I have just returned from my latest cruise on the Carnival Debacle. It said Carnival Breeze on the side of the ship, but debacle is better suited.
I had a back-to-back
on the Breeze but had the first leg canceled due to dry dock. That happens.
I contacted Carnival as to the vulnerability of the second leg and was
assured that it was not in jeopardy, so I booked the Vista the week
before. It would arrive the same day as
the Breeze would be back in service in Galveston, Texas.
It’s a trip
for us to get to Galveston, so I either needed to cancel the second leg or find
something to replace the canceled cruise that arrived the same day as the
Breeze. Having received assurance that all confounding factors had been
considered and the Breeze would be available for the second leg, the Vista was
an easy choice—more expensive but workable.
flurry of emails, texts, and phone calls began.
I was aboard the Vista and received none of them. I usually just get the social package and make
sure everything is covered at home.
Messenger works for emergencies, unless it’s a Carnival created
I got a hotel room for the day I would be stranded ashore. Carnival was reimbursing expenses for changes
in air travel, but not for billeting requirements created out of their change. Carnival
knows how to complicate the simple, so that one had to go to Christine Duffy.
I am not encouraged
that she will do right by this as she was rather cavalier when confronted with
ongoing fraud by Carnival aboard their Half Moon Cay island. Back to the heart of this missive.
cruise was now billed as a 4-day cruise and ended up being a shortened one at
that. Instructions told Breeze cruisers to disregard their arrival times and
come to the terminal between 3 and 5 pm on Sunday, 1 May 2022.
is a 5-hour process would be reduced to 2 hours because someone in Miami just
pencil whipped this instead of doing actual planning.
captain or cruise director is ignorant, someone up the line might just set them
straight. When the corporate staff is
ignorant, everyone will pay. A very
senior vice president if not Christine Duffy herself had to sign off on this
Why did it
make a difference? Some stood in line
for 3 or 4 hours to get aboard. Who
thought that what took almost 5 hours in an organized system would be expedited
to 2 hours by abandoning all organization?
manage to get the Dream out of port a little early, but they informed each
cruiser to arrive 30 minutes early. Why
did Carnival not tell those boarding the Breeze to add 4 and one-half hours to
their arrival time?
Were there 2
different coordinators? Was there no
senior oversight? Was this a kindergarten project? Was Shaq in charge?
been a single instance and just an arduous process to get aboard, most could
take it in stride as another Carnival SNAFU; however, the fun had only begun.
This is what the Navy and Marine Corps call a shakedown cruise. A shakedown cruise is a short cruise of a
couple weeks where the ship, its sailors, and embarked Marines work the bugs out. The ship returns to port and a few days later
sets sail for a 6 month or longer deployment.
was on a shakedown cruise.
· The theater sound system was down.
· One public toilet in a high traffic
area had the door hung wrong and it would not close. How does this not get inspected?
· The Hub was down for half the cruise.
When it works, it’s great. When it doesn’t,
not all areas of the ship are ready to operate in degraded mode.
· People who needed to check account
balances used the kiosks so much that they broke down.
· The Wi-Fi was down and the guest
services folks tried to convince a line of 100 that never lessened that it was
working because they had an email from IT that it was working. When the
Diamond/Platinum line wraps around the atrium, be assured that passengers know
what’s going on and won’t be fed a line.
There should have been a ship-wide announcement and eventually a full
refund instead of pretending everything was working.
· The Guest Services Desk Line was the
most popular excursion of the cruise.
could go on, but it does not need to be recounted here. So, is this guy just a complainer? No, there is a possible silver lining here as
there will likely be issues for all ships coming out of dry dock.
offer a Shake Down Cruise for Diamond and Platinum members? It would be a significantly reduced charge
for the cruise stating upfront that it was a shake-down cruise. Some stuff would still be worked out in the
course of the cruise. Safety, meals, and
port times would be as certain as possible, but hub and internet issues would
get put to the test, as well as other things that somehow were overlooked before
process for what it is and adjust accordingly.
Don’t presume that everything works because the ship left dry dock. This is as naïve as thinking that no
organization would make a 5-hour process into a 2-hour process.
Studios has done this with some success.
Admission was free to a select group but the new theme park was still working out
bugs. If the ride or the special effects
didn’t work right the first time, that was stated upfront.
cruise offered for only Diamond and Platinum members would put the most experienced
cruisers aboard and would set expectations that some things were still being
worked out. Passengers would enjoy a less crowded ship and the crew would not
have to support as many passengers.
would be minimal, but the ship would be fully operational at the end of the
cruise. At least the bugs would be
worked out and all passenger expectations would be met.
it! Risk launching the Carnival Debacle
time and again or schedule a Shake Down Cruise at the end of each dry dock.
As a last
note, the cruise director—Cookie—did a fantastic job to work with what he
had. He could not overcome the corporate
ineptitude thrust upon him, but he did his best to try. I love a man who does not back down from an
impossible challenge. Well done to
Cookie. The same attention to detail coupled
with passion could have made the boarding process less of an ordeal.
concept of a Shakedown Cruise. It could
be a win-win for your most loyal cruisers and for the corporate bottom line when
the reviews going forward are fantastic.
win-win. Think Shakedown Cruise.