Carnival Review – Dear Carnival CEO: Your Cruise Line Sucks

carnival review

If I had read a Carnival review like this before my recent cruise, I may have had second thoughts.

I recently had the misfortune pleasure of being tortured vacationing on the Carnival Paradise. While there were some relaxing moments, some horrible experiences left a sour taste in my mouth.

Without further ado, I present my case on why Carnival sucks:

Carnival Review – The Bad

Can you say, “tender line?”

I swear, if you’re about to cruise and the boat is tendering to an island, don’t go.

If you’re already committed to the cruise, opt to stay onboard the ship while everyone else goes ashore. Enjoy the post-apocalyptic wasteland peaceful serenity the boat has become.

Everyone’s jumping ship and headed to an unforeseen madness. Now’s a great time to enjoy the pool deck all to yourself, or not have to clash elbows with little kids sucking down the endless soft serve ice cream. Yum.

Tendering has become a necessary evil in the cruise business, I guess, but why it even exists in the first place is anyone’s guess.

If you’re unfamiliar with tendering, it involves jamming you and 250 of your closest sweaty buddies on a dinky ship and sailing ashore. While Carnival does a good job of orderly imprisoning lining you up to avoid a log jam, once on shore it’s another story.

Here’s the catch: Everyone needs to return on the tender at the exact same time. What sort of madness is that?!?!

When we returned after the meat packing plant baby turtle excursion on Grand Cayman, we were greeted with an hour long tender line. That means waiting in the beating hot sun for over an hour.

What sort of ridiculous non-sense is that?

Mr. Carnival CEO, have you ever been on one of these tender torture devices experiences? I don’t think you have. Of if you do, you’re certainly not waiting in a ridiculous line with the rest of us lowly people. Cough.

Carnival Review – The Bad #2

What’s the deal with customs?

What a fond memory to get off the boat on the final day, only to wait in line for over an hour at the Tampa Port.

Who’s fault is this? I don’t really know, nor do I care.

But seriously, this was an avoidable catastrophe. We all waited in line, to leave, only to have the customs agent ask us if we had anything to declare. “Nope.” Ok, bye.

WTF?!?! What non-sense was that? I basically don’t want to cruise again just to avoid another one of those gateways to hell misfortunes.

Carnival Review – The Good

While the entire cruise wasn’t a torture-fest, there were lots of positive aspects to the vacation. This entire Carnival review can’t be all bad.

Food – The food was unexpectedly delicious. I had only been on Norwegian prior, and the food was spectacular there as well. Carnival however out did themselves. Granted, the buffet food is standard fare. But the main dining room on the Paradise was something remarkable. Every night was special and I’ll always remember eating things like duck, frog legs, and molten lava cake. It had the elegance of being a fine steak house (even with the bathing suit wearing crowd). I was impressed.

The Crew – The crew on board the ship raised my expectations about cruising to another level. Everyone was attentive and nice. There wasn’t a single questionable interaction. Of note was our attentive cabin steward Muhammed who refreshed our ice bucket daily. And the cruise director Jaime, who’s antics absorbed an evening of conversation, musing over her skill. The verdict – she needed a raise.

Cozumel – While Grand Cayman was something of a crap shoot disaster, Cozumel was quite the opposite. We pulled up to a gorgeous port and left the boat at our leisure. Getting back on board was just as simple, to return to our stateroom, and take a nap. Renting Jeeps, checking out Mayan Ruins, and sampling a tequila tour were definitely highlights and a must-do.

Lines – Surprisingly there wasn’t much hassle with waiting elsewhere. Checking in at Tampa, no lines. Waiting at the buffet, no lines. Waiting to be seated at dinner, no lines. Trying to find a seat on the Serenity Deck – impossible, but plenty of lounge chairs elsewhere. Once on board, Carnival does a satisfactory job to ensure you’re not waiting around on useless crap. So that’s good.

Carnival Review – Summary

In Carnival’s defense, they did a splendid job on the physical boat even while ordering us around for both tendering and customs – there were hardly lines on board for either. Getting off the boat was always simple and easy. I commend them for that. But knowingly ushering us into confines of purgatory lines has a special place in hell my heart.

As you can see, there’s a theme, and it’s lines. Like holy crap. If you want to torture someone on vacation just make them wait in never ending lines. My tolerance level is like a zero for this stuff. You should see the madness that goes on in these lines. People are losing their collective minds.

I can’t figure why all the cruise travelers put up with these shenanigans. It’s like lambs to the slaughter. I don’t know why this hasn’t been brought to anyone’s attention. Maybe it has, and it’s economics. Everyone’s trying to save a buck.

But whatever, I don’t care.

I’m never going on a Carnival cruise again. Not if those lines are present.

Mr. CEO, please fix this. Now.

Carnival Review – The Good

  • Tender lines are miserable
  • Customs needs a wakeup call

Have you ever been on a Carnival cruise? Did it suck as much as mine did? What do you think about tender lines, are they a necessary evil?


  1. Mark

    We just returned from our first and last cruise. Like you we enjoyed so much of the cruise….however there were some problems that can’t be overlooked. I can’t imagine we’ll be back. Thanks for the laugh. We needed it.

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