Article by Pierre Zarokian of Hotel Traveler Reviews
Couple of weeks ago me and my family took the Eastern Caribbean cruise with Carnival Liberty. I wanted to write this article to voice my anger with Carnival Cruise. The main problem where several hidden charges and slowness of the internet. However, the choice of the islands were also not that interesting.
First let me begin with the hidden charges. There is a $70 per person gratuity charge, so for 3 of us, we were hit with $210 unforeseen charge added to our final departure bill.
Second the on-board photo services were way too expensive. While it is a great service, which you do not have to use, most people will probably end up taking a few pics. They encourage you to take as many pics as possible, as you don’t have to buy them. At the end, you may end up buying many pics, because they look good at $22 a pop. My complaint is that they should at least offer a discount for those buying multiple pictures. We ended up spending $700 on pictures.
Third, the internet connection was way too slow. Even tough when you sign up they have disclaimer stating it will be slow, my exception was not that it will be slower than a 14K modem (pre 1995 levels). We used approximately 50% of the $100 I paid upfront and then decided it was way too slow to do any work and was not worth continuing. When I asked for a refund or even a partial refund, I was denied and instead given a 30 minute credit, which was worthless, since I was not going to use it and only one day was remaining in the trip.
Fourth, the selection of the islands the cruise went to was not that exciting. 2 our of 4 islands were OK and then other two were pretty boring. The good ones were San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. the bad ones were Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. The last 2 islands were very small and did not offer too many activities, besides relaxing at the beach and a few tours. But since both islands are small there is not really much to see on them. In fact, Half Moon Cay is an island that Carnival owns and was primarily purchased so they can offer their own tours to this island. This was a lesson to myself to do better research next time and pick a cruise that offers a better selection of islands.
Although, the overall cruise experience for me and my family was fun and relaxing, the few issues above, really left me upset. I tried to get refund for the internet and gratuity and was denied both. Due to this I would never ever go on a Carnival Cruise again. I consider myself a VIP traveler. We ended up spending $2400 in extra services, such as photos, spa and food on the boat and I cannot believe the way Carnival treats their VIP customers.