I'm a first time cruiser. We left on Carnival Paradise on 10/17 for the 4 day cruise to Baja Mexico. We arrived early and did the early check-in on the Queen Mary. The staff advised us that there was a delay, but did not elaborate. We were with friends who have been on 5 previous cruises, including the Paradise; they said it probably wouldn't take long and we would be on the Lido deck eating by 12:30pm. We had arrived at LAX at 8:25am, breakfast was at 4:30am so we wanted to eat immediately. Also, I had no sweater and was not expecting to stand in the rain for 5 1/2 - 6 hours while waiting to board! Not one Carnival employee came out to tell the waiting passengers exactly what the delay was and how long it would take to board.
We stood at the front of the line underneath the white overhang/shade area so we could stay dry. We did not begin seeing passengers debark until around noon. We had no idea that we were experiencing the debarkation of the "Groove Cruise." Of course, we had some idea once we began seeing these strangely dressed people. I would guess that at least 50% of them were high on something. Their conversations were bizarre. Several passengers told us that a girl had died on the ship from an overdose, and there had been FBI and Police on board investigating and would not allow them to get off the ship until they had completed their investigation. Also, another passenger had died in Ensenada. Again, not once did anyone from Carnival come out and advise us what the delay was. Tempers were flaring and people were very obviously upset. I saw many elderly people in wheelchairs who were drenched from the rain. There was plenty of room in the "terminal" but they were not allowed to enter. I am still very angry about that.
It took approximately 3 hours for the passengers to leave the ship. The cruise employees (bar tenders), told us that the passengers did not want to get out of bed and did not pack. The passengers did not sleep and many employees worked 17 hours straight. When we asked for more details, they would not say anything. That's their policy. Ok with me.
There was never a public address announcement to advise the boarding passengers. They never transported people to the Queen Mary to wait, which would have been the appropriate thing to do if they could not allow people into the terminal.
We were lucky to be in front and were in the Paris Restaurant by 4pm eating. We watched people continue to board the ship until at least 6pm.
I have located the website for the groove cruise and it was definitely a well thought out cruise for a very specific type of clientel.
I could go on as there were more things that occurred which made our initial day difficult.
I know that it was not Carnival's fault that two people died while on their cruise. My concern is that they did not advise of the delay and did not get those wet and cold elderly people out of the cold and somewhere warm. Hey, a free drink may have been just the ticket, but absolutely nothing was done. Is this usually how cruise ships respond?
On our return, we were out of our room before 8am and off the ship by 9:30am. I saw only a few people waiting to board. Obviously having the FBI and police on board delayed, but it did not take us 6 hours to debark.
Thanks for reading. Sorry it is a long post.