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> A Nightmare On Carnival Street, If you run into trouble, Carnival says you're on your own!
badcruise
post Feb 1 2009, 01:23 AM
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Ahhh…the cruise. Where you can leave your worries behind, and enjoy visiting new places without the usual cares associated with traveling abroad. At least that’s what you’d think. Well if you are traveling with Carnival, think again. My recent cruise to Mexico, turned into a cruise to hell. Thanks to the uncaring, thoughtless actions (well maybe not so thoughtless. We’ll get into that later) of the Carnival Cruise Lines.

I’m an attorney in Los Angeles and my trip started out as a gift to a few of my clients, who I invited to join me on a leisurely cruise to Mexico aboard the Carnival cruise ship Paradise. Ms. DeLeon, Mr.Del Rio and Ms. Lopez were the members of my group. We boarded the ship around 2:00PM. At 5:00PM Ms. DeLeon and Mr. Del Rio had not had their baggage delivered to their staterooms. Inquiring at the information desk we were told to check back around 7:00 or 8:00PM. We returned to find a long line which from my brief experience, I can only assume is the norm. We noticed two suitcases sitting in the corner near the information office, unattended. Upon closer examination, we realized these were the errant bags we had been waiting on. Unbelievably, the name and correct room number were visibly marked on the bags that were sitting out where anyone could have grabbed them. Our first glimpse of Carnival Cruises cavalier, irresponsible, and uncaring way in which this company conducts itself. Little did we know then, that soon things would go from bad to worse…

Not being an experienced cruise ship traveler, we did not buy any land excursions when we booked the trip, having been told we could book them onboard. Upon arrival in Ensenada we went to the area on the ship, where the excursions were being booked, only to find a very long slow moving line. As our on shore time was limited, (The ship was set to sail at 5:30) we decided to disembark and play it by ear. There on the parking area adjacent to the ship and the pier (an area who‘s access is controlled by Carnival, but more on that later), we saw a bus belonging to Dumas Tours, one of the tour operators used by Carnival, and upon inquiring were told we could book a horse back riding excursion directly through the tour company. We agreed, boarded the bus, purchased tickets for the horseback and Bufadora tour, Had we waited in line to book aboard ship, we would in all likelihood, still have been waiting in line at the activity desk.

We were joined by some fellow passengers who had also chosen to not waste half the day and had booked with Dunas Tours We no sooner had gotten on our horses when the guide, a fellow named Arturo announced he had to go somewhere else, and left us, saying he would return to pick us up. About ten minutes into the ride there was a commotion behind me and turning I saw one of my client, Ms. Lopez laying on the sand motionless. She was unresponsive and in obvious great pain. We would later learn she had a broken pelvis. A man and two women rushed over from the beach to help. One lady ran to her house and called 911.

Police not an ambulance arrived and called the red cross. The rest of the people returned to the bus after we asked them to have Arturo come to the beach. No one showed up and Mr. Del Rio had to go find them. An hour later Arturo showed up with Roberto the driver. They contacted the tour company and were told to take the other passengers to where another bus could pick them up to continue with the tour. They said they would come back shortly, but at that point I wasn’t exactly ready to hold my breath till their return

Finally the Red Cross ambulance showed up and things went from bad to worse to worst. Ms Lopez was immobilized and strapped to a gurney and was put in the ambulance. Our guide showed up about then and agreed to take Ms. De Leon and Mr. Del Rio, and followed the ambulance to the hospital. I chose to ride with my friend in the ambulance.

En route to the hospital the driver announced he had contacted the Paradise and was told to take her to the ship, rather than the hospital. Ten minutes later the driver got another call from the ship saying to take her to the hospital. A few minutes later another call saying to bring her to the ship! I asked the driver if there was another ambulance at the ship but he didn’t answer, and then we arrived at the dock, and were confronted by a security guard who REFUSED TO ALLOW US ONTO THE PIER! Now about this area we were being refused entry into. That area was the one (remember back at the beginning of this) where we initially boarded the tour bus? Good, hold that thought. We’ll get back to that soon.

The ambulance driver got out and argued back and forth with this security guard, even telling him the ship were the ones who told him to bring her there. The security guard still refused to let us pass. After what seemed like an eternity (in actuality about 30 minutes or so), I finally had to beg the driver to just take us to urgent care. Instead of urgent care we were driven to the Red Cross office. And they were totally unequipped to deal with Ms. Lopez’s injury. I had to tip/bribe the driver to please take us to the hospital. To add insult to injury (literally), I had to assure them I had money to pay.

Finally having arrived at the emergency room I asked the hospital staff to call the ship so I could ask them to wait, or at least send our belongings to the hospital. The staff refused to call the ship. I then had to leave my friend and get a cab back to the ship to get both our belongings, passports, and money. Not speaking Spanish I was lucky to get a cabbie who spoke a little English and he took me to the ship.

At 5:00 I arrived back at the ship and rushed to our rooms to pack our things. I called and asked to speak to the Captain. I was refused! I asked for their assistance to help me get back to the hospital to be with my friend. Not only did they refuse, they denied having any knowledge of an injured passenger, and were not responsible for not allowing her back on the ship. The information desk would not even provide me with the name of the head ship officer nor a phone number to call.

Even though I later was told the ship had capable personnel and even an x-ray machine on board, the truth of the matter was blatantly obvious. Carnival did not want to deal with possibly returning to port, or calling a life-flight helicopter if Ms. Lopez took a turn for the worse.

You remember that parking lot on the pier we were refused entry into? That parking area is controlled by Carnival, so the Dunas Tour shuttle had to have their permission to enter that area. Why else were we refused access to the pier area? The Security Guard wasn’t acting on his own behalf to refuse us. This creates the appearance of the buses as being associated with the Carnival Cruise line. But as the fine print on the ticket says, they are not responsible for injuries from any tour not purchased aboard ship or booked in advance with the Company. What that fine print doesn’t say, is don’t expect the minimal amount of compassion due you, if for no other reason than that you are a fellow human being, injured in a strange country, your only life line home the cruise ship, that fails to acknowledge your need and would just as soon cast you off, leaving you stuck in a strange land. There was no life preserver offered. Although if it had been, I have a sneaky suspicion it would have most likely been made of lead.

I was stuck in Ensenada for two and a half days. Two and a half days of sheer hell. Without speaking the language I had to somehow make arrangements to transport Ms. Lopez back to California. After 5 months she is still in horrible pain and unable to return to work, needing a cane to get around. Her injuries will be healing for some time.

As for Carnival, they have so far refused to reimburse us for the cruise tickets, or my out of pocket expenses I accrued staying with my friend. They have refused my requests for any information on the Dunas Shuttle. In fact they have not even so much as offered an apology. Their attitude is as callous, and reprehensible, as their crew was uncaring and unwilling to step up and act with just a modicum of compassion. So if you want to take a cruise, pay more booking your shore tours through the ship or your travel agency. An if your cruise is to Mexico, bring your Spanish-English Dictionary, and whatever you do, don’t do it with Carnival.

THIS JUST IN! It seems Carnival lost another couple passengers this week. An elderly couple “apparently” committed suicide by jumping off the same ship (The Paradise) from their room balcony. It got me wondering. All those passengers missing mid cruise “apparently” lost at sea. Fallen overboard? Maybe stalked by a serial killer among the crew and murdered and tossed overboard? My experience begs the question. Is it possible they were killed ashore while not on an authorized excursion? From this experience I wonder if they (Carnival) would have known we were not aboard when they sailed, if I hadn’t gone back for our things, and made such a fuss?
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starlagurl
post Feb 2 2009, 04:29 PM
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That is definitely a terrible experience. This attitude of Carnival's honestly doesn't surprise me. Traveling independently with traveler's insurance (if you even buy any at all) is your best option I think.

My condolences to your clients/friends.
How are they doing now?


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findingnine
post Feb 2 2009, 06:31 PM
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You are the last person I expected to reply to this in a sympathetic manner. What happened to brassy Louise?


Seriously. Sad that things took such an awful turn, but I've never seen anyone go from whiney to paranoid in such a small space. Am I cold. I hope not. I really don't wish ill on anyone, but crying because a business failed to take responsibility for decisions that were outside the scope of the services they provide....c'mon an attorney. That requires enough education to be a little less naive right. Things go wrong. Surprise! The line of people to take responsibility was short. Surprise again! Glad you obtained the medical service you needed, but is anyone really supposed to be less likely to use this service because you had a bad experience? I think most people have their expectations off the pedestal and a little closer to the ground. If you wish to share an experience and advice insurance, or planning ahead, or regret the lack of research and encourage others to investigate ahead of time what they are getting for their money, I am with you.

But seriously, to take no responsibility, learn nothing, play the name game and bad mouth a business because they didn't bow down to you.
Then to accuse them of criminal intent. If this was forwarded to them, what action would their lawyers advise them to take...attorney?


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starlagurl
post Feb 2 2009, 06:40 PM
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Well, they were like, blocking them from getting back on the boat? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I think that's a little wrong...


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findingnine
post Feb 2 2009, 06:52 PM
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read it again


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bakasyonista
post Feb 2 2009, 11:58 PM
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If my friend or family got unconscious due to an accident I will not even consider taking him/her back to the cruise ship. That person needs immediate medical assistance only an emergency room can provide.

On our first cruise, I didn’t know what to expect or what to do. I searched the web. Thank goodness for cruisecritic.com. They have wealth of information. I booked an excursion with the cruise ship even though I know it is more expensive but I have the assurance that if I will not make it on time the cruise ship will wait for me. I know if I wait to book my excursion on the ship there is a chance that it is sold out or I will stay and wait in long lines.
No matter what cruise line you take, there is always a space reserved for the cruise ship sponsored excursion buses.

If you don’t make it on time to the cruise ship, the cruise ship will not wait for you. Whatever expenses you will have like flying to the next Port of Call is your sole responsibility. That’s why it is advisable to buy travel insurance.

I don’t understand why you have to ask the Captain for assistance for you to go back to the hospital?


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aopaq
post Feb 3 2009, 12:11 AM
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Seeing as the experience is supposedly written by an attorney, I get the impression that he has tried all legal means to make Carnival more accountable without success and so is resorting to putting up this post. I guess I can understand the need to vent ... at times. ranting2.gif

But it could be that the underlying lesson here (partially mentioned in the post) is the importance of reading the fineprint on the ticket. I would not be surprised that Carnival is justified in refusing to take on board someone who has been checked into a hospital or is seriously injured for the safety of the injured party. And given that she had to spend two days in the hospital, that was probably the best decision.

This is not to say that Carnival staff probably could have acted with less confusion (concerning where the ambulance should go) and a bit more compassion but a lot depends on the way in which people are approached. This could well be a factor into why the company is choosing not to make any type of compensation. It is really impossible to make an accurate assessment of the entire circumstances without hearing the other side of the story (from the company and their employees). I am sure this type of incident was not the first to ever happen and Carnival very probably has a policy on how to deal with such accidents.

I guess the other lesson is to always get medical insurance (which will hopefully come through for you) and bring a language dictionary!

As for the serial killer among the crew comment, that was just silly and undermined my entire belief that you are actually an attorny!
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findingnine
post Feb 3 2009, 12:16 AM
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any bets on if the poster represents a competing cruise line?


I'm still waiting for the web page plug...


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starlagurl
post Feb 3 2009, 09:07 AM
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Yeah, the whole thing is kind of fishy. Who really knows what's true or not? I just hope that (if she exists) the lady is OK.


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kenito
post Jul 2 2009, 11:13 PM
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Since the original poster has not returned to this post, my guess is that the intention was to blast Carnival and disappear. Kind of like a sniper. Or a assassin. Or a hit and run.

I live in Baja. I am a cruiser. I am a Carnival passenger in the past, and am booked in the future. I have been a passenger on a Carnival ship, making a port call in Ensenada. I live within a short drive of Ensenada... I am familiar with the locale.

Let's review... this high-powered ambulance chaser decides that he is too good to stand in line, so he goes and negotiates his deal with an independent operator on the pier. Okay it was his first cruise (guess Catalina was booked) but there is no pretense that Carnival has any influence or control over the pier area or tour hawkers that show up at every cruise pier in the world. He wanted a bargain, he got one.

He doesn't speak spanish, but he understands all the conversations with the police, ambulance drivers, gate attendants, medical personal, etc. Try making that case to a judge... Johnny Cocheran he ain't. Who knows what was said to the ambulance driver at the pier? But it is certain that if you are injured off the ship, they are not going to allow injured patients in need of hospitalization to be brought aboard... and why would you want to? I'm sure our attorney friend was polite when he asked... and no doubt mentioned right up front (as he did in this post) about how he was an attorney.

I am a member of the local Cruz Roja/Red Cross. They can provide very competent emergency care and are THE agency that can get you to the border. They are independent and experienced. They could have transferred the injured friend to a US ambulance at the border within two hours. They do it all the time... that is what the Red Cross is known for.

The US Counsel maintains an office in Tijuana... 90 minutes from Ensenada. A phone call would have had the assistance of the US government at his disposal within minutes.

There are at least a dozen crew, officers, and staff that he could have spoken to on board the ship. He demands (in what must have been a courteous, professional manner I am sure) to speak to the captain... all in the few minutes he has before the ship sails. But no... he misses his chance to ask for advice... and instead makes demands.

So he goes around Carnival, makes his own arrangements with Pedro... Carlos... who was it? And then expects Carnival to interrupt the vacation plans of 2,500 other people because his friend doesn't know how to ride a burro?

He spends two days in Ensenada with a suffering friend when he is less than two hours from the border and US medicine? (BTW... there are some excellent hospitals in Baja.) Sounds to me like he was just trying to run up damages at the expense of his injured friend.

I'm not saying that it wasn't unfortunate, and that it could not have had a better result. But the manner he presents his case here gives me the impression he is an AH who no doubt offended everyone he came into contact with because he thinks he is better than everyone else.

But to blame Carnival for something they were uninvolved with on every level is nonsense. It casts doubt on every other word he says.

By the way... this incident and others receives a full airing down here. Some of his facts are as he reported, but the blame he casts is totally misplaced. That was apparent to me, and from the other reports I have heard.

Just my reflections....

Kenito
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tomtravel
post Jul 23 2009, 11:54 PM
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Not sure if it is too late to add to this...but...

Deb an I do almost all our travel by cruise ship and the naivete of the OP is quite astonishing to me.

Things that hapoopen off the ship have nothing to do with Carnival...or any cruise line! Expecting different is like expecting the bus driver on a motor coach to be responsible for you when you get off the bus!!!

True, the cruise ships have pretty extensive medical facilities on board...including x-ray machines and other diagnostic machinery....BUT....these facilities are nothing more than urgent car nursing stations staffed by doctors and nurses trained in trauma. (The point being ...the last place a person with a broken pelvis should be taken is a cruise ship medical clinic!)

People who travel without 'out-of-country' medical insurance are nuts!

Taking private shorex vendor tours....rather than ship sold ones....can be perfectly safe...BUT....you have to do your research BEFORE you get off the ship! Taking an independent tour just because you do not book ship tours in advance and then don't want to stand in line when you get on the ship is not the cruise lines fault.

BEFORE you cruise....as someone else mentioned earlier...spend some time on cruisecritics.com and learn about the ship....destinations...common practices....and the ins and outs of cruising BEFORE you go!

Cruising is perfectly safe and fun way to travel...but like anything travel related you have to do your research before you go.

Just my thoughts.
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