Carnival Cruises, Triumph, Western Caribbean Review

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  • Food - quality & variety

  • Entertainment on board

  • Value For Money

stoker's review of Carnival Cruises, Triumph, Western Caribbean


“My wife and I were disappointed in the mediocre level...”

Written on: 12/04/2004 by stoker (1 review written)

Good Points
Ship itself is beautiful
You can "get away from things"

Bad Points
Poor service, indifferent attitude
Carnival does not respond to problems
Las Vegas entertainment--Las Vegas High School

General Comments
My wife and I were disappointed in the mediocre level of service on the Carnival Triumph. We had been led to believe that you will be pampered on a cruise. Not on the Carnival Triumph. The cruise director openly begged and coached audiences to give "exceed expectations" ratings on comment cards, but never explained what to do if one had a problem. By the way, the purser informed me the cruise director was not available to speak to me, at any time.

Lines of 15-20 minutes were the norm on ship. From late morning until late afternoon, the snack bars averaged waits of 15-20 minutes. Perhaps another person working at these stations would have been considerate for the passengers. I experienced similar long waits at the bars by the pools, taking as long as 15 and 20 minutes for a bottle of beer. Schedule 40 minutes for a beer and a hamburger.

Breakfast and lunch food quality was on par of a Circus Circus Casino $1.99 buffet. The service would be better at Circus Circus. At the sit-down offerings, service was slow and indifferent. One day we waited 40 minutes for breakfast. As we had an appointment to make, we finally asked for a cup of coffee to go. The maitre'd merely shrugged at the slow service, and indicated they don't do coffee to go. Food was sometimes cold and dry from too long under heat lamps. A second cup of coffee or juice was the exception, as servers didn't return after delivering food or just didn't return after requests. Orders were in error or forgotten, but again servers didn't return so orders went uncorrected. A local coffee shop on main street would never survive with service like that.

Dinner was also slow and indifferent. Yes, we did arrive timely for our 8:00 pm sitting. And in fairness, others indicated their wait staff and service were excellent. At our table, seldom were drinks refilled, and we poured our own wine as no one bothered to come by. It wasn't unusual for our main course to arrive at about the time others were receiving their desserts and the staff was beginning their entertainment for the evening. Cold prime rib with coagulated au jus-yummy. Why didn't I send it back? One, it was already late, and two, our server wasn't to be found. Our dessert was offered as the staff was resetting surrounding tables for the next day. Only once, all week, did our server return to ask how our meal was, and that was at the end of the meal. When I did make mention to the purser about the service, the maitre'd and our server both acknowledged our concerns by scolding us for complaining.

The work out area could be quite nice. Unfortunately, the equipment was dirty, a number of pieces of equipment were broken, and there were no staff available in the work out area. The manager sniffed that the equipment was "checked and cleaned daily." During a subsequent walk through with her, she acknowledged the equipment was getting old, observed several pieces which weren't working, a quick wipe with a towel showed the grim (imagine what you couldn't see), and she acknowledged they were short staffed. But she assured me, that by next week the equipment would be repaired, cleaned, and they planned on having more staff.

The ship's daily news lists activities on the ship, including bar specials such as five different champagne drinks. Unfortunately, on two occasions, the staff was not aware of the special (we had to point it out in the publication), nor did they know how to make the drinks.

I did attempt to express my concerns to the purser. Again, the norm was a 15-20 minute line for the purser's desk. We had tried to call several times to avoid the lines. Unfortunately, they weren't answering calls. One time I had a staff member standing with me by a house phone across from the purser's desk, while it rang for over 15 minutes. The staff member just shrugged, he didn't know what to do either. The manager in the work out area also said they oftentimes could not get through to the purser. As an example of the purser's indifference to the needs of the passengers, when we disembarked at the end of the trip (a busy time at the purser's desk) there were only two people working the desk while the line snaked back and around to who knows where.

The purser told me it's a big ship, expect lines. She saw not problem with the waits for food, drinks or levels of service-including the difficulty of reaching the purser. Finally she begrudgingly said she'd "file a report" but no one would follow-up with me, that is not their procedure. (She was wrong; we did get a follow-up, the scolding from our wait staff.) We did get the obligatory form letter offering us 15% off on a future cruise. I asked to speak to the cruise director, and was told that wasn't possible, that I was talking to the purser and that is all their procedure allowed for. I also asked for a follow-up in my evaluation form, but I subsequently learned from Carnival's "guest relations" that Carnival's procedure is to not respond to requests for follow-up.

I will say the ship itself is a marvel. Our room was enjoyable, and steward was excellent. I actually relaxed and would enjoy another cruise. But it is clear that for the level of service that one is led to believe exists, you will need to search out a higher level of cruise line. I would insist on a cruise line that has a customer service operation that is readily available and responsive beyond sending form letters of acknowledgement. If you will note, Carnival Cruises does not prominently list their customer service phone number on their literature or web site. When I did track down a phone number, I was on hold for some 15 minutes (surprise).

  • February 2004

    Date of Cruise

  • 7

    Nights on board

  • Triumph

    Itinerary Name

  • Outside Balcony

    Cabin Type

  • Couple

    Group description

  • Food - quality & variety

  • Entertainment on board

  • Value For Money

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