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About JStarbrite

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Wyandotte, MI USA
  • Interests
    flyfishing, cycling, martial arts
  1. I noticed the servers are not that motivated to get you a drink when you have the Cheers package. You do pay an 18% tip on the card, but I don't know how it is distributed. I got much better service when I paid for each drink.
  2. Don't get me wrong. Cruises are like pizza and women. They are all good, it's just that some are better than ever. :) I've been on 9 cruises, all with Carnival. For me, it was the worst ever. I did complain at dinner to the Maitre d' who took our cabin # down. Nothing became of it. Carnival makes you prepay tips. Tips stands for "to ensure promptness". When you don't get your drink it should = no tip! I don't like to complain on vacation. I try to make the best of it. I feel at least, I should receive all of my 15% on the cheers card, and a portion of what I paid on the cruise.
  3. I did not heed the warnings about the Paradise, thinking that it was just the naysayers who just like to complain about anything. Yeah, the cruise was cheap, but I've been on inexpensive cruises from Carnival before with much better service. First the good: Food was exceptional. I did not have a bad meal anywhere. Better than most Carnival cruises. Food service was good as always. Entertainment was fantastic. Great comics, a full live troupe of dancers and live music, and live music in front of the casino. The Lido deck had recorded music. Piano bar was fun. The cruise director was a fantastic fiddle player. One of the most memorable moments of the cruise was when he played "Devil went to Georgia". Most of the crew members remembered my name. My wife had happy birthday sang to her twice! Now for the bad: When we arrived, our cabin had no ice bucket and only one glass. Figuring that we would not be back to the cabin until much later, we thought that they would just provide one when they came in for the turndown service. There was no turndown service the first day. We called and got a bucket of ice delivered albeit it was two hours before it arrived. It makes me wonder if we even had clean sheets the first day. There was no basket of anatomies in our cabin. When we called to get them, we were told we had to go to the gift shop and purchase them. When my wife called customer service to get a hair dryer, they told her we had to call room service, who told us we had to call housekeeping. When we reached our steward Joan, she said she was sleeping. Imagine that, doesn't Carnival cover shifts while their employees sleep? The room steward never provided us with the breakfast door hanger. We had to go to guest services every day and pick one up. I know the ship is due for drydock soon, but the carpet looked dirty,and even had a burn hole in it. The drapes look dingy and the cabin just had an over all dirty feel, like you're staying at a cheap hotel. Although we paid our tips for the Cheers card, bar waiters and waitresses were almost nonexistent. The only way to get to the drink would be to go up to the crowded bar. I ordered a martini as soon as we sat down for elegant night, it did not come until after we were finished with the entire meal. We complained to the maître d', but he did nothing. Bar service in the casino was nonexistent. If you want a drink you had to leave your game and go to the bar. You rarely saw a waiter or waitress on the Lido deck. My wife ordered a drink on the serenity deck, after a half an hour she got up and went and got herself. We stayed an additional hour and the drink still did not come. I ordered a beer to chase down the bloody Mary we got on sea day brunch, it never arrived. I guess Carnival went to self-service when it comes to drinks. Ironic because that is where they make their profit. There was only one crew member that had a genuine smile throughout the cruise, Nina. The rest of the crew looked ragged or put out a forced smile. Carnival must be working these people to death. I know the ship is registered out of Liberia, but really, their work practices need to be investigated. This is the first cruise were I should have gone to the purser's desk and demanded a refund for my tips. On a land base operation, the only one who deserved a tip was our food servers. I still may write them and request a refund. My wife already wrote them a nasty letter. This may be my last cruise with Carnival. If they offer to make things right, I may give them a second chance as this was the first time we ever had a bad experience out of nine cruises.
  4. I just posted the same question!
  5. Our flight out of Tampa does not leave until 4:30. We would like to hang around the port, and go to the aquarium after we disembark. Will Carnival safely stow our luggage until we are ready to go? We also have prepaid transfers. Will we be able to take a shuttle back later?
  6. I cancelled a diving excursion because I was sick. The purser was not going to issue a refund, until I threatened to complain to the head office. Then they refunded all but 20%, and let me know that that was a favor, they did not have to refund anything at all without proper prior notification.
  7. I tip the maître d’ if he or she helped seating us to a desired location, or was entertaining and attenitive to out satisfaction. From what I understand, the maître d’ is not included in the tip pool. I wonder if Ken, the singing maître d’ is still around?
  8. I don't know if it still is, but the north part (where the road ends) of Playalinda Beach is clothing optional.
  9. It looks like there's a lot to do right the port. Our flight home is not until 3:40. Is there a way to stow your luggage somewhere and hang around for a while. When is the last carnival transfer?
  10. It used to be that you could purchase chips at the casino, and then turn them in for cash without getting hit with a % charge. Still true? If not, what is the charge? Any charge to cash in travelers checks, or just tough it out with pure hard cash?
  11. Can I purchase the card ahead of time, when I check in, or do I have to wait until I get on board?
  12. Show me the way Master! So many have said all inclusive is the way to go. I have 3 people, air, food, drink, entertainment, top notch service, and excursions for around $2,000 TOTAL. That's extra because grandma has a cabin of her own, and OCEAN VIEW. I will be seriously taking notes on a cheaper, yet better way Tell me a cheaper, similar cruise experience, and I will try it. I'm not just looking for cheap, just the best value for the$$
  13. Sorry, I'm a moral person who tries his best not to cheat, steal, lie, or scam. When I do, I feel guilty and ashamed. Sorry if you feel that that is ridiculous and funny. Yes, other cruise lines have more lenient policies on their programs, but look at what they charge for the cruise itself, whether you drink or not. Both the wife and I drink on vacations, myself more than her. I'm sure I will make up for any shortcomings on her part! I too like to have a bloody Mary for breakfast on sea days, a couple of mojitos on deck, a martini before dinner, wine with dinner, and a cordial after. Then maybe a couple of beers at the casino or shows. That's a lot to smuggle! I also like to be adventuresome and try a new concoction every now and then. Cmecruise1962, you can be my sponsor!
  14. What time do the shuttles start? We will be arriving at 11:15
  15. This will be my first time departing from Tampa. Can someone please tell me how long is the transfer from the airport to the ship?
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