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Independent Contractors on Carnival Cruise Ships


As hinted at in previous posts and on our podcast there were some issues that came up on our last trip. I have been reluctant to talk about them with specific detail as some were very personal and some I am still hoping to resolve with Carnival before going fully public. I want to give Carnival a chance to respond to my concerns similar to how we gave Six Flags an opportunity to respond to us being kicked off some of their rides and how we gave Hilton time to respond to a problem we had in Tampa that will be featured in an upcoming video. For the record, Hilton made things right while Six Flags did not – as a result Hilton earned our increased loyalty while we have no intention of returning to a Six Flags. Carnival is currently facing a similar test of character which I sincerely hope they pass, however thus far signs are not very good as we have been waiting over a week for a response and so far nothing.


But in the course of dealing with one of the issues that came up on the Dream sailing I have learned some interesting things I wanted to share as some came as quite a shock to me.


One of the issues on our recent trip was with the Cloud 9 Spa and we were told that the Cloud 9 Spa is a separate company from Carnival. They wear Carnival nametags, charge things rightly or wrongly to your Carnival account, and operate on Carnival ships but they are a completely separate company.


They aren’t the only ones.


A review of the Cruise Contract you agree to for each sailing with Carnival revealed this clause…


11. (b) Guest acknowledges that the ship’s masseuse, barber, hair dresser, manicurist, fitness or golf instructor, videographer, art auctioneer, gift shop personnel, wedding planners or other providers of personal services are employees of independent contractors and Carnival is not responsible for their actions. Guest further acknowledges that although independent contractors or their employees may use signage or clothing which contains the name “Carnival” or other related trade names or logos, the independent contractor status remains unchanged. Independent contractors, their employees and assistants are not agents, servants or employees of Carnival and have no authority to act on behalf of Carnival.


I admit I’ve read the contract on more than one occasion but for some reason the implication of this clause never fully sunk in.


The one position that further surprised me upon this recent review was gift shop personnel. On most sailings I would visit the gift shop at least once as I like a good gift shop and I would often buy a Christmas ornament of the ship I was on. I had quite the collection growing prior to my most recent sailing in which I didn’t visit the gift shop in part due to the issues that arose.


However this new information did bring to mind an unusual interaction I once had on the Carnival Inspiration in 2014. I was paying for my usual Christmas ornament and the woman behind the till mentioned how she had been at a staff party the previous night. She told me that there was a guy in the “regular staff” that she wanted to get together with but hadn’t found to courage to speak to him and she was kicking herself for that…along with a hangover. I remember thinking this was an odd thing to mention to a guest and I wondered what “regular staff” meant. That should have been my first clue.


So be warned that the positions mentioned above are not Carnival staff and not subject to their rules.


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