First and foremost let me say that Carnival has a automatic 18% tipping system built in that you can dispute at guest services but is very hard to do. Here is the issue I have with it. I may be traditional but in my book tips are earned for starters and they belong to the employee who earned them. The next problem I have with the Carnival tip program is that a large part of it goes into a fund to pay for employee medical costs and other things like flights home etc... Thus the employee is maybe getting 10% of that 18% at best. The problem is that the average crew member earns ~$16,500 per year and the CEO earns ~$13.6M per year and you want the passengers tips to cover your employee medical costs!? Really! How about we reduce the CEO pay and put that towards the crew medical benefits? Carnival should be ashamed of themselves for paying such low wages and then pushing medical costs off onto the tips these hard workers earned. Where's my 1099 or receipt for my taxes if my tips are paying your medical benefits? I would rather pay more for a booking and tip in cash for better service and for the employees to have much better working conditions. The reason Carnival is "cheapest" with bookings is because they use cheap labor and earned a revenue of $20.8B in 2019. Let that sink in for a minute folks. RCI and NC pay on average $20,000 per employee (still not the world) and their CEOs earn less and they are still able to earn a nice profit. Why can't Carnival treat the employees better and not use passenger tips to offset employer costs? Frankly it's disgusting and amounts to slave labor if you ask me. Carnival is clearly going the way of airlines in so far as service and fees.Ok now let's get to the cruise.
1. We booked the “Island Hop” excursion in Grand Turk and the description states “Take this opportunity of a lifetime to explore three of the 23 islands that make up the Turks and Caicos Islands. We did NOT go to three or even two islands for that matter rather we went to ONE island only and stayed there for about 45 minutes. We spent 30 minutes snorkeling and we certainly did not relax on a “snowy white beach” dining on delicious foods and an included open Caribbean Bar. These are direct quotes from Carnival website regarding the excursion at $114.99 per person. Frankly the sub-contractor is ripping Carnival and the passengers off as the items advertised were NOT included nor did they ever take place. We paid $230 and basically felt that we had $230 stolen from us.
2. Our stateroom was dirty (we have photos). We immediately brought this to the crew’s attention and the reaction was “oh yeah it’s dirty” and we are “sorry”, but we just didn’t have time to clean but we will clean it when you are out of the room. They did spend 2 hours cleaning the room, but it never should have gotten to this point in the first place.
3. Steakhouse. Ruined our steaks twice because they didn’t know how to make a medium filet (have pictures) then the server and the chef start arguing with each other within ear shot of us on how to cook a medium steak to the point were I just asked if I needed to cook my own food?! The manager only charged us for one meal to their credit and provided a special desert.
4. Main dining room on 2/13/20. Hostess began to argue and raise her voice at us over a misunderstanding regarding the reservation and flat out stated “go eat somewhere else on the ship!” At this point a manager heard the commotion and stepped in to take charge and to his credit he got us a table for 6 and tried his best to make it up to us to. Kudos to him but it never should have happened in the first place either. If one of us would have had our phone with us it would have gone viral within minutes of us recording the crew members behavior.
5. Room service. We were given a muffin filled with raw bacon (have picture).
6. Then lastly, didn’t impact us directly but we were right behind the problem and cleaned it up for you as we were disembarking. Your crew did not know how to help a disabled person off the gangway with their wheelchair. My wife is a special education teacher with extensive training in this field and she stepped in to help the gentlemen and your crew. This should never happen – can you imagine if this was emergency evacuation? People would have panicked and trampled the passenger to death. We were speechless on how the situation was handled.
On the positive side.
This was our third cruise with Carnival, and we have our 4th one booked on the Breeze this summer but we are thinking about canceling due to this experience. We did enjoy Simone the cruise entertainment director (had him on the Dream and he is great). The majority of crew are always polite and work super hard to make it a fun and pleasant experience. The ship itself is overall a very nice vessel and except for the above we enjoyed ourselves and they could clean up the rust a bit better. The embarkation and debarkation were quick and smooth for us. The entertainment was very good, and the dance supervisor Simon was great and very friendly. The Cucina Del Capitano was great and the service was wonderful!
Overall I would barely rate the Magic a 3 star experience and we tried to stay positive and make the best of it. Once of the ship at ports of call we went on land and enjoyed the local sights and had fun on our own. The people in these countries are just wonderful and they want you to visit and help them improve their economies and enjoy the culture.
Side note - For some reason I can't get the photos to attach to this review.
It was dirty and we had to complain to get it properly cleaned. We were on the 8th deck with a balcony.
Carnival owns HMC and wanted to charge $50 for 6 beers! Crazy.