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Mitch Siegel

Age: 46

Occupation:IT Manager

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Star Princess

Sailing Date: August 2nd, 2003

Itinerary: Alaska Inside Passage


I just returned from a cruise on the Star Princess, August 2 to August 9, 2003. Our cruise was diagnosed as being infected with the Norovirus and I am very disappointed in just how Princess staff handled the outbreak. My concerns are as follows:

1. When the reports started happening on Monday AM of the Saturday to Saturday cruise, medical staff was less than responsive to the impending outbreak. I called Medical Services at 6 AM to inform them that my partner had been sick since the prior evening with nausea and diarrhea. By this point he was dehydrating and I was told to call back or come in at 8AM when they opened. That is no way to treat a passenger who calls saying maybe something more may be happening here.

2. When we did go to medical services at 8:30 AM, the office was crowded with passengers and crew. At this point it was clear, to us, what was happening. We left the ship in search of a drug store for over the counter remedies. Another member of our party of 13 was told that she had to report to medical services and was given a shot for nausea.

3. It took almost 36 hours before we started to see anti-bacterial hand washers at the buffet lines, and they were only located at the two of the three entrances to the line. Some times crew members would give you plates and silverware without using the anti-bacterial soaps, some times they would not. Food service was inconsistent at the buffet, some times people were allowed to serve themselves salads, breads, juices, and sometimes not.

4. It took almost 48 hours after I reported the illness to Princess Medical staff for a letter to be issued to the entire ship, saying that Norovirus had been diagnosed and that it was “suggested” that we wash hands frequently and before eating.

5. Housekeeping went from very good to poor after our cabin was confirmed to be a “hazmat” area. A Hazmat team came and cleaned the cabin, our cabin steward was not allowed to service our room for the duration of the cruise.

6. Additional members of our group of thirteen became sick, though to a lesser degree. Those of us impacted less neglected to contact Medical services, because we saw no point in it. In retrospect, that was a poor choice and we will contact Princess and let them know.

The food on the cruise was passable at best, rather bland and almost inoffensive at best. The burger stand and the pizza stand were better than most of the food served in the dining rooms. Our waiter was surly, never got our orders correct and was not particularly interested in service. Most of our party felt a sense of “attitude” from him starting at the first meal.

Our original cabins steward was nice, very pleasant and helpful. All in all, our experience was colored a very dark color by this experience and we will be interested in seeing what Princess will do, if anything, to appease many dis-satisfied cruisers.

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