The Carnival Cruise Ship "Elation" was not what we expected for
luxury travel. The beds were awful, could feel the springs while
trying to sleep. One of the assistance persons on the 7th floor
deportation area was very arrogant and lack in ability to
communicate with restless passenger, me, she was not willing to
call the director for information I had requested and told me to
"cool it." That did not go over very well as I had been sitting in
my wheel chair for over an hour and in excruciating pain... The
ship DID NOT give any assistance during disembarking to handicapped
people, we were pushed aside, ran into with luggage by other
passengers....(No dignity on this ship for handicapped people by
the ship's personal, other than the room cleaning assistances.) It
was the port folks and customs officers who so kind and gave us
We enjoyed the cruise very much and rate the ship highly (see
scores below). However, there are two faults that potentially occur
with all cruises:
1. Smoking - we always have balcony cabins and on our last trip
its use was spoilt by a smoker next door. As we were aft of him the
smoke always came our way. Either restrict smoking to the aft deck
port side (on Arcadia), only allow it in a designated section of
aft cabins, or an outright ban.
2. Time in port. Generally there is not enough time in each
port. I know berthing fees are astronomical in some ports e.g.
Venice, but a few quid on a ticket that might cost well over
Â£1000 could made a 'day in port' just that.
First let me lead off by explaining that we took our first
cruise in 1991. I'm not sure how many cruises we've been on but it
exceeds twenty. We have had 5 cruises with Carnival. I am always
amazed by people who find so many negative issues on a cruise and
then write a negative review. I usually conclude they are just
negative people as I have always enjoyed my cruises, but some are
better than others. I could never imagine writing a negative
review, until I took a cruise on the Carnival Magic into the
When we departed Galveston It was only 45 degrees, windy and
very cold. The heater in the room didn't work but the AC had the
room at about 50 bone chilling degrees. I called customer services
and waited 25 minutes with no answer (I attempted to call them on
four other occasions just out of curiosity and never got an answer.
Finally I concluded the phone didn't work.). I found our room
steward who got a maintenance person to come. He couldn't fix it so
he turned off the AC and just left
on the ventilation. I still had to stuff a towel in the vent so we
didn't freeze. It was allegedly fixed but we felt the thermostat
was only cosmetic and never worked. I continued to use a towel to
control air flow out of the vent. On the way home we used the hair
dryer to heat the room. In talking with other passengers we found
several with HVAC problems. Repeated attempts to call customer
service went unanswered. Attempts to dial "O" for the operator
yielded no ring and therefore no answer )Out-of order phone).
We enjoy the shows and entertainment on cruise ships and were in
shock on the third night (A sea night) when there was no show.
Instead of a show, the dancers taught passengers three dances and
then held a dance off. We watched because there was nothing else to
do. Actually we were chuckling that somebody from Carnival thought
this was what passed for entertainment. On the fourth night there
was only one show which was held at 10:00 pm. On the night of their
"big show" they opened the doors twenty minutes before show-time.
People began lining up at 40 minutes before. There was no
organization for the lines and it could have been a disaster given
the crowding and line cutting that took place. It was obvious that
Carnival had no idea how to manage a crowd. It was totally
disorganized and tense. People were getting irritated at each other
and one wrong word could have resulted in a real mess.
On our first port stop we had horrible weather with high winds
an torrential winds. Many tours were cancelled and there was little
to do in Mahogany Bay forcing many people back on the ship. We
tried to eat at 1:00 pm and there was no place to sit. Once we
found a table I observed several tables that were not cleaned-up
for 20 minutes. The buffet was under-staffed, it appeared they
never adjusted the staffing to compensate for the over-whelming
extra demand. It appeared that under-staffing was a theme for this
ship. Returning to the ship after being in Cozumel we decided to
get a piece of pizza to tide us over until dinner. The was only one
person making and serving pizza. I was the sixth person in line and
it took over 15 minutes. It appeared he was trying to custom make
pizza's rather than mass produce. There needed to be 2-3 people to
meet the crunch.
Even the entertainment staff was short. On Celebrity or RCL they
would have had two male and two female singers but Carnival had
only two vocalists. Even the show band had only six
instrumentalists. Overall Carnival seems to be short staffing to
try and milk as much profit as possible. This was also illustrated
by the actions of Carnival during our torrential rains. Carnival
was right there with poncho's to serve the passengers but of course
they made them available for a modest fee. How many people bring
poncho's on a Caribbean cruise? Everything on a cruise is to make a
profit, but this bordered on ridiculous.
The buffet was horribly organized. No matter when we went we had
to hunt for a table and wait in long lines. Nothing is worse than
standing in long slow lines while you are trying to relax on
vacation. Carnival really needs to study how RCL sets up their
buffet to minimize lines and crowding. Given the size of the
Carnival Magic the food stations were poorly organized. In several
cases we gave up on the long waits and slow lines and just ate what
we could get to.
Our dining room service was excellent. Tatianna was our head
waitperson and was a good as any we have ever experienced.
Unfortunately the food offered by Carnival has taken a dramatic
downward spiral. Carnival was once the best at sea. We always
looked forward to "Lobster Night." We remember having the waiters
bring extra lobsters around to keep everyone happy. This year it
was "lobster and shrimp." It was hard to tell what was smaller. The
lobster could not have been more than three ounces and it was
tough. The selections for dinner were uninspired and lacked the
creativity from previous years. We have seen a decrease in overall
food quality on cruise ships over the past 10 years, but nothing
like the slide we've seen on Carnival.
Carnival seems to have engaged in a race to the bottom of the
cruise industry. Formal night is now "cruise elegant" which is less
formal than most casual Fridays at work. Many men wore golf shirts
to the "cruise elegant" dinner. Norwegian Cruise Lines has given up
on Formal Night, Carnival should just give up too. I have many fond
memories of past Carnival cruises, but this cruise will be my last
with them. I will definitely seek cruises with RCL, Holland
American, and Celebrity who seem to be better managed. I hope in
future years Carnival can get it back together.