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Roka October 23rd, 2005 06:58 PM

Paradise Issues!
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.

DavidB October 24th, 2005 02:30 PM

Okay Roca, I dont do reviews,,,sorry it reads that way. I think

You may or not have something to gripe about, can we have the condensed version please :shock: As this for experienced cruisers is not making sense. Quote

"We had arrived at LAX at 8:25am, breakfast was at 4:30am so we wanted to eat immediately"

People on ship do not get breakfast at 4:30am. :-? Unless going off ship for a 6am flight, not going on. See my confusion?

Read it again and come back, you brain dumped and we are missing the KEY facts here my new CM friend

CA Cruiser October 24th, 2005 03:45 PM

I heard about the deaths earlier. Sorry you had to wait so long. Unfortunately very inconvenient but out of Carnival's control with the FBI in charge.

DavidB, if I understand correctly, they flew in and arrived at 8:30am but ate breakfast at 4:30 am at homebase BEFORE their flight and they were starving. We usually eat light in the morning before boarding too because we know we can eat lunch around 1pm. Unfortunately, this was not the case for them. I really feel bad for the elderly in wheelchairs in the rain. I wonder why the FBI wouldn't let them in the Terminal knowing it was raining.

hazelson October 24th, 2005 04:50 PM

I guess my question would be - why would you just stand there. Not being mean but I would have just wandered back to the Queen Mary and taken a tour of the old gal. There are also several spots to get food on the Queen Mary and at the dock area. Also the Queen Mary is about a five minute walk from the dock area - so I can't see how anyone could be "transported". The car park area is also covered so anyone that stood out in the rain didn't need to.

I feel sorry that you had to wait - but it sounded as if Carnival could not have done anything else - the FBI would definately be making the rules. Where they seemed to have dropped the ball was their lack of information to the passengers. If you had been told you had a couple of hours to wait - then you could have chosen to do something else for a while. There seems to be a herd instinct involved here - people get in line and stay there - me I would have come back later - but then I don't usuallly folow the crowd LOL

Did you ever get any more infor on the deaths - that would really freak me out.

Don't let this put you off cruising - I hope your next experience will be perfect.

ttfn Jennifer

Roka October 24th, 2005 09:27 PM

Correct, breakfast was at home. Sorry for the confusion.

The Carnival staff kept telling us it would be "just 15 more minutes" before we could board, and told us this so many times I've lost count. There were huge puddles of water and the rain was quite heavy at times, so getting to the carpark or to the Queen Mary would have been possible, but we would have gotten totally wet. I was not dressed for rain or wind. We had already toured the QM before, plus there were 1000 - 1500 people in line behind us and if we left our spot, I am sure we would not have gotten on until 6pm or even later.

My gripe is not really about my discomfort although it wasn't the way I expected to spend the day. I was wet and freezing, but I'm not 85 and in a wheelchair and after a cup of coffee and some hot food I was fine. Seeing the Carnival staff standing inside the doors nice and dry as they looked out at us was something else. All they had to do was make a loudspeaker announcement to advise the delay and organize people into "holding" areas. The people at the middle and end of the line had absolutely no idea what the delay was, but they still waited, just like everyone else.

Once on board things were looking up. The next morning my husband took a shower and the drain system was totally plugged and the water did not drain away. We had one of the disabled rooms, where there is wheelchair access to the shower. There is no lip between the shower and the bathroom arean. When he opened the bathroom door, the water spewed into the room leaving a 8 inch wide and 4 foot long wet patch of carpet. The steward came immediately and using a pen, he poked holes into the drain and some of the water drained. I showered and we left for Catalina. After lunch we returned to our room, but it had started to smell bad. The steward told us he had no way to dry the carpets. We went to the pursers office and they gave us a room with a window, so that made up for our inconvenience and the rest of the trip was very nice.

I do plan another trip, probably to the Carribean. I would not rule Carnival out. I have not seen any news stories about the deaths. I know for certain there was an overdose and a 2nd death in Ensenada, but that's all.

I do plan on writing to Carnival to complain about the disrespectful treatment of those elderly people. They eventually did begin to move them inside, but we had to wait probably 4 hours before they did this. Any tips for writing to Carnival?

I'm long winded. Sorry again for the long post again.

Sailing gal October 25th, 2005 07:56 AM

Did the ship set sail on time? It sounds like it must not have but might make a difference in whether they compensate. I was boarding a Carnival ship where a guy on the previous cruise had a heart attack. A Carnival representative called us the night before to let us know that the set sail time had changed. We were also given a $50 on board credit. There were some people who had to fly in way early and the cruise insurance paid for having a meal out because they needed to eat. I always pack a snack in my carry-on to hold me over. The fruit or granola bars work well in a pinch.
You can only go uphill from that experience.

DavidB October 25th, 2005 04:17 PM

Roka, my apologies for my previous reaction on post. I have taken the time to read all above and what you experienced..

But what time did you actually get on ship? What time did you turn up on the dock to board?

As a first timer you can be excused in thinking that because the ship is in the port at 7am or even 11am that you can board then. Sorry, no-one can board until all are off and they have cleaned up and cleared customs in that "all previous had left ship".

So usually you cannot even begin to board any ship until at least 2pm.

Your friends that had cruised 5 times before should have known this and not turned you all up at the dock at 9am. If I read this right.

I maybe still misreading this and if so I apologies, but I cant see the lines fault regarding expected boarding times. There was no delay in the usual boarding time that I have ever seen.

TBug October 28th, 2005 01:27 PM

I think the real point that Roka is making is communication!

We had an embarkment problem with Carnival recently that I wrote about in my review. The short story, for DavidB sake :wink: , is that the computers went down, then the staff just left and did not let the waiting passengers know anything. They waited for 4/5 hours also with no info. We personally did not have the problem because by luck we and only a few hundred others, got there before they crashed. However people complained for days about this. I heard the same story everywhere I went. Mainly they said because the staff just walked away from behind the counters. We were not dealing with dead bodies or FBI either. Just no communication.

Mike M October 28th, 2005 01:52 PM


I have to disagree with you on the 2:00 PM boarding. On all of my cruises the latest I have ever boarded is 1:00 PM. (Legend in Fort Lauderdale) If you show up at 9AM or 10AM you will have a LONG wait and just setting yourself up for frustration. The staff does have to disembark the returning passengers, turn the ship, take on provisions and put on new smiling faces for the next 2,000 + arriving cruisers. I'm always amazed at how they can do this in about five hours. On a few occasions my cabin hasn't been ready but I've always been able to drop my carry-on and head upstairs for lunch.

I have found the best time to show up is around 11:30 AM. A 2:00 PM boarding will put you in the most congested time with the cruise air passengers. (U.S. Caribbean cruises). Granted if there is a customs/immigration problem, such as drugs or people smuggling you are going to wait a long time.

Take care,

Jim Bragg October 28th, 2005 02:53 PM

Ships usually state in their documents that boarding will begin between 1 and 2PM. That said, we are often onboard by noon or shortly thereafter because they are so good at changing over. We have gone by the embarkation area at 9AM in the past and observed people standing there waiting in line, why, I have no idea. :roll: While we are often one of the first onboard and actually have been first onboard twice somehow, we do not show up before 11AM as that seems to be the time that they sometimes start. If not, then we usually do not have but an hour or two to wait at the most. Passengers often continue to board right up until sailing.

DavidB October 28th, 2005 03:13 PM

Hey, T, respect, but don't ever make the mistake of explaining your postition for my sake in any discussion. I read very well on my own, thanks.

This is not about computers, lines or ships. This is about people of a certain age who can turn up hours before the on board show starts, to get their seat and keep either it or them and sometimes with vengence!

You cant sit here!, we have all seen them

They also plan their lives around being at the front of the line,,,for anything.

So they also turn up to board a ship expecting to board when they arrived, and to be honest when no-one else would or expect. But they are at the front of the line, and feeling good,,,made it.

Then they complain because it did not suit their expectation or timescale as to when their personal cruise started.

Forget the line, ship or whatever. Tell me different based on reality and if someone is prepared to stand / sit on a dock for being "first in line". Then for me you take all what goes with it. End of story, that was their choice. It was only bad because they got wet and that was the lines fault! Eh dont think so

Did the line say turn up at that time and expect them to board,,or did they and lets be honest, try to get ahead of the line? And it did not work!

Mike, okay an hour out, but the scenario still stands for some out there.

Never got an answer to what time they hit the dock, and when they actually got on ship

Mike M October 28th, 2005 04:07 PM


One should show up at the dock at 11:26:31 AM LOL

I also wonder about the "first in line" folks. Yes, it's nice to get on the ship early and enjoy lunch and explore a ship but to get there at 9:00 AM just to hurry up, wait and then complain because you had to wait, makes no sense to me. I'm not saying this is what the OP did but I've seen those that have.

My wife and I were going down to breakfast at the Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale at 8:30 and the couple in the room next to us were taking their bags in the elevator. I asked if they were heading home. They replied "No, we're going to the ship." I just smiled and said: "Have a nice cruise." It was too late to talk them out of it, they were going out of the elevator door as they were responding. :-?

Take care,

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