Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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    Monday, May 25, 2009

    Back in the Saddle

    Well, the cruise is done. Carnival is not as good a company as Princess, based on my experience. The shipboard facilities were certainly adequate, and the cabin stewards were typically extraordinary with their ministrations.

    However, the food service really wasn't up to par... which sounds funny when you realize I ate all my meals at the buffet. It's just that most of the food was rather bland and uninspired. Several desserts, which one would expect to be sweet (like cheesecake) instead had all the flavor of sawdust.

    Where Carnival really dropped the ball however, was in the non-American excursions. We had a long announcement at the beginning of the cruise, where the cruise director ("Big Tex", heh) practically begged us to book our excursions through Carnival. The excursions really sucked. Snorkeling tours ran out of swim fins, refreshment costs bordered on outright robbery, and the vehicles involved were best described as deathtraps. All of this was bad enough, but then when we received our comment cards at the end of the cruise, it was clear that the Carnival folks wanted to deflect any and all responsibility for bad excursions away from Carnival.

    They never said anything outright, but the comment cards had zero questions about excursions or ports of call, and the atmosphere of disavowal was all but palpable in the discussion of the cards. This doesn't fly with me. These guys made a point of getting us to sign up for excursions through them, stating that it was the "best" way to see our ports of call and make sure we got the most for our money. If the excursion is not up to par, they bear some responsibility for making sure that the tour operators fix it. They should not be contracting with tour operators who blow it for the guests. Rather than deflecting responsibility, they should be taking it head-on and putting the screws to these people to straighten up and fly right.

    I marked my card as "won't be using Carnival again". Whether that's true or not remains to be seen. I'd love to hear from the Carnival folks (and they have all my contact info), and I'd love the opportunity to read them the riot act over this crap. But at the moment I'm not holding my breath.

    Posted by Tom, 5/25/2009 5:51:24 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...