Carnival Cruise Dream ship layout

Carnival Cruise Line Carnival

I am writing your publication to make public my “foul” experience with Carnival Cruise Lines. In these tough economic times, vacations are hard to come by. Families need to guard their funds and carefully choose whom they entrust their families memories with. This year, my wife and I, including our 12 year old son, 9 year old daughter and 6 year old daughter decided to take a vacation with my in laws who are in their 70’s for their 50th wedding anniversary. Also joining us on our vacation were my brother in law, his wife and their 8 year old daughter. This was to be a vacation to provide the type of family memories that can be recalled for a lifetime. This could be the only time we all ever get to vacation together. After weighing our memory dollars very carefully, we chose to sail on the newest, largest, Carnival Ship, the Dream.

Excitement was a bound, and anticipation was high. One day while day “Dreaming” about our cruise, I looked at an online site that reviews cruise ships. CruiseCritic.com. To my horror, most of the reviews talked about a fowl, sewer type, smell on board. We originally made our reservations back in August 2009 for a March 2010 cruise over Spring Break. Now it was January 2010 and other options were all booked. Maybe this was just an isolated few upset guests that are never happy. Not so, review after review, even those that seemed somewhat satisfied with their cruise lauded about the odd, sewer type smell on board. I thought how can a cruise ship marketed towards families smell like a dumpster?

I immediately called Carnival to get some sort of an explanation. I figured that they must be aware of the situation and have it resolved by now. I figured what type of company would allow little kids, seniors and young families be subjected to sewer odors during their Dream vacations. Spoke to several people at the customer service area who had no idea what I was talking about and insured me that there was no foul odor aboard any of their ships. I asked to speak to a supervisor, and was connected to Diane. Diane assured me that no odor was present on the Dream ship, but after I insisted, she agreed to call to upper management to address my concerns.

While I awaited a return call, I did some research on the internet and I spoke to Vance Guilikson, Carnival’s media relations spoke person. This was not easy to get him on the phone, but I relented. This is what I read:
Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen responded to our request for comment following multiple reports of a sewage smell on Carnival Dream: “We have been told that initially there were some issues in certain open decks relating to the design of the ventilation systems within those specific areas. The problem was exacerbated under certain heavy wind conditions.

“Working with the Fincantieri shipyard, the ventilation systems in question were reconfigured prior to the ship’s arrival in the U.S. in November. Since the problem was identified, the ventilation issues have largely been contained, however, there have been a few isolated incidents over the past few weeks. The ship’s technical management team continues to closely monitor the situation to determine whether any further corrective actions may be necessary.”

We discussed the issue, and he mentioned that he would put a call into the ship and upper management to find out a date when this situation would be resolved. I never received a return call from him. I did hear back from Diane. I was told that there was in fact a sewer type odor on board, but that it was “only” in certain areas. I thought, oh good, my 6 year old will only have to smell sewage in certain areas, not everywhere on my vacation.

Obviously, I was being sarcastic and upset and couldn’t believe I was hearing the explanation she was giving me. I asked to receive a call from her supervisor Paula Sinclair. I was promised a call from her by the end of the next day. During my wait I decided to e-mail CEO Micky Arison and President Gerald Cahill. I was sure that if Mr. Arison knew of this problem, he would surely fix it, especially since it was his father who started Carnival Cruise Lines with just one ship designed to provide vacations to working families. He wouldn’t let working families pay for a cruise that he knew smelled like a sewer.

No response from Mr. Arison or Mr. Cahill. I did get an e-mail from Shela Wever, a guest solutions manager, that sent me this e-mail –“ …Please be advised that when the Carnival Dream first entered service in Europe, there were some isolated problems identified and corrective action was taken via modifications to the ship’s ventilation system. Since the ship has been operating in the U.S., we have received very few complaints on this issue.

Actually, less than two in every 1, 000 guests who have sailed on the vessel during this period. Nonetheless, further modifications are being made which will be completed shortly. We do not have a specific date at this time.” I also received this exact same e-mail from Carlos Villarreal. Sounds like they are getting many inquires about this issue and have developed this form e-mail. Unfortunately, all of the reviews I read dealing with the smell on board were written after these modifications were supposedly made.

Except for the money Carnival wants to make, why wouldn’t they put this ship in port and not let one paying family have to sacrifice their memories and their vacation to suffer through a sewer smell while trying to enjoy themselves. Would Mr. Arison sail on his yacht, the MYLIN IV and invite guests if it had a sewer smell on it? Would you invite guests to stay at your house if one of your rooms smelled like a sewer or dirty diapers as one review said?

I called Ms. Wever and she told me that they were aware of the smell onboard and that they were working on the issue, but that they couldn’t guarantee me that the odor would be gone by the time I sailed with them. Is this a joke? She told me to just have faith in them that they will resolve the issue, although she couldn’t promise it. How could I subject my family to this, a waste of our hard earned memory dollars? In a subsequent e-mail by her she wrote – ” …If you sail and are dissatisfied in any way with your cruise you have the opportunity to take advantage of our Vacation Guarantee program. We will not provide a full refund though due to this.”

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Q&A

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How big is the cruise ship Carnival Dream?

The 3,646-passenger, 130,000 ton, 1,004-foot SuperLiner Dream debuted September 21, 2009 and is the largest Carnival ship ever.

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Which carnival cruise ship would you recommend Legend or Dream?

Carnival Dream. It has more amenities, better public areas is newer and easier to access than Carnival Legend.

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