Just so everyone understands the issues that my family and I had to encounter on the Crown Princess for the July 2nd sailing.
Just an FYI, I believe the only time that I have ever went to the pursors desk for RCCL is for final acct payment and excursions. On the Crown Princess I went over 20 times to the Pursers office for complaints or problems on board.
Here is the letter that I sent with just some of the many problems with the cruise.
To Princess Cruise Passenger Relations Department:
I am writing you in regards to the Princess Crown Sailing out of NY on July 2nd. I have a laundry list of complaints, concerns and disappointments regarding the trip with my family on this particular cruise.
The issues actually began with the customer service line. The customer service line from phone to phone call was telling me different answers. For example, I called to find out where my brother in law stood in regards to the wait list and I was originally told 5 and they told 4 the following day. I called a couple of days later and they told me that he was 28 and that Platinum members get first dibs on the waiting list.
Do to the fact that they told me that they were number 5 on the waiting list I decided not to purchase the open balcony rooms that were available because of the cost. The following day they tell me that he is number 28 and that we should have purchased the balcony because it is a slim chance that we will be able to supply him the accommodations. Needless to say we did get him a room but the hours of frustration and countless conversations put a toll on me and my family.
Here are the issues that occurred from DAY ONE OF THE CRUISE:
1. Check in and Embarkment:
• I called Princess Customer Service the day before the cruise to see if we could arrive early to do early embarkment. (I have done this with the other numerous cruise lines that I have traveled with). I was told that I would not be able to arrive earlier than 1pm or I would be locked outside.
• I showed up at 1pm and the line was two hours long. When I arrived inside to discuss this one of the people at check in told me that I could have came as early as 10:45am to check in…(Once again communication issues)
• Upon arrival we could not find the EXPRESS CHECK IN that we were told would be able to use. We were put with my brother in law who did not have EXPRESS CHECK IN and he only booked his room 2 days before the cruise. When we did actually get inside the security check point I asked a women where the EXPRESS CHECK IN was and she told me that there was none. I asked another Princess Cruise employee about the EXPRESS CHECK IN and she told me “This is not what I do full time and it is a part-time job so I really don’t care”.
• After 2 hours in line with my kids and brother in law we finally arrive to the counter and the Princess employee was rude, curt and condescending to me.
• Upon finally checking in, my brother in law who doesn’t have EXPRESS CHECK IN was sitting on a bench waiting for us. He got on the ship faster??
• I was greeted by a young man named ATHAN from Canada. Athan was the gentlemen who were going to show us to our floor and where the room would be. I tried to spark up some conversation with Athan in regards to where in Toronto that he came from… He was condensending,moody and my other family members with told me that he gave a condescending look and rolled his eyes at me.( This is the greeter!!!) I should have known that this would be a sign of things to come…
• On arrival to my room the phone did not work and this would be this way for over 5 days.
After check in we decide to go to the buffet line after the 2.5 hour check in is finally over.
• Buffet had limited service people working and the tables were all filled with dirty plates. My family and I decided to sit at a dirty table and stack the plates up on the table and floor.
• The buffet line was chaos because it had no flow and direction.. All who were going through the line mentioned this.
• Going back to the table we still did not get any waiters until we got the restaurant manager to wait on us and get the tables cleared.
• Ordered drinks and they came when the meal was over. (Once again just the tip of the ice berg in regards to the service.)
• We decide to walk the ship and see the other food services that the Crown Princess offered. We were shocked that you charged for Coffee and Ice Cream?? We have been on numerous cruises were this was free and couldn’t understand why we had to pay.
Heading back to the room on DAY 1 we run into a young man named Christopher who is selling Juice/Soda stickers for our cards. We decide to buy juice/soda cards from Christopher because my kids have a tendency to drink a lot of juice. Of the 8 people with me all of them heard Christopher sell the stickers as Juice/Soda cards. I say this because the first time we try to use the cards at the buffet the waiter tells us that they are only good for certain soda’s (NOT Orange Soda or any juice whatsoever.)
Once again here is where the communication problem with the crew and staff was terrible. I go over to the Pursers desk and address this with Rose at the counter and she told me that Juice/Soda were included on the card..
Two of my sons are home schooled and they were very excited about seeing the Statue of Liberty and the sites of NY on departure from Brooklyn Harbor. (Needless to say that the $200 dollars that you gave us for Turk Caicos does not make up for the loss in seeing these sites along with the only island that we have never seen.) This was the only reason that I chose this itinerary because of the Turk Caicos and the Statue of Liberty/NY departure. As you know and are well aware, this did not help in improving our time on the ship.
The above was just a typical day in the life of a cruise with the Crown Princess.
Here is a list of Service issues:
1. Speak Easy Cigar Bar: Took 45 minutes to get a drink and the cigar selections were poor. The waiter Eddie was not at fault, but the Casino bartender was the issue in getting our drinks to us.
2. Casino- EVERY SINGLE TIME we played in the casino, we never were waited on for drinks unless we bothered the pit boss. On the last day the casino was open, my brother- in- law Robert Guilmette and I played Roulette for over 2 hours and never saw a waiter!!!! One night at 2am in the morning we finally got sick of waiting around for a drink, so we told the pit boss. He got a waiter to come over and take an order for drinks………..50 minutes later we get up to leave and the drinks still didn’t arrive!! We hunt the waiter down to tell him we are leaving and we still had to pay for the drinks!!! AND THEY WEREN’T even full.
3. Movie Under the Stars- Watching Dick and Jane Movie. When we finally got a waiter to come by to take our order, it took him 45 minutes to come back to tell us that he didn’t have Melon Liquor.. (he didn’t even know what he was talking about)
He had to go to another bar and get it. Took over one hour to get a drink and we still had to pay for it.. Adding to the insult was that we had to pay extra for the melon liquor.
4. Telephone didn’t work in my stateroom (L222) and I called down to make them aware of it.. 3 days later it was fixed. We were unable to receive calls from our family members and wake-up calls as well.
5. Ordered four martinis at Crooners one night from a short haired Asian bartender. One of the drinks was terrible, so I went up to her and told her that I would like another drink to replace this one martini.. She told me that is the way martini’s are made and that I might not be used to drinking them..She told me that she would make another one but I would have to pay for it!!!! The customer in her eyes is not always right I guess???
6. Attitude from Pursers office was very poor at times and they seemed tired and annoyed because they are powerless to do anything.
7. As mentioned from above the buffet service was poor.. We had to stack plates on the floor at times.
8. Express check from start to finish was horrendous.
9. Open dining room service was fair at best.. This is the first time that I did not use assigned seating and this could be the reason that they were unfriendly or unpersonable.
10. Short staffed in all areas of the outside pools. Wouldn’t see waiters for up to an hour at a time. (NONE BY THE KIDS AREA)
11. Casino workers and dealers all had attitudes.. (Seemed over worked)
12. Almost every single time we called the passenger services line, the phone would time out and we would have to go all the way down to the Pursers office to get things resolved.
13. See above regarding the horror show of the check in and the attitudes that we encountered.
14. Do to the lack of deck attendants, there was no way to monitor all of the empty chairs that were being held. On two occasions my son’s and I wanted to see a movie by the pool but couldn’t because there were saved chairs with towels laying on them. I had to walk around the deck for 20 minutes and finally gave up.. If I did find a deck hand they didn’t know how to address the lounge chair issues. (once again an example of inexperienced employees)
14. Lastly, and most annoying was Ernie.. He was the Princess rep who did all the excursions and lined everyone up to be in the correct line. He had a terrible attitude and I actually had to tell him to stop with his attitude right away or I would report him. I had numerous people in line tell me that he was being a jerk and they were glad I took care of it.
Overall the service was poor either due to lack of knowledge, communication, attitude or just simply being over worked. What I had heard from several Princess staff members was that this was their first cruise and they were still learning the rules and the way everything operated. IE: Eddie at the Speak Easy has never smoked a cigar and has no idea on the differences or nuances of them.
I was not happy to hear this because being Princess Cruise’s newest ship; you would think they would have their most trained and top notch crew on Princess’s new pride and joy ship.(I was also made aware that the ship was way behind schedule due to the Italian work timeline/unions. I was told by staff members in one of your stores regarding this and they also told me that you were bringing in new employees to the ship. Actually, told me that you were bringing in first time job seekers.)
I have been on several Royal Caribbean cruises and Princess was supposed to be a step up from them in regards to service… Wasn’t even close.
Every single RCC staff member had good attitudes and knew their jobs inside and out.
The poor service was actually an ongoing joke on the ship and was the water cooler conversation in the elevators and on the excursions..(Story after horror story)
1. The first time that I attempted to go in the main pool, I found a large mucous flem floating on top of the pool.
I told the deck hand and he told me to call the pursers office..???? Needless to say the pool wasn’t closed and I never went back in.
2. I brought the kids to the Kids Pool (Calypso) and there was pizza sauce and mixed fruit spread all over the deck. Since, there are no Princess employees that work in this deck area; my kids had to play around it for 2 hours.
3. Elevators constantly had food in them.
4. The main pool area was constantly littered with napkins, fruit and food.
5. Bathrooms were always immaculate?
6. Dirty dishes were piling up in buffet table and we had to put them on the floor to get room to eat.
7. Waiters in Michelangelo’s had rampant body odor that would disturb most of our dinners. They would reach over and the odor would permeate the area in which we were eating. (This occurred on the last two dinners)
1. Were told on the itinerary that Sunday was the second formal night and they changed it without notice to Saturday. (The put a small little change in the Princess Patter) I went to the Pursers desk to ask about it and they said they made a printing mistake. Then why wasn’t everyone notified? You give papers in our room for Art Auctions but not for attire changes?
2. Coke and Juice Card Miscommunication (Check Above)
3. The Princess Cruise PreSail book told us that one of the excursions was open to all ages and when we booked it the tickets said that it was for ages 12 and up. It was too late to sign up for any other excursions.
4. Fitness was suppose to be open at 7am and was frequently not open on time.
5. Express Check In was non-existent (see above)
6. One of the recommended excursions in the Princess cruise PreSail book was the Kayak and Snorkling in a Marine Sanctuary. We booked this based upon past experiences snorkeling in St. Thomas, which had been great. The Kayak excursion was also in St. Thomas. What the brochure did not say was that this excursion would be in barren, desolate, gray waters that were filled with jellyfish. It cost our family $630 to kayak 2-miles out to this area to see a colorless floor of a lagoon, being led by a tour guide who had us chasing nothing from area to area under the water. (They also did not fit our youngest son properly in his life vest so he was not able to participate.) Needless to say, we felt as though we had been taken advantage of by this tour, which is suggested by Princess.
Overall the communication was terrible at the Pursers office. You have castrated them to the point that they are powerless. They can not do anything in regards to customer satisfaction. This is the same with Passenger relations on the ship. They have no autonomy to do anything. Everything has to be solved and resolved through Princess Cruise Corporate office.
I was never looking for any freebees from the staff, customer service, purser’s office or passenger relations but they can’t even offer anything unless the corporate office gives the almighty blessing.
I have had issues on other cruise lines but the problems were addressed quickly and correctly. Every time I went to Passenger Services and the Pursers Desk it seemed they would nod their head and have no apathy or sympathy for the issues that had arisen.
I am not sure what can be done for such a terrible example of how to run a cruise ship, but my family and I were extremely disappointed. We work hard all year to finally travel together and enjoy our trip. Whether it was the service, attitudes, the lack of apathy, missing ports, cleanliness, etc., the trip would have been better spent on another cruise ship.
Lastly, I must give Kudos’s to a few people and departments:
1. Jesus Ramirez (Mexico) at the International Café was excellent and joy to see every morning and late night?
2. The guys at the Sushi Bar were top notch.
3. Eddie at the Speak Easy was a great guy and excelled in customer relationship. (not his fault that it took 45 minutes to get us a drink. (Has no knowledge of Cigars and should be able to offer expertise)
4. Reynaldo our cabin steward was also excellent.
I purchased close to 18k in cabins for this trip (L222,L220,L218,C731) and this could have been money better spent on Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas. (Service and Itinerary ended up being better)