's desk myself, I dont think Id have believed the long line either if I just read someone telling me the line went to the theater and around from there. It was pretty crazy.

On the plus side from folks in line passing news along, I heard two of the airlines really stepped up to handle their passengers and take care of getting them on new flights. One was Continental and I forget the other one, wasnt American or SW, one of the others, maybe United. All you had to do was say you were on a ship out at sea and they handled it and were really nice about it.
I must admit Fly, if it were not for the "networking" that those of us that were on that sailing had to resort to, we would have been even more fustratued,don't you think??? We cruisers were sharing information that we were deriving from OTHER CRUISERS and trying to act on those.

One poor couple we had as dinner mates flew in from El Paso, had flown in on SW to Houston. Once they made the announcement at 5pm that NOLA was our new port, she text msg her dad, who promptly went to work to make the changes for them...only problem was they WERE no more SW flights, so her dad booked her the ONLY thing left, NOLA to Dallas on American, then connecting with their original SW flight...sounds good, right?? WRONG....American flys out of DFW and SW out of Love Field in Dallas. It was only at dinner when a couple of us told them....uh, different airports involved that they realized this was going to be a total goatrope. Cute couple, newlyweds...sure hope they made the connections ok.
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  #20  
Old September 17th, 2008, 08:19 AM
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One lady I played cards with had booked out of Houston with credit card points and lost that flight, paid $800 to fly out of Cozumel. Thats why I went into Cozumel and bought an extra week's worth of drugs for my sister, Carnival made it sound pretty indefinate when we would be back into a port. Next time I will bring more than an extra 3 days worth of drugs so I dont have that worry.

I dont consider myself well seasoned, especially as far as Carnival or cruising. My last 4 cruises were on RCL, but I was giving Carnival another try because of the lack of choices out of Texas.

I felt like Carnival management wrote that script Jen read from and put up that Galveston possibility in order to get out of any responsibility for helping us. There is a implied contract to get us back to Galveston and they said well you can just stay on until we get back there ..... whenever that might be. They gave Katrina folks money to help them get home, they should have done something for us.

Are you going to write to them? I know I am, need to find the address. I will also mention the good things, like our waiter. I have to say we all thought the bathroom was really nice compared to other ships. On RCL the sink is so close to the shower you can just put everything on the sink and reach it from the shower. This was nice and spacious. We liked the cabin and food and the cruise and meet lots of nice folks. I got the full name of our waiter to mention by name. We had a 10 top and three groups of 3 cruisers and enjoyed them all and Linda who was travelling with her parents said the last night how she was going to miss seeing us every night and we all felt like a family and enjoyed our dining companions a lot. Its too bad it was overshadowed by the mess on Carnival's end .... as you said about the time we decided to stay in Cozumel (which of course we didnt know about until AFTER we came back to the ship after being out in Cozumel getting the drugs and shopping and coming back expecting to depart.
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