by Gerald L. Byrnes
April 30, 2009
We took a cruise on Carnival earlier this year. As part of the services, we signed up for the transportation option that included Pickup/Transfer at the airport the days of embarkation and debarkation. The fee for this was $160.
The Carnival customer service reps told us we would be met at the airport by company representatives and taken by Carnival transportation directly to the ship at the pier.
We arrived at the airport in NYC about 10 minutes early. After waiting 30 minutes, no one from Carnival arrived. We called Carnival customer service and were told that the reps came on duty at 11am (this was at 10:45am). By 11:30am, no one from Carnival arrived. We again called Carnival customer service and were told that the reps would be there very soon. After another hour of waiting, no one from Carnival arrived. The NY Port Authority customer service rep arranged for a van service to take us to the ship. That van made 4 stops over an hour and a half travel time dropping off other customers before we finally go to the ship. But we were very thankful that the Port Authority was there to help where Carnival failed.
While on the cruise, we stopped by the customer service desk to ask about return transportation given the problems inbound. The rep assured us that there would be Carnival people at the pier when we debarked, and there would be transportation to the airport as promised.
When we debarked, there were no Carnival reps who knew anything about transportation. We asked many Carnival people, but they had no idea. We finally found a separate van service that would take us to the airport.
Given poor customer service and the expense for this undelivered service, we wrote a letter to Carnival. The response was that they were having trouble with the 'contractors' who provided the greeting and transportation service. That was the cause of the lack of service. They were sorry it occurred.
We then wrote a letter to the President (Mr. Gerald R. Cahill) detailing the poor service and the equally poor response. The reply letter said they 'it was disheartening to learn of (our) continued disappointment'. 'While (they) have documented (our) concerns, (they) must respectfully decline (our) request for compensation.' That compensation was my $160 back for services not provided by Carnival.
Continuing my disappointment, I wrote again to Mr. Cahill. The response from another Guest Care clerk was that they needed the goodwill of their guests and had told the managers to take corrective action.
BUT they also said: 'While we value all input from our guests, we must now consider this matter closed.' They finished by saying that they hoped we would allow them the opportunity to regain our patronage.
In other words: stop complaining, Carnival doesn't care.
Certainly a return of the payment for service never received would have been a good start. But the clearly cavalier response to their failure to provide contracted service speaks louder than any well written letter dismissing a customer's concerns.
We cruise every year. This was our first cruise with Carnival. It will also be our last. To add insult to injury, we have been stockholders of Carnival for years.
I hope this is helpful to readers of the site.