We have always found the best in every situation while cruising, but our recent cruise was one disappointment after another. We just returned yesterday from an 8 night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Conquest. This was our 7th Carnival cruise and the most expensive one so far. We have 4 teenagers and 3 of them graduate next year. We knew cruising next year would more then likely not be an option with 3 children graduating, so we saved up and decided to have a big vacation this year.
We were really excited about the itinerary which was Princess Cays (9:00 - 4:00), Grand Turk (12:00 - 7:00), Sea Day, Curacao (10:00am - 11pm), Aruba (8:00 - 4:00), and 2 more sea days. It was going to work out where we were in Princess Cays on our anniversary and Grand Turk on our oldest sons 17th birthday. We also wanted the 2 sea days coming home to rest up.
On Friday night around 8pm we were packing the car up to drive to the airport when I got an email from Carnival saying our itinerary had changed. The new itinerary was not very well thought out. Now we would have 2 sea days, Aruba 10 am - 11pm, Curacao 8-4, sea day, Grand Turk 7-2, and Half Moon Cay 8-2. We were all really disappointed with the changes especially the new times in the ports. While we do love HMC, being there from 8-2 is not worth it.
So then on the 1st full sea day we get a notice that our excursion in Aruba was cancelled and that the day we would be in Aruba was their Labor Day and everything would be closed except a few stores. We picked another excursion and went snorkeling, but my in-laws are not able to snorkel so they did a tour of the island with Carnival. We did enjoy the snorkeling, but even the guide said he didn't understand why Carnival would of changed the dates to the 1 day a year their government makes things close down unless it's for tourism or convenience stores. My in-laws said their guide said the same thing because most of the places the tour took them to were closed and the people on the tour even had to pay money to use the bathroom on another bus. They were on a Carnival excursion and had to pay to use the bathroom because nothing was open! The stores inside the port were open, but some closed at 4:30. We were there until 11pm with the town basically closed down on holiday. That night we walked to Starbucks, got a coffee, and used the Wi-Fi to message home. I would of liked to of been able to do more, but that was not possible.
We really liked Curacao and would of liked to had more time there. We had planned out our day and night since we were supposed to of been there until 11pm and had to change everything around last minute when it changed to 4 instead.
In Grand Turk and HMC we had very short days. Grand Turk was 7am until 2, so back on board by 1:30. Nothing in town opened until 9 and it was cloudy until noon. We love Grand Turk and were looking forward to being there until 7pm. By time it warmed up and we were all ready to swim, it was time to be back onboard and we were tired from getting up so early to be off at 7am. Then since HMC had its last tender back at 1:15 they did not do the BBQ on the beach and the only thing you could purchase were drinks. We had to tender back at 12:30 because we were all hungry by then.
These things may seem minor to some, but they were disappointing for my family. We saved up for a year and our original Aruba excursion was part of our children's Christmas because they all wanted to go there and it was pricey. To have our itinerary changed, such short times in the last 2 ports, no sea days before coming home, and to be in Aruba during a national holiday were all downers for us.
The changes were said to be made because of Princess Cays getting storm damage. I would of much rather them gave us and extra sea day and kept the rest of the itinerary the way it originally was. The changes were just not that great.
I do understand we could have just not gone and that they are allowed to change things. But, after all the planning and getting the kids excused from school, and the airfare, canceling wasn't really and option. Also, I can handle change when it makes sense, but these changes made no sense to me.