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Ken Cordes

Age: 41

Occupation:IT Project Manager

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Dawn Princess

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Panama Canal Adventure

We traveled on the Dawn Princess from San Francisco to San Juan, Puerto Rico, departing San Francisco on September 21, 2001 and arriving in San Juan on October 6, 2001. This was our third cruise, all of which have been on Princess. By way of background, we picked Princess for our first cruise after a lot of research and, on that first cruise, were not disappointed by the attention to detail and the level of service. This trip was a little different.

First, boarding in San Francisco was a nightmare. We waited in line for 3 hours on the pier while busloads of folks were driven onto the pier and allowed to board ahead of people who’d been waiting for hours. On our previous cruises the boarding process had been hassle-free and, while the events of September 11th may have increased security, it appeared the boarding problems were due more to a lack of planning on Princess’ part than increased security measures. There were approximately 7 or 8 agents doing check in for almost 2,000 passengers, not nearly enough.

After our first cruise we felt that Princess was the way to go die to all the special touches. Balloons outside our door on our anniversary, a cake at dinner that night, the spotlessly clean ship, etc., all combined to make us feel we being treated as individuals instead just someone adding to the headcount of passengers. This trip, however, leads us to suggest that Princess change its motto to “It may be the Love Boat, but it’s just another cruise line.”

The following list of disappointments may sound trivial in the grand scheme of things, but combined they served to lower Princess in our eyes:

A general lack of cleanliness aboard. I saw several food spills in various locations that were not cleaned up for days.
Passengers were charged for drinks at the Captains Cocktail Party, which were free on previous trips.
Room service menu has been severely curtailed to the point you can really only get a continental breakfast in your room.
Our Captains Circle membership was not acknowledged in that we were not invited to the Captains Circle gathering.
Our anniversary was not acknowledged as it had been on previous trips.
A fellow passenger who stubbed her toe and needed a Band-Aid. When she discovered the shop was out of Band-Aids she approached the Purser and was provided one… at a cost of 25 cents.

Again, these things a minor in the overall scheme, but can be significant when one is choosing cruise lines.

I must also empathize that, although disappointed with the overall level of service, our trip was not ‘ruined’. We had a delightful time and must single out two crewmembers, Edwin, our waiter, and Fernando, our assistant waiter. These two gentlemen saw to our every need and even anticipated some. For example, we are red wine drinkers and when we made a passing comment to Fernando that wider neck glasses would be more appropriate for red wine, Fernando insured that red wine glasses were on the table every night. Enough cannot be said for the attention that Edwin and Fernando showed to us and to the others they were serving.

A final note that has nothing to do with the cruise line. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I thought that traveling on a two week cruise with an older crowd might be nice as I thought older folks might have more manners than a younger crowd. WAS I WRONG!!! I have never been pushed, shoved, and seen more disrespect shown than by the older folks on this trip. For those of you who place a value on common courtesy, do not travel on a ship with an older crowd.

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