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Dave Thompson

Age: 48

Occupation:Real Estate Investor

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Island Princess

Sailing Date: October 23rd, 2005

Itinerary: Hawaii

You'll find the support staff and supervisors more than adequate to fulfill your need for a special vacation on board a cruise ship. The personal service is delightful, courteous and friendly, and the crew well trained and enthusiastic.

The ship is immaculate, well designed and well maintained.

Although we were forced into personal choice dining, it turned out o.k., but missed the regular experience with the same tablemates and waiter. The Horizon Cafe topside was great for breakfast, pizza and grille were good also. Dining room fish prep was unreliable at best but beef always on the money with veal excellent. Salads and soups were enjoyable. When any waiter was asked for a recommendation from the dinner menu he/she offered the non committal "I can bring you both dishes". The desserts were good but not memorable, however most people liked the souffl├ęs.

The casino staff, Michelle, Irina, Gabi, Igor, Delia, and more were thoroughly professional albeit entertaining and playful while they lightened the load in my back pocket. Slot machines were actually paper shredders. They oughta turn them babies up.

The photo staff -- Cat and Sara, and the guy with the spiked hair that says "c'mon , baby" all the time -- did a great job making the posing fun and entertaining. The photo gallery is my wife's "casino" so more than a few mega pixels were used on us, and purchase decisions difficult.

The ships dancers were above average and the shows' variety and content enjoyable. However, the comedians needed some new material. Well, it sure beat getting up for work that day, anyway.

The cruise director, David Cole, needs a vacation. When I expressed my frustration at having a full blown variety show in the limited seating lounge (while I was sitting on a metal folding chair in the rear with a very limited view), he seemed to let his own frustration pour out like lava, and ultimately instructed me to write Princess a letter if I didn't like it. Evidently this is a recurring complaint on the cruise. Well, hey Dave, diffuse the situation with some basic customer service skills, or advise the passengers in the Pitter-Pattter (daily newsletter) of the limited seating. Or, better yet, let Martin, the very gracious and friendly assistant take over while they leave you in Hawaii for one rotation. Shake it up with a Hula girl, or hula boy if need be, pal. Lighten up, we're on vacation, remember.

Embarkation was rough, and Customs insisted on clearing the entire ship before letting anyone
disembark. Ok, we missed our morning flight with the other 500 early passengers, but the airlines were very accommodating, at least for us. I guess the cruise director told the customs guys to write Princess when they asked for a cup of coffee, so they dug in their heels.

Actually, the Princess experience was very good, but the lack of training for customer service agents in the home office and the cruise director's misplaced basic skills left me with the impression that future Princess cruises for me would set sail with a puff of morning breath.

This was my 6th cruise, and all have been enjoyable, but next time I go the selection will be as follows:

1. Celebrity
2. Royal Caribbean
3. Another line
4. Princess

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