My wife and I have just returned from our first cruise - an excellent 14 nights around the Eastern Caribbean on Sea Princess. I must say that it exceeded all our expectations in terms of efficiency, organisation, comfort, food, entertainment and, above all, friendly and courteous service from all the crew members we met. From Day 1 we were on first name terms with our stateroom steward, and he with us. Room service when requested was prompt and delivered with a friendly smile. All the fellow passengers we spoke to were of the same opinion - nothing was too much trouble. My wife was a little apprehensive of cruising but is now, along with me, fully converted to the concept. We both look forward to similar holidays in the future, hopefully with Princess.
The only downside, again shared by most of the passengers (i.e. approx 1350 Brits out of the 1900+ total), and which is not attributable to Princess, was the US immigration process at Fort Lauderdale, with scenes reminiscent of the early immigrants arriving at Ellis Island at the beginning of the last century. The general advice for non-US citizens joining a similar cruise appears to be - "Join in Barbados".
What a shame an otherwise seemingly perfect vacation was marred by something so totally out of your or the cruise lines control.
We are hearing more and more similar reports. I'm sure the cruise lines are lobbying hard to get more personnel, relax restrictions, or both.
I am glad to hear you speak so highly of Princess, as it is also my favorite line.
I did an 18 day Panama Canal/Mexican Riviera cruise on Sea Princess and it was one of my best trips ever--of course I say that about all of them; but I really fell in love with Sea Princess.
Thank you again for the glowing endorsement and keep in touch.
Glad to hear you enjoyed the Sea Princess. She was our first Princess ship and is still our favorite. We too experienced the woes of Port Everglades immigration problems, not only on the Sun Princess last October but also on Costa Magica at Christmas. It's certainly not the cruise line's fault, but they seem to get the blame. I do hope someone from the port reads some of these boards, they definitely need additional personnel, equipment, and improvement on passenger waiting areas. I wonder if we all started emailing the port authority of additional funding would become available. Anyway, hope you will book another cruise soon!! Best wishes!
Perhaps I should point out that, whilst Port Everglades immigration was bad enough, the bigger problem was at Fort Lauderdale airport, where again there were insufficient resources to handle the volume of passengers passing through. When you've already gone through stringent security checks before leaving the UK, and then been cocooned for about 10 hours on a plane, the last thing you want is to queue for anything up to 2 hours to clear immigration, especially when you're only passing through en route to the ship.
I never could understand why, if you are just going from the plane to the ship, especially after what you have to go through to board a plane today, do you have to go through customs and immigration again. What's so hard about putting you right on the bus as you get off the plane? I suppose the efficency would eliminate some jobs.
As an American I must apologise for the shabby treatment. We are at a stage in our development where we have become somewhat paranoid. Petty bureaucrats are in their glory...complaining will not help,they are stone deaf. Now of course if people keep away that will produce a very different reaction....because green can make us overcome our fears very quickly.
Interesting to note that since we returned home, I read in the newspaper of a recent report indicating that many Brits are being put off returning to the States because of such experiences. Such a pity because it is such a great country for a vacation.