Wednesday, October 05, 2011

An Open Letter to Carnival Cruise Lines

Please accept my heartfelt apologies for taking so long to blog after returning from our cruise more than a week ago. I unfortunately became quite ill after returning home (which I have now learned is not that uncommon for people following cruises, much less those who may be immunosuppressed as I have been from the steroids). I feel as though I have contracted some sort of sleeping sickness where all I do is sleep. Not bad in theory, but nonetheless, I would prefer to be awake for at least a few hours a day to keep a handle on what is going on around me.

I had a mini adventure yesterday to the urgent care as well when I woke up at 2am to discover I could not get a deep breath without alarming pain in my right lung and rib cage. An xray discovered no obvious cracks or splits, but I still cannot take in a deep breath and am unsure where this may have come from. Just one more thing to alarm those who love me with--sorry guys!

At any rate, now that this apology and explanation is behind me, I come to the real reason for this post: a letter to Carnival Cruise Lines.

* * * * *

Dear Carnival Cruise Lines,

We five old biddies (well, OK, four old biddies and Briana who really is still too young to counted as a biddie) had a great time on our cruise to Ensenada. We loved the boat, which was beautiful, we enjoyed the food (for the most part), we loved the little nooks and crannies all over the boat where we would find a quiet place to read. I can't remember ever laughing to hard in my life. My sides ached at the end of each day from laughing and as far as I can recall there is no better medicine than from-the-bottom-of-your-belly laughter like that. Thank you for a great birthday celebration.

I was particularly impressed by how well five adult women fit into the smallest cabin you have. I was convinced that we were going to only barely tolerate the accomodations but they were better than adequate. Nicely done!

Now, on to some other things...

From the minute we booked this cruise, months and months ago, I had been pestering your guest services department about whether or not there would be a priest on board to give mass on Sunday. We were to be at sea on Sunday and I have never, ever missed a Sunday mass since becoming Catholic in 1999. Plus, I was about to cause three fellow Catholics to miss their Sunday mass as well since I did not check out the mass situation before I booked. (I won't make THAT mistake again!). At any rate, it became evident as I checked with guest services one more time at departure that not only was there no priest on board, but there was also no generic religious service at all. Now, I have no idea how many people are on board a ship like this, but I was pretty sad that, given all the debauchery and gambling and half-dressed people running around that there couldn't be at least a small concession to those of us who would really really like to remember God on Sundays, because I know there must be more than just us five.

After praying for months that God would send a priest on board for us, my prayer was answered in a most unusual way. Hurricane Hillary appeared south of us on Saturday forcing cruise ships to juggle their positions and change their itineraries. Suddenly, we found ourselves at sea on Saturday and in port in Ensenada on Sunday. Yippee! We ended up going to mass at the Cathedral of Ensenada on Sunday and had a beautiful mass. I couldn't have planned that if I had tried! After two days on the boat, I was so relieved that I had nothing to do with getting a priest on that boat because the dress allowed was so offensive to me that I couldn't imagine a priest trying to avert his eyes from scantily clad person after scantily clad person. I was thrilled that my husband and children were not on that boat either, as it is not right for anyone to have to act like they aren't noticing that person in front of them in the buffet line who is wearing large patterned lace pants and NOTHING else. I had to move place in line. Carnival, I know you are the "fun ship" but please consider a basic dress code because everywhere I looked I was horrified. Do these young people (and worse, some of the older people) have no self-respect? I was embarrassed for them and had to resist the urge to run after people putting towels on them. Yikes! Our society has become such a "reality TV" culture where everyone is basically shouting "look at me!". Look at my clothes, or lack thereof, look at my tattoos and body piercings, look at how clever and funny I am when I drink too much, look at my put my hands all over this person's body who I just met tonight. Shudder.

On another note entirely, I would like to mention that your wheelchair accessibility was not stellar. The ramp lips were very difficult to navigate and many a time I was nearly dumped right out of my chair as we charged them to get me over the doorway humps. Just a thought.

So, Carnival, overall we had a great time and hope next time we sail with you we will do so under a classier dress code and improved wheelchair access. Also, we loved the comedian--so nice to have a family-friendly option.

Most Sincerely,
Suzanne Di Silvestri


Briana Schalow said...

The bartenders were also a highlight. They played an important role in our overall enjoyment!

nicole said...

Should you cruise again, consider Holland America or Norwegian Cruise Lines. They typically have a slightly older customer base, which helps with some of the issues you mentioned. Young kids might find themselves a little less entertained than on other lines, but not to the point they wouldn't have fun. I have cruised with Carnival and enjoyed it, but I was fresh out of high school! I cruise Holland America a few years ago and it was very nice. Fun but not out of control. And either they or NCL always have a priest on board, I believe.

Allaire said...

I am glad that- as fate would have it you were able to come ashore for Mass. Prayers for peace and healing and wellness, A

Anonymous said...

Where is the picture that was taken before we left the house? My friend is asking to see what we looked like all wearing those beautiful shirts that she made us. Because, as is normal for me, I forgot to bring my camera and my phone is so cheap that the pictures are awful too. But no, it doesn't propel me into getting a more expensive phone yet.

Anonymous said...

Glad you had such a great time, and hope you are feeling better soon! -AO

antonia said...

God bless you Suzanne.
You are in my heart every day

Karen said...

I saw this prayer on SpiritDaily and thought you might like it.

Send Your Angel to Mass

*This very special prayer was written by a devout woman named Ruth Merz from Cincinnati, Ohio. Ruth was the mother of eight children who was diagnosed with cancer, which eventually and sadly claimed her life. Unable to attend mass because of her illness, she wrote this wonderful prayer. We hope that her words will convey special meaning to those who are ill and to their friends and families who care for them. Please feel free to share it with anyone that you feel might benefit from it.


O’ Holy angel at my side Go to church for me Kneel in my place at Holy Mass Where I desire to be. At offertory in my stead Take all I am and own And place it as a sacrifice Upon the Altar throne. At Holy Consecration bell, Adore with Seraph’s love My Jesus hidden in the Host Come down from Heaven above. There pray for those I dearly love And those that cause me grief That Jesus’ blood may cleanse all hearts Give suffering souls relief. That when the priest Communion takes Then bring my Lord to me That His sweet heart may rest in mine And I His temple be. Pray that the sacrifice divine May all man’s sin efface Then bring me Jesus’ blessing home The pledge of every grace. Amen

Alejandra Aguilar said...

Our whole family is glad that you stood up for morality and good values. Thanks again and lots of hugs and kisses :)

anna lisa said...

Oh dear--
My Dad keeps forwarding me these emails called "the people of Walmart"...I can't even face freezes into an :O
I feel your pain.