BEWARE- Did you know you can take your suitcases off the ship yourself instead of putting them out the night before........
I have held off writing about our family experience on our Christmas cruise out of Tampa on the Inspiration. Our family (14 of us) planned this vacation a year in advance. My family taking Carnival Cruises before had no problem recommending Carnival again. We had 5 outside cabins on the empress deck, and for the most part enjoyed the cruise - until the last day!
As everyone knows, the night before you leave the ship, everyone is told to put their suitcases out the night before, my sister-in-law, also called to double check on this, and was told to have it out by midnight.
The next day, we all relaxed while waiting to get off the ship, waiting for our color to be called. Many of us had belongings with us that we were not able to pack as we needed them the next morning. As we got off the boat and all went to find our suitcases in our color coded section, my nephew who is 21 opened his to put in his belongings (shoes, etc. from the night before)-----Well, what happened next, was a nightmare,,,,,,,,
Most of his clothes, I mean, his bathing suits, dirty underwear, dress shirts, shorts were all missing......his mother's sweater set she wore the night before and put in his suitcase was missing.....seeing this, my brother opened his suitcase to see 2 suits missing also. Well, all the guards, people from customs and carnival employees did not want to know anything, they just wanted us to get out of there, after being persistent, they finally sent over a carnival rep that gave us her business card and took information from us.
We had limos waiting to take us to the airport and we had a plane to catch home. Thinking that Carnival would work with us, and a witness being there from their cruise line,,,,we felt all could be resolved.
Well, to make a real long story short, all that Carnival offered after many letters, documentations showing the receipts for the clothes, photos etc. all they offered them was $500.00 - now this was a Christmas cruise, we all had our best clothing for photos - the suits were brand new....and his clothes were from expensive stores...
Well, what I really want everyone to know is that CARNIVAL TOLD MY BROTHER,,,,,,it is up to your DISCRETION - if you want to put your bags out the night before,,,,,,I could not believe this,,,,,my brother tried to tell them that if everyone took off all their own bags, they would never be able to board new passengers the same day......no one I ever talked to had heard of this before....so, if you really have clothes that your value, insist on not putting them out and take them off yourself....I will never recommend Carnival again, they want you to go through your homeowners insurance, which I do not think is fair. This happened while in their hands - they were probably hoping this is not discovered until you return home and then blame the airlines!!!
That's too bad. I feel for ya but not to recommend Carnival again should have nothing to do with it. If you had a great time on the cruise them some of their baggage handlers screwd up and were dishonest -- they should be fired. With over 2000 people on each cruise this is bound to happen sometime. It's really too bad and I hope Carnival can narrow it down to was handling your luggage the night before.
I'm would think Carnival didn't want take responsibility because it could of been fellow passengers too. There was someone in our color group that took their own luggage off the ship on our last cruise and they managed to whack pretty much everyone around them with their bags and try to run over all the bare toes they could see. I would stop cruising if everyone took their own bags off. That would be a major nightmare on anything longer then a 4 day cruise.
If you had waited until you got home and thought it was the airlines you would of gotten about the same compensation and the same line to go through your homeowners policy for any additional losses.
My only question is, Were these suitcases locked or secured with cable ties? I realize now since 1/2003 it is recommended to not lock suitacses due to security screening at the airport. But if your family did "secure" their luggage, then at least they would not be held liable as the cases where out of their site and observation.
How Carnival handled this is important but it certainly could happen on any other line as well.
Carnival stepped up and gave you $500 which is $300 more than required. It is not Carnivals fault you were ripped off, it is the dockworkers there. It wouldn't matter if you left your suitcases out for the entire week or just had them offloaded that morning. This is the problem with baggage handlers and unlocked suitcases, there are a certain amount of them that have sticky fingers. Most are honest and hard working but the element that isn't hurts them all. We could not find one of our bags in Tampa after getting off a cruise there. We filed a report and went to a relatives home that lives there. I called later that day and they stated they found it and discribed the bag and contents BUT we would have to go to LakeLand and pick it up as that is where they send all unclaimed bags. When we got to Lakeland they had no idea what I was talking about and denied knowing anything about it or ever seeing the bag even though one of the supervisors that I talked to earlier said the bag was at his feet in his office and discribed the contents! Of course that supervisor could not be reached. The contents of this bag was a very nice rope hammock, and other items that we had picked up during the cruise. It was our 'treasure bag' and someone certainly got his treasure. I will say that CCL also stepped up and sent us a check for $250, again $50 more than required.
Nothing would stop anyone from cutting them. And, yes, even if you are flying home, I recommend EVERYONE lock their luggage, even if you are flying. The worst that can happen is that airport security will A) ask you to come unlock your luggage for inspection or B) break the locks themselves to inspect inside.
To me, having broken locks is much better to chance than having stolen goods.
On our flight back from our Feb. cruise from Miami, we had cable tied all of our luggage. A few pieces of luggage were red-flagged for whatever reason and I was called into the bag security area by TSA, where they inspected my luggage in front me, cutting the cable ties. HOwever, they also put brand new cable ties on after they were through looking through my bags.
The cruiselines have no issue with your locking your luggage like they do at the airport. If you are driving to the port go ahead and lock your luggage if it makes you feel better.
When we flew to our last cruise almost 3 weeks ago they would not allow you to hand your luggage to the TSA screener at the airport if it was locked. There was a couple in front of me just having a fit because they had to unlock their luggage. Both airports we flew out of, Milwaukee and Fort Lauderdale have the "behind the scenes" screening and they don't want to have to damage your luggage by cutting off the lock so they just were not taking it until people unlocked it. If you didn't already have cable ties on your luggage they had some available.
Cable ties or luggage locks offer about the same level of protection, they keep the zipper from coming apart in transit. If the TSA people can cut off your locks easily (and it is very easy to do, I had to do it once because I lost a key) then anyone could do that if they really wanted to get it. You just have to be careful because it is easy to damage the zipper if you don't have a clean cut.