Passengers on a July 24 Carnival Sunrise cruise experienced high temperatures and broken AC.
While the cruise line promised refunds to affected voyagers, some said they hadn't received them.
One passenger told Insider the company's handling of the issue added insult to injury.
As the Carnival Sunrise sailed to Grand Cayman and Jamaica at the end of July, the outside temperature reached over 90 degrees. Inside, vacationers reported their cabins were uncomfortably, even dangerously, warm because of broken air conditioning — with some saying their rooms hovered above 80.
Video from the cruise circulated widely on social media, showing long lines of angry passengers waiting to complain to customer service and pictures of thermometers inside their staterooms — which cost upward of $300 dollars a person per night — displaying high temperatures.
One passenger who spoke on condition of anonymity told Insider that shortly after she returned to port, she contacted customer service and was told to email her concerns to the corporate customer-service address.
"A representative couldn't handle my concerns," the passenger said. "The reply email I received said that I could expect an email reply upwards of 45 days from now."
The passenger waited just over two weeks to hear back from Carnival and received a credit for about half the cost of their pair of July 24 tickets to use on another cruise, which she said left her "pretty satisfied."
Others haven't been so lucky.
—Elle (@GA_Belle123) July 29, 2023
Jaquillia Jones, who sailed on the cruise with her 12-year-old son and 27 other family members on a group vacation, told Insider she also complained but received only a credit of $160 toward her bill, which totaled over $2,000.
Insider reviewed her bill and a letter from Carnival Cruise Line indicating she'd been offered a 50% refund of her cruise fare in the form of a credit to her online account. Though she was promised the same refund as some other passengers, Jones told Insider she hadn't received any further communication from the company.
"I understand things happen," Jones said. "I just replaced my AC at my house last year. I get it. But it's the insult that was on top of the injury that made me just completely lose it because these companies feel like they can treat you any kind of way and I don't think it's right."
Jones added that after complaining while aboard the ship, she was told to call the corporate customer-service phone number. She said when she got home and called, she was told there was nothing the representative could do because she'd already gotten off the ship.
In addition to the air-conditioning problem, Jones said her room wasn't clean upon arrival and that the food had gone down in quality since her last Carnival cruise — of which she had been on more than a half dozen, though she swore she wouldn't travel with the line again.
While she could forgive the other issues, the air conditioning was simply unacceptable, Jones said, adding that she was "shocked and appalled" at the way the company was handling customer complaints.
While Jones had a portion of her expenses refunded and has the letter saying she'll receive a refund credit, other passengers are still waiting to hear anything. On TikTok, Sunrise passengers responding to clips of what it was like on board without AC were still commenting about their lack of refunds weeks after returning to port.
One woman who had filmed part of her four-hour wait in line to speak with customer service wrote that for more than two weeks, she hadn't heard from the cruise line regarding her expected refund — but she did get contact from their billing department.
"They just sent me an email saying I owe $10 when I had $14 bucks from what I put on there, plus their credit," she wrote, referring to her onboard-spending card.
A representative for Carnival Cruise Line told Insider in an emailed statement that the company was "sorry" to guests affected by "an overtaxed air conditioning system," adding that the primary coils that caused the initial failure had been replaced.
"If a guest on Carnival Sunrise complained about stateroom temperature, we dispatched crew to the stateroom to assess the situation and take the air temperature," the statement said, adding that guests who had complained had their staterooms regularly monitored throughout the cruise.
Videos from the cruise show long lines of upset customers waiting to speak with the service department about their uncomfortably hot rooms while voyaging in Grand Cayman.
Jones told Insider no staff visited her room to confirm the temperature inside, even after she complained. She said she saw people sleeping by the pool to try to stay cool at night. USA Today reported another passenger took turns sleeping on their balcony with her husband, trying to catch a breeze.
The representative did not answer additional questions regarding whether each passenger's room was equipped with remote temperature-monitoring equipment or how it would be possible to gauge the temperature of every guest room without it.
"Any guest whose cabin was not cooled to our threshold comfort level was provided a refund of 50 percent of their fare, for each day that their stateroom was impacted," the Carnival Cruise Line statement said. "Depending on the extent of the impact, different guests might have received a different total of refund, but the process and calculation was consistent on a per day basis."
The representative did not answer additional questions regarding the specific temperature threshold or calculation used to determine a refund. A guest's status in the cruise line's loyalty program "had nothing to do with the compensation offer," the statement added.
"We realize that some of our guests were negatively impacted and have not disputed any guest's right to complain about the room temperature, but we also reserved the right to monitor the actual temperature both with in-room checks, as well as from the data of our shipboard monitoring systems, to validate the room temperature," the statement said.
Jones told Insider she was saddened by the company's handling of her complaints, thinking that they'd be more responsive after she had vacationed with them so many times. She added that her son's first cruise vacation was profoundly disrupted since neither of them could sleep well at night.
Jones said she couldn't believe the company's response.
"I don't know what refund everybody else got, but I know what I got," she added. "And I can't believe they treated me that way. You know, I'm important too."
Read the original article on Insider