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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Carnivals Nasty Little Policy

Almost all cruise lines rely on ambiguous descriptions of their staterooms and categories. It’s a universal fact that you’d have to a border line rocket scientist to figure out the never ending array and classifications of those dreaded categories.

Some cruise lines are worse than others and some are just downright deceptive. Take for example Carnival’s Spirit Class of ships. The Spirit, Pride, Legend, and Miracle all have a sinister secret that Carnival will not disclose to the public.

When you book a Suite you have a certain expectation. Most of this expectation is based on two items. The first is Carnival’s description of stateroom. The second, if you do your research, is the deck plan of the ship. The JS category on the Spirit Class ships look great. According to Carnival you get a spacious room, a private balcony, even a real tub!

Each of the Spirit Class ships has only two JS code staterooms. The fact that there are only two is your first warning but after reading the description and seeing the deck plan any reasonable person would ignore that warning even if it occurred to them.

What Carnival is not telling you is that staterooms 4226 and 4235 do not match their descriptions and the deck plans are VERY deceptive. The balconies on these “suites” are close in size to a normal balcony. You may wonder how that is possible when the room is so large. What Carnival tries to hide is the fact that there is an external stairwell that greatly reduces the size of your balcony. This also means that your balcony is far from private. Carnival is quick to explain to anyone who questions this that there is a partition in place. That’s like putting lipstick on a pig. It doesn’t change what it is.

Now you also might be wondering what happened to the rest of the room. Well you’ll be pleased to know that you have a nice window with a lovely view of the stairwell. You might as well just keep the shade pulled. If you don’t, remember to stay fully clothed when you are in front of the window. That’s not exactly what you think of when you think private is it?

This would not be an issue if Carnival explained this before someone booked the room. However, you will not find out this info unless you Google your room number. Carnival will not tell you of any of these issues in advance.

If you think they do not know about the problem you are very wrong. Carnival has been receiving complaints for years. Think I’m kidding? Check out this link.

Interesting isn’t it. Not only does Carnival know, they said they would look into it. However, in the last few years Carnival has not fixed the problem. All you need to do is Google stateroom 4226 or 4235 and you will get a ton of hits, both old and new.

So why wouldn’t Carnival fix this? Here is my theory on that subject. Staterooms 4226 and 4235 are listed as Junior Suites which mean they can get top dollar for them. If you admitted there was a problem with those rooms you could not get the same rate, you’d have to seriously discount them. Now take a minute and check out the complaints on line about these staterooms. Do you notice something in common? In most cases the issues were resolved when Carnival offered the disgruntled customers onboard credit on a future cruise. I’m both offended by that but at the same time it’s a really smart move. Think about that for a minute.

You over charged for a room, ended up with an upset customer, but appeased them by convincing them to buy another cruise. Worst case you probably break even. If half of people never cruise again you still have half that you know are going to cruise again and have a much better experience because they either know what to expect or wouldn’t be dumb enough to book that room again.

That is my theory as to why Carnival does not fix this problem. They don’t have to. They are actually making money by creating a problem. Is it right to do that? In my opinion absolutely not but if they are making money on it, they are going to keep doing it.

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