W. R. Upset
Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Island Princess
Sailing Date: January 26th, 2007
It is with great dismay I write to you about our horrendous Hawaiian Hell cruise aboard the Island Princess on 1/26—2/10/2007. It began with impossible and very over priced air arrangements through them (copy of complaint letter enclosed) and ended with the worst cruise ever. The cruise included more price gauging of passengers while at sea.
Where do I begin? I’m still numb from the experience. We boarded what was to be a dream vacation of a lifetime along with my parents, John (78) and Susan Upset (76). The first week at sea was nothing other than treacherous. We were deliberately and purposefully taken into the eye of a storm. I believe the captain of the ship to be incompetent as the crew had nothing good to say about him and he was the main subject of the comedians that entertained us nightly as most of our other entertainment had been cancelled due to illness since ½ the ship was quarantined due to the noro-virus that the Captain announced we had deliberately brought on board and spread amongst ourselves only to learn that most of the crew was ill and had been ill prior to us boarding just as when we disembarked quarantined crew members were still onboard, yes, and in time giving it to the newly boarded passengers that departed on 2/10/07! This is a public health and safety risk!
The first week I spent in our cabin vomiting from seasickness as there were over 90 mile and hour winds and waves that rocked the ship for 72 hours straight without stopping. People were vomiting in the halls, being quarantined and most of the 70+ year old crowd became extremely ill. One woman suffered a heart attack and the coast guard took her off in Honolulu.
After our Captain cancelled our first port and also after learning via crew members that Princess was fully aware of this tsunami-like storm prior to our voyage I went to the Passenger Services Desk trying to get the name and number of the person in charge so we could obtain information, details, communication about what was going on. Their clerks would not give me any information. It took me 3 days to receive the email for their passenger services dept., after submitting 2 letter’s into the US mail bin requesting information and lodging complaints their standard form letter came back with the email and address information on it. All we were told by passenger services at the time was that their Los Angeles Office was working on trying to salvage this voyage by either offering an overnight Honolulu or increasing our stay in Ensenada. Apparently they were fully aware of the severity of the damage done to passengers vacations, “they were working on it!”. NOTHING was done by their LA office or anyone for that matter, in fact the gal that told me this did so in a huffy, angry manner and adding that this is what we contractually agreed to when taking a Princess Cruise. The passenger services desk needed a major overhaul in my opinion. Other crew members tried to keep smiles on their faces and be as attentive as humanly possible in spite of working around the clock and ready to keel over from exhaustion. They did their best under dire circumstances; our beef is with upper management, the decision makers. The ones who chose to do NOTHING and jeopardized our safety, health and well being by deliberately driving us directly into harms way.
We understand about mother nature but I am here to tell you that we had the same crew that was on the previous voyage and they told us that the conditions were worse coming back to LAX to pick us up! What is this saying? It’s saying that Princess Cruise Lines knowingly, deliberately and purposefully put all of our lives at risk when allowing voyage 2703 to depart on 1/26/07 knowing full well there were Tsunami-like conditions at sea. They didn’t once offer change of dates, refunds, and offer warnings of rough seas or storms once in Hawaii. Heck, they didn’t even refund the dock fee’s we paid for the cancelled islands we never docked in! With technology what it is today nobody will convince me that this could not have been avoided. Most of the crew didn’t have a day off the ship in a month! This is inhumane to say the least.
My point being, where was PLAN B??? Why did they never try to re-route us and pick up the cancelled islands? Why not go around the storm. They certainly had the time to figure out a plan as at this point they were aware of it for 6 days prior to us boarding the ship and 10 days prior to us reaching our first Island! The captain instead of docking in HNL and paying a dock fee opted to shove 2,000 passengers dream vacations where it did not belong instead. We were at sea for 7 days and nights waving to the islands from the ship instead of disembarking. While at sea this extended period of time what does the incompetent captain order? He orders that the stakes in the Casino be doubled! Talk about price gauging passengers who had just lost 2 islands of their vacations, did he offer any comps or do anything for us? NO, he doubled the stakes in the Casino? Princess has been a complete and utter rip-off beginning with the air arrangements which came to $557 p/p. This would cover air travel to Europe not to LAX from DFW!!! He cancelled Maui and Kaui the 2 most Beautiful Islands. He could have gone around the storm at this point and docked in Kona or HNL and re-routed us picking up the lost Islands but he chose to DO NOTHING except ruin everyone’s vacations and create unnecessary illness. The crew was already ill prior to our boarding just as they were when we disembarked and the NEW VICTIMS boarded!
The crew became so ill that our “Anytime” dining became RESERVATION only with waits up to 2 hours on some evenings. Our entertainment was often cancelled and we had the same comedian most nights his gig was to trash the cruise line, Captain and he came out with his face masked and rubber gloves on, emphasizing the degree of illness onboard and pointing out the incompetence of the Captain and main decision maker. We were unable to use the swimming pools or Jacuzzi’s due to the water splashing out of them and many days unable to go on deck all together due to the yellow emergency taped entrances/exits the same you would see in a crime scene indicating it was unsafe to go on deck. It was a nightmare.
There were close to 200 passengers and crew with the virus at all times. Always newly reported cases were sprouting up every day according to letters we would receive from the medical staff, announcements and crew members that confided in us. The virus last’s approx 3 days and every 3 days there would be another 150-200 reported cases making all cases over a 15nt duration close to 1,000!
The casino was closed intermittently due to illness, long lines for food, the crew had to serve our food to us even in the buffet lines at one point my 78 year old father had some bad eggs as they were cold in the middle, he felt ill, thought he had salmonella went to the medical department and was quarantined as a preventative measure so to top off all the rest of it he was confined to his cabin for the last 3 nights of the cruise when he had no fever just an upset stomach from undercooked, runny eggs. They would not acknowledge food poisoning even when ½ the dining room came down with it one evening according to several passengers. Everyone that ate the seafood pasta had food poisoning but the ship quarantined them and said they had the virus instead!
I wrote 2 letters and 1 email while onboard to their passenger services dept., and so far received the pat response, “ALL DECISIONS WERE BASED ON SAFETY” and “DUE TO THE STORM WHICH WE HAD NO CONTROL OVER”. I’m sure all weather reports for that time period and as much as 10 days prior to our launching will back my claims as the crew members were ill, frustrated, embarrassed by their captain evidenced by them rolling their eyes when he would try to make an announcement with his limited English skills. Communication was pretty much nonexistent. One crew member confided that this Captain was a temporary one.
I request that you do a full investigation on behalf of all the passengers of this ship especially the seniors and handicapped passengers those who cannot fight for themselves. I wonder now how many of them never made it off the ship. How many deaths incurred unnecessarily only to increase the Carnival Corporations bottom line? SHAME on them for jeopardizing so many innocent lives.
Princess Cruises never compensated us for ruining our voyage nor will they admit to any wrong doing, they have not even refunded the dock fee’s that we paid for on the Islands we missed. The travel agent on the other hand has apologized and offered us a 5% discount on our next cruise which I can assure you will not be anytime soon if ever. Not unless Princess steps up to the plate and rectifies this wrong. Which should include disciplining this captain, their chief decision maker at sea. They are supposed to be the professionals. This is their business and to take so many people out knowingly and jeopardize their health and well being deliberately simply to line their pockets is an outrage and won’t go unchallenged.
My claim is for trip interruption on the air tickets along with the first 7 days of our trip and 2 missed ports. The second week we were gravely inconvenienced due to so much illness of the crew. Entertainment cancelled, long waits for food, always worrying about catching the dreaded virus, All the people around us ill sneezing and coughing. In our opinion, this trip should be refunded. We won’t get our vacation time back and most likely won’t get back to Hawaii…….SHAME ON PRINCESS CRUISES. 75% of our cruise was ruined by their negligence and poor decision making. Again, they knowingly and deliberately took us out into the eye of a storm, this storm didn’t just happen and they did NOTHING to work around it or salvage it. It was business as usual for the Carnival Corporation. There are people getting sick as sea as I type this to you because as we disembarked on 2/10/07 they had numerous quarantined crew members onboard. I wonder if their Captain is now on his microphone blaming the new passengers/victims for deliberately bringing the virus on board and circulating it amongst themselves as he did with us when he knew full well that the virus was already onboard to begin with and has been for quite some time! What an outrage. We only had Lobster 1 night out of 15 and we had to wait in line for 2 hours! Some, "Anytime Dining!" We hope you will help us.
TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK!!