Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Star Princess
Sailing Date: November 18th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Party of four adults traveling together, two aged 82 and 65 years. Upon check in at the airport no seats had been reserved by Princess so we had to sit in the four corners of the plane for the 10 hour flight - very distressing for the 82 year old - although we had booked under one reference number!
Medical conditions advised and documented by doctors were totally ignored by Princess.
We queued at Miami airport for over an hour waiting for a bus to take us on a 20 minute journey to the hotel.
Next day we queued for over 2 hours at the port in heat with no seats, drinks, wheelchairs, toilets or entertainment. Really how hard would it be to have a steel band playing and a few bus boys with a tray of water and juice?????
The cabin was a pleasant surprise as the mirrors were well placed to make it look as big as possible.
A major complaint was with the quality of the food. It comprised very poor quality, inexpensive cuts of meat and seafood. The overall impression of the generally tasteless and sometimes bad tasting food was that it was not fresh, probably previously frozen and was in limited quantities. The desserts were unimaginative, bland and fairly tasteless and the fruit was second quality under-ripe or bruised. The pastries tasted stale and certainly did not have a homemade flavor about them. Hardly the 5* award winning gourmet experience advertised in Princess literature.
We were allocated to the Amalfi Dining room where the service was very poor. We were badgered into making our selections from the menu quickly and any questions were met with a brusque sharp reply. I believe the main problems were due to a lack of training of the staff who were at best in short supply and at worst inexperienced and rude. The food was substandard, cheap and not well presented.
We ordered a bottle of water and a bottle of wine. One glass of each was poured and the bottles taken away to be put on ice. We did not get any more drinks until our meal was finished and only then when we got up from our seats and asked for them. The people on the next table complained bitterly about the quality of the food and every evening thereafter they had the maitre d’ hotel, head waiter and several waiters taking care of them. This only exacerbated the problem for the rest of the diners, including ourselves, who were already receiving poor service. We tried arriving at the restaurant at different times to see if this would ease the problem but to no avail.
The Horizon Restaurant was no better. There was a constant queue and they often ran out of plates and cutlery.
I object to being asked to pay a cover charge to dine in restaurants on the ship as I have already paid for my food in with the price of the cruise. It appears that all efforts are concentrated on the premium dining so it seems that it is acceptable that the standard service has become second rate dining. I was also shocked to find that charges were being made for so many things such as after dinner cappuccino, craft classes and ice cream.
It seems that the staff are aware that a daily charge is applied to every passenger to cover tips so there is no requirement for them to go the extra mile to provide a quality service.
The entertainment on the ship left a lot to be desired. The noise around the pool each day was a clear deterrent to any one with normal hearing and was more akin to a holiday camp than a cruise ship. We attended the Captain’s cocktail party and sat in the Atrium for two hours. At no time were we offered a drink and when we asked for a drink we were told it had all finished. There was a queue every day for the bingo tickets – more queuing. There was no movie under the stars. The cabaret shows were reasonable but were repeated during the week and so the choice was limited.
We disembarked at Ocho Rios and were charged US$6.00 each for a return journey to the shops in a bus. We were told that it was too far to walk to the shopping centre, which turned out to be less than 250 yards away. We sat waiting for the bus to leave for longer than it would have taken to walk to the shops.
When we disembarked at Cozumel for a trip we had booked we were made to wait on the quay for over an hour in the baking sun with no refreshments or seats available only to be loaded into taxis to our destination. Why did we have to wait? The trip we had booked was a dolphin swim and snorkel adventure. We had the swim with the dolphin and then were literally frog-marched to a viewing room to view the video. We were told there was no time to get a towel we had to go immediately to the viewing room. From there we were directed to the shop to buy the photographs and video. There was no snorkel adventure. We had paid for something that was not available. We were also charged US$30 for my 82 year old grandmother to come along as an observer. What a joke. She was not able to stand for the duration of the swim and was not allowed to take a chair to a position where she could view the dolphins.
When we arrived at Princess Keys we were allocated colored tickets to access the tenders. It took three hours queuing to get off the ship. This left us with less time ashore than we had queued.
We had to queue for photographs, then queue to view them, then queue to buy them. We had to queue for absolutely everything on the ship.
It is evident that Princess is making cost cuts in every area and not providing the quality service that people expect. It should be renamed Princess Queues.
Princess have offered a small discount off a future cruise as compensation for this travesty of a holiday. I will never cruise with this company again.