CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Carnival Cruise Lines Celebration Western Caribbean September 19, 2002

This was a horrible cruise from the start, but I will try to be objective. I was on the Carnival Celebration cruise ship which leaves Galveston and makes one stop in Cozumel. The Carnival staff at the Galveston port were incredibly rude and acted as though they were doing us some big favor by letting us cruise with Carnival. I was accused of having a fake birth certificate and pulled from line to be "interviewed". My so-called fake birth certificate was my "original" birth certificate from the hospital, which the Carnival Website states they accept. The same birth certificate was used to obtain my Texas Drivers License and a passport 15 years ago! Not sure what Carnival claims is fake about it! But, there was absolutely no reason to try and humiliate me, which is what the Carnival staff went out of their way to do.

Once on the ship, we found our cabin, E198 at the very back of the ship. The size and layout of the cabin was good and worked well for the duration of the trip. There was food service available for lunch in the Wheelhouse Grill, which was really good.

Before we could set sail, we had to go through the safety drill which was fairly disorganized, but was over quickly. The last part of the drill, we were sent out on the deck to find where we would be in case life boats needed to be lowered. The staff was barking orders to the passengers if they weren't standing in the correct place and we were made to stand out in the pouring rain for about 20 minutes. I thought for a moment I had joined the Navy, instead of being on what was supposed to be a pleasure cruise.

Due to hurricane Isidore moving into the Gulf, Carnival would not tell us where our port of call would be until we boarded the ship. I thought this was very bad of Carnival to do. They should have told us that we would be sailing to Veracruz, Mexico and let people make the choice of whether to go or not. If you ever have a chance to go to Veracruz, pass on it!! Carnival states that their top executives will periodically sail to ensure the quality of Carnival ships and ports of call. Well, obviously their executives have never been to Veracruz, or they would never divert another ship there!

The days at sea were fun. It was overcast and cloudy most of the trip, so the pools and the decks weren't much fun. I understand that Carnival has no control over the weather, but again, they should have cancelled this cruise and refunded money or rescheduled passengers to later dates, but I think money is Carnival's main objective, not whether passengers have a good time or not! Our cabin was located just below the deck where Carnival employees take their breaks and they would drag deck chairs across the deck at all times of the night, which would wake us up and then it was hard to get back to sleep. We spent time in the casino (I won $100) and I had spa treatments, which were wonderful! The shows at night were really good and we enjoyed them tremendously. The staff on board in the diningrooms, lounges and gift shops and cabin stewards were really nice and helpful.

Docking in Veracruz, the ship was incredibly noisy and lots of movement. I heard some passengers say it felt as though the ship had a bent drive shaft or broken prop. This was my first cruise, so I don't know how a cruise should feel. I had been told that ships have stabilizers, but from all the movement, I don't think the Celebration has stabilizers. Or it might be the storm in the Gulf was causing much of the movement, I don't know which.

Veracruz is a God-forsaken place that I hope no other cruise ship has to be subjected to. The townspeople came out to gawk at the ship and beg the passengers for money. Trying to shop in the downtown marketplace was next to impossible because the locals wouldn't take American money and would not help us find a bank to exchange money. We finally did stumble across a bank and the teller acted like it was a big imposition to offer bank services. There were locals on the beach yelling at the cruise passengers that they hate Americans and death to America! And the beach was littered with all kinds of trash and sleeping homeless people.

We did finally find a very nice taxi driver that took us to the Aquarium. Veracruz has a really nice Aquarium attached to a shopping mall. The locals at this mall where much nicer, and the prices were not as low as downtown, but I personally would rather pay a little more and be treated in a nice manner.

We said Adios to Veracruz at 5:00 Saturday evening. The townspeople who came to gawk at the ship started waving white handkerchiefs as the ship left. I'm not sure, but I think that is probably Mexican for 'please don't leave us behind in this God-forsaken city!'

Sunday night, we hit really rough seas and I literally thought the Celebration was going to find her final resting place at the bottom of the Gulf. But we did make it back and I am very glad to back on dry American soil. Never again will I take a Carnival Cruise!

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