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Old September 4th, 2017, 08:04 AM
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Default Carnival “Best Price Guarantee” on Excursions is a Complete Scam.

We just got back from a Western Caribbean cruise from New Orleans on the Carnival Triumph. We thought the cruise was lackluster and the service not very good compared to our prior cruise, ship was dirty, etc. We think Donald Arnold’s cost cutting is having a distinctly negative effect on the Carnival Cruise line.

However this rant is not about the quality of the cruise but about the “best price guarantee” on excursions. Prior to our prior cruise we had booked the Cozumel Beach, Snorkel and Wave Runner excursion with Carnival over the phone. We booked it for my wife and 17 year old daughter. My 10 year old son wanted to go but we were told at the time of booking that he would be free and that we just needed to get tickets on the ship. I could not go because I had to work on the day we would be in Cozumel.

When we visited the Excursion desk to get our tickets we were told by Loyson Peneina that we would need to pay for our son - $49.99 passenger rate. We decided to just go ahead and pay even though we were a little upset at the “bait and switch” tactics.

On the morning in Cozumel I decided to walk with my family to the rendezvous point for the excursion. Upon arrival we had to wait for other passengers to arrive. I was asked by Edwin (the tour operator) if I wanted to go along as a passenger. I asked how much and he said $29. I told him I could not go because of work but did verify that indeed the “passenger” rate of $29 was for the same “passenger” rate that we had bought for our son.

The next day I talked to Minnie at the customer service desk and then to Loyson again at the Excursion Desk. I was told that it was “impossible” that I was offered this rate and that Carnival would not honor their low price guarantee. I told him this was true and my family were all witnesses.

I sent an email to Icare@carnival.com outlining the issue thinking that they had to refund 110% of the difference as all their claims stated. I promptly received a an automated response

“Depending on the nature of your request, and the amount of research required, our response time may vary; however, a member of my team will be in touch with you within the next seven days. “

I did not hear back for 10 days so called. I discussed the excursion and the pricing. After some deliberation I was told that the excursion that was offered to me by Edwin was not equivalent because it did not carry a guarantee that I would not be left in port if I was late back to the ship and that the only excursions that carried this guarantee were Carnival ones. I pointed out that my family was on the same excursion so I would return at the same time as my family and if we were late the ship would wait for them. I also informed the operator that I had insurance that would pay for me to go to the next port and meet the ship if I was late. The operator discounted both of my protestations and said that the best price policy was that it had to be exactly equivalent.
Do not waste your time and expect Carnival to make good on their Excursion Best Price Policy – it is a sham. Also do not expect your Carnival Cruise to be what it was 2 years ago. The cost cutting is having a profoundly bad effect.
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Old September 4th, 2017, 10:49 AM
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First, this is why you should always book through an agent - they have contact information not available to you and can get problems solved quicker and easier than you can without you going through all the hassle.

Second, never talk to a reservationist and expect they are going to be 100% correct on the information they provide you. Their job is to sell you something and that's it. They're not travel agents, they've only worked for the company less than 6 months, work in a call center, and have never been on a cruise.

Third, I would never suggest purchasing shore excursions offered by the cruise line. Most of the time, they charge more, they're very regimented, and they're always crowded. Much better booking independent excursions - may be the same price, but they are not as regimented and never as crowded, so they're much more enjoyable.

Fourth, the people doing the excursion for the cruise line are contract vendors - they do not work for Carnival. So, when you talk to them about a price, they're not representing Carnival - they're representing themselves. It's not unusual at all for them to give you different information than what Carnival provides.

But just because the contractor verbally gives you a different rate, is not an acceptable reason to file a claim. The 110% shore excursion guarantee specifically states, "Lower rate must be publicly advertised and available to the general public at the time your claim is filed." No cruise line offering any guarantee for anything is going to acknowledge a claim unless there is verifiable documented proof.

So, while I understand your displeasure with Carnival, you're right about one thing; ever since the bean counters took over, Carnival has gone downhill. It's become more about quantity than quality.

I think it's time for you to find a better cruise next time.

Pete
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