Reg and Janice Buck
Age: 57 and 53
Occupation:Electrician and Registered Nurse
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Sun Princess
Sailing Date: March 9th, 2005
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
Reg and Janice Buck
This was our first cruise with Princess Cruise line and we had only heard very good things about them. We had taken a cruise to Alaska with Celebrity Cruise line 2 years ago and it was absolutely amazing. We assumed that this cruise would be similar, but we were very wrong. There was absolutely no comparison.
The ship is 10 years old, and for the most part, well maintained. We were unable to book a balcony cabin for this trip, but had a stateroom with a large window. There was no paint left on the frame, and it actually looked like the wood was rotting away. The carpets in the staterooms appeared very well worn and actually dirty. We had twin beds pushed together as a queen size, but every morning, there was at least an 8 inch gap between them. They would not stay together.
The meals were good in the Horizon Buffet where we ended up eating most of the time after an unfortunate experience in the dining room, but not sensational. Our room steward was excellent as was one of the waiters in the theater, but that is where the excellence ended. Most of the other staff seemed very disgruntled all of the time. You would hear them complaining in the hallways etc and there just didn't seem to be enough staff around for the number of passengers. For example, when there would be approximately 400 people on the pool deck, there was 1 bartender. The pizza parlour was very good as well.
Another problem was that there were almost 2000 passengers aboard, but there were 2 theaters each holding about 600 people. If you didn't stand in line for approximately 45 - 60 minutes prior to the show, you wouldn't get a seat. Grant it, they did run some of the shows three times, but even so, not everyone would be able to see it. Saying that, the shows we did see were wonderful - good variety and great talent.
We did not enjoy the Personal Choice Dining and would definitely choose Traditional next time. When you arrived at the dining room, they would ask if you had a reservation, and if not, it seemed to be a great deal of effort for them to find you a table. One evening, we were shown to a table in the dining room, and after we had finished our appetizer and soup and were waiting on our main course, the person who was at the door, assigning tables, approached us and demanded (in a very loud voice) to know if we had seated ourselves or if someone had seated us. We replied that one of the waiters had seated us and she then proceeded to yell and ask who it had been. We stated we did not remember, after which she demanded we move to another table as we were at a table that another couple had reserved. We asked that we be allowed to finish our meal, but she continued yelling and waving over other waiters to clear our table and move us elsewhere. The head waiter then came over and advised us that another table would be just as nice! No one seemed to care that they were totally disturbing our meal. After being told that the other couple would not sit at another table and this was their table!!, we moved, but we should have left. It was then a steady stream of people coming to us apologizing for the whole thing, right up to the Maitre 'D who stated that this should never have happened and requesting that we please accept what they offered us. Next thing we knew, the chef was there with a bottle of champagne and offering to make us Cherries Jubilee for dessert. We don't even like champagne! This was just the finishing touch of the holiday we had waited almost 2 years for. We made sure we expressed our dissatisfaction on their survey where they state that "Good is not good enough, only excellence is acceptable". If in fact this is their motto, they need to train their staff in customer service, because we found it deplorable.
We will never take another cruise with Princess lines and will tell everyone who asks, why.