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Hal Drucker

Age: 69

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 12

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Diamond Princess

Sailing Date: December 29th, 2004

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera


My wife and I together with a group of friends have just returned from the New Year’s cruise aboard the Diamond Princess which left Los Angeles December 29, 2004 and returned January 8, 2005. We were a party of nine and had about 20 other friends on this cruise. Most of us had previously cruised aboard Princess as well as on other cruise lines.
For a New Years Eve 10-day cruise where we all paid a premium price most of us were sorely disappointed. I felt compelled to write you this letter with our comments of your ship and cruise.

This was the worst experience cruising that we have ever had.

In brief the following are some of the highlights

A – The quality, presentation and variety of the food was terrible. The food served at dinner was cold (not one of the meals was served hot). The meat items were the lowest quality that we have ever seen on any cruise. The selection at the buffet was terrible as well. The bacon was piled into a serving tray and stuck together so all you received was a glob of bacon either dry, cold and overcooked or cold half cooked. The egg omelets were cooked hours earlier and served dry and cold. In short we would rate the food as just marginally above fast food. The ship ran out of things such as berries, bananas and sugar free ice cream. The food served in the Sabatines restaurant was well below par. As an example the crab cakes were the size of marbles and inedible. The veal chop was cold, tiny, tough and over seasoned. To charge a additional fee for poor quality food is ridiculous. We have used the Sabatinis restaurants on other Ships, (e.g., Grand Princess) and they were much better. When the head waiter of a dining room was told that we couldn’t get a reservation for dinner at any of the personal choice rooms and that the regular dinning room was full, we were told it was too bad and to go the buffet. After accepting a tip he suddenly found that he could get us in for dinner. Also the policy of allowing people to make reservations for a personal choice dining room for the entire week creates a situation where many people are left out in the cold with no chance of getting to eat at a time of their choosing – the object, apparently, of personal choice dining.

B – The method of adding the gratuity to the bill results in your service personnel not providing service. When asked a question or a request we would be either ignored or greeted with a stare, or someone would pretend not to understand English. The room Steward was very good. A few of the waiters were good but on whole most were not.

C – The entertainment for the cruise was also bad. The 2 production shows were good but that is about it. For a 10-day cruise this is pretty bad. One night the entire show was a banjo player. Another night a singer was the entire show. Another night a juggler was the show. New years eve there was music on the deck next to the pool. There were 3000 passengers on the cruise. There was no hope or attempt to accommodate the passengers. The other Lounge areas had no decorations, nor were anything done to them to even simulate New Years Eve. The ships entertainment director was terrible.

D – when one of out shore tours was cancelled the night before arriving in port, we were not given any reason or adequate time to reschedule something else. When we arrived in Carbo San Lucas, which we had to tender into shore, the ship arrived in port 2 hours late. The ships newspaper stated that that all those not on a tour would be handled on a first come first served basis and to just come down to the embarkation deck. As it turned out what they failed to mention was that you had to get a numbered ticket, which would then be called. Some people got a ticket and then when to eat in the dining room. Others not knowing about the ticket system went to eat first and then went down to the lower deck only to find an hour or more wait. This then limited the time in town to between 2-3 hours maximum. When the ships tour officers were asked about this all they did was shrug.

E – There was no card or game room facilities on this ship. The other ships in your fleet do have a card/game room. We had to go up to the buffet area in order to play cards while other passengers were trying to eat. The only accommodations made were for bridge players in one of the dining rooms. The rest of the passengers had to fend for them selves.

F – When we were leaving the ship on the last day we had to wait 1½ hours on the dock standing on a concrete floor waiting for the luggage area to open. Treating people like cattle is no way to get repeat customers.

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