I have been on 8 cruises and 3 different cruise lines. (4 Carnival, 3 Royal Caribbean & 1 Celebrity) The last 4 cruises I've used a wheel chair and/or a cane. We just sailed on the Carnival Valor 9/25. We experienced the poorest customer service we have ever experienced on this cruise, especially where disablity cruising is concerned.
I secured a handicapped cabin and spoke with Customer Care prior to going on this cruise. I explained that I would be using a wheel chair part of the time and also walked with a cane (but I'm unsteady on this cane). I was assured that we would be helped getting on and off the ship and that going ashore would be no problem since we were not tendering any of the ports (E. Caribbean).
Embarkation was great. I was assited in every way. And that's where the service ended. It was cabin number 6207 and furtherest forward on that deck. Furtherest away from everything. My "handicapped" cabin had no wheel chair acceess to the balcony. This cabin was so narrow, there was no way to put the wheelchair along beside the bed. The roll in shower had both a drop down seat and a chair in it but the lighting was terrible. It was very dark. We went to the buffet lines for lunch and NO ONE offered any assistance there. At times I used a cane and woudl be balancing a cane in one hand and a tray in the other. I passed many crew members who never offered to carry my tray. I was barely acknowledged. I could not reach many items in the buffet lines because of the wide lip on the counter. (Let alone see some of the items because of how high they were on the counters). The salad dressing were impossible to reach if you wanted one of the types in the rear of the serving area. In the Grill, NO wheelchaired person would be able to see (or be seen) over the serving counter. The same was true at the Deli.
Going ashore was another bad experience. My husband had to bring me & my wheelchair down the gang way most of the time. There was only 2 times where a crew member offered to help. Most of the time, we asked other passengers to assist us. Never before had we experienced this on a cruise. Always before, a crew member instisted on taking me up and down the ramp. This lack of assistance is an accident waiting to happen.
As far as the Non-handicapped issues are concerned, the service was poor all the way around. Our cabin was not made up the first 2 mornings until well in the afternoon. We are early risers and when we left in the morning we put out our "Make up room" sign on the door so the steward would know we were gone. Our daily "Capers" were thrown away even though we had them layed aside. In the dining room, the wait staff was very slow. When we did not clean our plates we were asked if we did not like the food. Each time we explained that we are not hearty eaters. Each time the staff would say - "I can get you something else if this was not acceptable" Again we would say we had we were full and liked what we had. The wait staff acted nearly insulted that we did not clean our plates. There was only one non smoking table in the Casino and NO non smoking slots. I am an x-smoker and always before, the casino was half non smoking with half the tables being non smoking.
Debarkation was terrible. The wheelchaired passengers were taken off the ship last. They were only taking one person at a time off. We waited over half an hour to be taken off the ship after arriving at our designated area at our designated time.
I have written to Carnival discussing these failures in service. I did not write in a complaining mannor, only in an informing way. I did not ask for anything, just explained that things need to change.
Like I said, this is my 4 Carnival Cruise. I will think twice before I book another Carnival cruise. I was swo disappointed by them this time, I'm not sure I want to try their line again.
Wow, Cruisequeen, I am so surprised and disappointed at the treatment you received. When we were on Carnival previously (most the Paradise) the crew was very helpful....going down the plank to the tender, etc., etc. Although when we were on Royal Caribbean they weren't quite as acommodating.
Here is the # to the Special Needs Desk....maybe you already have it, but I would DEFINATELY call them and let them know of their shortcomings. Someone needs to do it, and it might help you or someone else in need in the future....
Wishing you a better future cruise! You deserve it...
# to Special Requirements Office 800/438-6744 ext 70025
8/92 Mex. Riv. Commodore
9/98, 9/00, 9/02 & 7/04 Caribbean - Paradise
10/00, 08/05 Pac. Wtrs. Holiday, Monarch
04/06 Hawaii - Celebrity Summit
09/07 Alaska - Celebrity Summit
07/09 Western Caribbean RCCL Liberty of the Seas
Thanks! I did write them a letter explaining the problems we encountered on the Valor. I tried to be as informative a possible, without sounding like I was a complainer (I was called worse on the Carnival board section of this site). I got a "nice" letter back from Carnival expressing their appologies and offering me on board credit and an in cabin gift if I sail Carnival again within the next 18 months. It was nice of them to do this and I did not ask for type of compensation. They suggested I let them know of my needs prior to sailing. I had already told them in my letter that I had contacted special needs prior to sailing and they were aware of my needs. Well - it was nice of Carnival to do this and they didn't have to do anything.