Staffing shortages continue to cause disruptions onboard Carnival cruise ships, and now popular events for loyal past passengers are being canceled.
While Diamond and Platinum passengers may be disappointed for the temporary pause in these exclusive events, the cruise line is working to rectify the staffing problems and will bring back the events as soon as possible.
VIFP Parties Canceled
Carnival Cruise Line’s “Very Important Fun Person” (VIFP) loyalty program is popular with cruisers, and many loyal Carnival guests look forward to the onboard parties offered on sailings five nights or longer. For the time being, however, these celebrations are canceled due to staffing shortages.
In a post on his Facebook page, Carnival brand ambassador John Heald announced that the Diamond events are canceled, and Diamond-level guests will instead receive $50 of onboard credit to use as they wish. Similarly, the Diamond/Platinum cocktail party is also canceled, and guests will receive two drink vouchers each.
“This is of course because of staff shortages,” Heald explained. “Because of the situation with the United States Government, who are themselves short staffed, we have a massive backlog of visas that the crew need to come to the US and on to the ships to work.”
The loyalty parties are fun events for the most experienced Carnival Cruise Line passengers, and often include complimentary cocktails and snacks or hors d’oeuvres.
During the events, the ship’s officers may make appearances, the cruise director could host some exclusive trivia or other games, and a video is shown of the full Carnival fleet from 1972 to the newest vessels.
Guests celebrating their 100th milestone cruise, as well as guests with the most number of cruise days or the youngest and oldest loyalty passengers may also be acknowledged.
For now, the loyalty events are canceled for all sailings fleet-wide through June 30, 2022. It is possible that these cancelations may be extended if it takes longer than anticipated to resolve the staffing shortages.
Other Onboard Changes
This announcement comes just after the cruise line announced the temporary closure of two popular dining options, the specialty restaurant Cucina Del Capitano as well as the elite Chef’s Table dining experience.
These dining options are now unavailable through June 30, though Cucina Del Capitano will remain operating as normal on the fleet’s award-winning flagship, Mardi Gras.
On other ships, the homestyle Italian restaurant will still be open for lunch, and select entrees will be available in the Main Dining Room for dinner with no additional fees.
Guests may also notice other changes onboard, such as some longer lines or slightly slower service as crew members adapt to more extensive duties. Hours for some other dining venues have also been adjusted, such as the pizzeria being closed from 3-10 a.m. rather than being fully open 24 hours.
The Military Appreciation Tea has also been temporarily canceled fleet-wide.
Carnival Cruise Line is currently limiting capacity onboard some of its vessels to improve guests-to-crew staffing ratios and ease the burden on understaffed crews.
These changes have been made in an effort to consolidate staffing and ensure superior service onboard Carnival’s ships, all of which have now returned to service following the global pandemic shutdown.
Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy is working closely with the U.S. State Department, however, to expedite crew visas and improve onboard staffing, and it is hoped that the situation will improve quickly in the coming weeks and closures and onboard cancelations will end as the cruise industry moves into the busy summer season.