Posted January 22nd, 2010, 01:16 PM
I was on the Destiny for the 01/18 sailing to Ocho Rios / Grand Cayman, and like pretty much everyone on board, got off in Miami very
sorely disappointed. Anyhow, here's my $0.02's worth:
This was my 3rd CCL cruise, I sailed with my girlfriend, who has 10+ Carnival cruises under her belt.
First off, the crew were great; friendly and efficient . I also feel that the senior crew members (Captain and Officers) bear little responsibility as they no doubt have to take their orders from CCL head office. Saying that, the Captain (rightfully) has the final say-so in the event that he deems the ship unsafe to take to sea; I personally don't feel that safety was compromised at any stage.
However, I am extremely
disappointed with the way Carnival handled this cruise.
Looking at the history of the Destiny, it is clear this vessel has had significant problems with its propulsion system, going back as far as 2000 (it had a major refit in 2005). Late last year there were 2 reported issues where the ship was unable to reach its cruising speed and scheduled ports of call (POC) were cancelled due to this.
We were several (4+) hours late in leaving Miami, with different reasons being given - awaiting potable water, other supplies, medical emergency. CCL have probably one of the most efficient supply chains on the planet, so the 'waiting for stuff' excuse doesn't really hold much water (no pun intended).
When we did leave, we did sail at a fair rate of knots. The ship is designed to cruise at 22 knots, which for a 100k+ ton ship is 'hauling a$$'. However, by Sunday morning we had slowed fairly significantly, and never reached cruising speed after that. We barely made it half-way to Jamaica when they diverted us to Nassau. There was also noticable vibration (above what one would normally expect).
We did have a good time in Nassau, but that hardly makes up for missing out on the intended ports of call and planned activities. If I had really wanted to go to Nassau, I would have saved some major $$$ and just booked a cruise to Nassau.
To sum up:
- Missing all
scheduled ports of call does not equal a 'slight change in the itinerary' (as per CCL), it equals a full cancellation of the original itinerary. Hiding behing the "Change In Itinerary" clause in the contract starts wearing a little thin after the 3rd such breakdown in 6 months.
- Carnival have repeatedly allowed the Destiny to sail knowing that its propulsion system is in a less than optimal state (read: unreliable), and in need of significant repair or maintenance. In the interest of profits versus delivering what they promise, they are content with taking our money and band-aiding the problem as it pops up and ducking behind the "Change In Itinerary" clause. Which in my book is pretty shameful.
- The "refund" consisted of pre-paid port fees and local taxes (and some loose change from CCL). In other words, they gave us our own money back.
My past experiences with Carnival haves been very positive, and I would sail with them again in future. But without some major intervention, it won't be on the Destiny - which is a shame as it is a very nice ship. I felt sorry for the staff, as they were the ones having to deal with 2000+ angry passengers. They must feel great for getting thrown under the bus by their employers. Again.
I will be writing CCL a letter of complaint; I am not expecting any refunds or discounts but I want them to be under no illusion that they are doing untold damage to their reputation by repeatedly pulling this cr*p.
For those who feel inclined the same way:
Carnival Guest Care Department
3655 NW 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33178