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Took $27,000 From Seniors And Gave Them Nothing
Posted by Josielulu on 03/09/2010
SAN CLARITA, OHIO -- Recently, our group of 20 friends booked a cruise that was scheduled to depart on 2 March from Valparaiso, Chile, to Rio De Janiero, Brazil. After months of careful planning and work to coordinate flights, visas ($5000 in fees and postage), calendars, immunizations, and other related logistics; an unexpected event occurred at our port of departure. An earthquake hit Chile, causing significant damage to major cities and ports. Star Princess’ response to this disaster was slow and calculated. They delayed making any decision to cancel the cruise, and selectively communicated to us whether they were going to leave or not.

At the 11th hour, Star Princess decided to proceed with their scheduled departure from Chile. Then they announced rescheduling the departure twice and did not depart until 9:00pm March 4th. The obvious problem was getting to the port, which was physically impossible for all of us. Princess failed to disclose the following: a. prior to March 3, closing of the airport to all but military and emergency operations; b. the implementation of Phase I (March 3-5) and Phase II (March 6) restoration of the domestic and international flight services into Santiago Chile. American Airlines informed us that they could not fly us in until 7 March. Despite warnings from the United States government to avoid traveling to Chile, Star Princess informed its clients that they needed to be present either at Valparaiso, or the cruise’s first scheduled stop at Punta Arenas (which would have cost an extra $85,000 to have us all fly there). We even tried to fly in from Rio De Janiero to the next port Ushuaia, because the last minute Princess cancelled Punta Arenas, and this domestic fare would require another $21,000 and an additional 11 hours of flying. The message from Star Princess was show up and board or forfeit the payment we made to them. There would be no refunds.

Interestingly, American Airline and Delta Airline graciously refunded our money, and even the mom and pop tourist companies based in Chile, and other Latin American countries gave our money back. Star Princess took $26,000 from us. We have nothing to show for either our money spent, or the time we invested into getting together for one of our dream trips among close friends. We implore Star Princess to do the right and conscionable thing, which is to schedule our group on another cruise or refund our money. To date, we’ve gotten nothing except bureaucratic responses and excuses. For the time being, I ask you to not do business with Star Princess, unless you want to risk paying something for nothing.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-09:
The natural disaster wasn't caused by Princess. However they should credit you for a future cruise.
Posted by momsey on 2010-03-09:
The OP didn't imply that the natural disaster was caused by Princess. She/he simply wants Princess to do what's right, which, as you said, would be a full credit for a future cruise or a full refund.
Posted by goduke on 2010-03-09:
If Princess doesn't step up, you might want to get in touch with the attorney general's office in Ohio.
Posted by josielulu on 2010-03-09:
Just want to correct, San Clarita is in California
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-09:
I agree with goduke and also for 26K I'd consult with an attorney. I'm sure in the contract Princess has disclaimed themselves out of any liability but judges tend to not let silly disclaimers get in the way of justice. Talk with an attorney. You'll be glad you did.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-09:
They can't just keep your money. The complaint needs to be filed in the state that Princess calls its home (headquarters).
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-09:
Hmm...the way I see it is this. If this particular Princess Cruise is based at the Chilean port, then it does seem reasonable for it to be the passengers responsibility to get to that port. Flight problems are not the cruise lines issue or responsibility. I also do not see where they drug their feet on making the decision. They likely had to wait for all info to come in weigh the monetary vs scheduling conflict.

Second, well, this is exactly what traveler's insurance is for. I am surprised the airlines gave the refunds, unless the trip was purchased in parts separately. Unless I am totally missing something.

Last year I had a woman's expo planned and scheduled, with all vendors and ads placed and advertising paid for. There was 6 months of work into that event. The night before, a tornado ripped through town and tore down the pavilion in the lot next door, as well as damaging the building. I had 15 hours to decide whether to cancel or not.

I had to tour the lot and building, get clearance on whether the damage was such that it would be unsafe etc. I had hundreds of hours and dollars tied into this. Luckily, the building was fine, just a lot of clean up to do. Everyone pitched in: me, the vendors and heck, some of the customers, to get the parking lot and the inside cleaned up. (The party the night before had been canceled early due to the tornado and no one had come back to clean up their mess from the event).

It worked out, but I so understand the cruise lines position. Travel insurance. ALWAYS.
Posted by josielulu on 2010-03-09:
I forgot to mention there were more than 90 aftershocks in the region. Two aftershocks that registered 5.5 and 6.1. One of them literally stopped the port at Valparaiso from embarking passengers. The risk in this situation entailed much higher risk to the passengers' safety than the tornado in your situation. Glad you were able to salvage your event.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-09:
If Princess wants to be hard nosed about this that's their right to do so. But that isn't the right way to handle it. They can very easy re-book on a later cruise and keep the money you paid them. Their crusie ships seldom sail full anymore so it's no skin off their nose to to do what's right.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-09:
This is exactly why (for now)I don't cruise from a port I can't drive to. Come hell or high water, my azz is gonna be on that ship.

Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-10:
Josie, I am just saying that they have to weigh the pros and cons of going on with the trip. How many passengers have already arrived for the trip, how many employees can make the ship to work, The perishable foods items that have already been stocked on board, the news reports about the aftermath, the weather etc. They have to weight everything, and it takes time for all that.

Luckily you got refunds for the airfare...but don't hold too much against them. They are a business and again, travel insurance is sold for emergencies and unavoidable situations.
Posted by josielulu on 2010-03-10:
They should have focused on getting the passengers off their boat and just meeting their Mrch 16th schedule. Passengers do understand cancellation when there is a disaster. Honestly it will be difficult to enjoy myself with all the devastation around me.
Instead, they charged the passengers who could not catch their flights out of Santiago for staying on their boat $50-$75 per night. allowed to stay just one night; those who arrived on March 2, couldn't get on and had to find lodging elsewhere and paid for it themselves. Their refund is in shipboard credit or something, no cash.
It was obvious the safety issue would be the decisive factor to not go.
To salvage the trip, cost and long hours of travel to the next port, would decide also against it.
All factors point the way of impossible. Did Princess know that? They need to be true to themselves and answer that question.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-10:
josie, if those same people had to go to a hotel they wouldn't have gotten the stay free, so I don't see what that complaint is about. The ship charged the extra nights as anyone else would have.
Posted by josielulu on 2010-03-10:
People were stranded on their ship. What if they had no money to pay? Sleep on the streets. There is an issue of double dipping. 1900 failed to make it to this cruise. Their vacant rooms were sold just like if we cancelled, the cruise line would make a strong effort to resell the room. But they take the hard line not to refund your money.

Thank you Lady Scot for helping me see both sides of the coin. Perhaps my biggest omission was check into the integrity and credibility of Princess as a business. Since this incident, I have found mounting evidence to really question their honesty and integrity. It is really unfortunate.
The fortunate thing is there are individuals like yourself who strive to present both sides. You should be rewarded for this valiant effort.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-11:
Thank you Josie. I am usually called an employee of whatever company a review is about when the OP doesn't like my opinion. I am also usually called a consumer hater which I am not. I just see things from a business point of view, and in this as a frequent traveler, I always buy the travel insurance.

Airlines and cruise lines etc can not be held liable for the weather or natural disasters. That is all I am saying. :) Good luck to you.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-03-11:
lady - it's funny you mentioned perishable goods.

from the military side of things, i know what its like when your cruise lasts longer than they planned and they start running low (or out) of things.

on my last ship we had days when the only thing available to drink on the mess decks was water... maybe coffee. cos they were out of soda, out of juice, out of juice mix, and the milk was spoiled. yum yum.
Posted by josielulu on 2010-03-11:
Here is Princess' reply to our plight:

Originally Posted by oimui
From: rschweizer@princesscruises.com [mailto:rschweizer@princesscruises.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2010 1:08 PM
To: Kris Moone
Cc: Ron Wigand
Subject: Re: The Star Princess 14 Days South America - Cape Horn Cruises (URGENT)
Importance: High

Hi Kris,
I'm truly sorry that you are having to deal with this very unfortunate situation. The ripple effect of the Chilean disaster is both sad and far reaching and will not go away for some time to come.
From a business point of view, we place Princess Vacation Protection on every booking. Ultimately it is the decision of the client as to whether or not they wish to keep the coverage enforced or drop it. You are the consummate professional Kris and you clearly understand the benefits of investing in appropriate insurance coverage. We do the same for our automobiles, homes including ourselves. Nobody expects to get ill or worse. But when they do, insurance helps to pick up the pieces so we can move on.
Operationally Star Princess will depart on her new schedule tomorrow. We delayed her departure (at no cost to the guests) which impacted the itinerary and experience for everyone in order to provide a safe home for those that were unable to disembark Star Princess due to the immediate challenges caused by the earthquake.
To your specific group challenge, I placed a call to our Vice President of Customer Relations in order to get a clearer picture of where we are at. At this point I think it would be prudent to counsel your clients to begin the process of submitting their claims with whomever they made insurance coverage with including their own personal homeowners insurance providers.
In a business that celebrates people, customs and opportunities to learn from others while exploring places that most don't even think are imaginable, the impact of this natural disaster is the reality of what can and will happen when we venture beyond our own backyard. While I know that many of your clients are disappointed and heartbroken ... they are safe and with their loved ones. I hope that once this all settles down that your clients will continue to pursue their dream to visit South America and rebook with you. As Rick Steve's says ... "keep on traveling".
I remain at your service Kris. Please do not hesitate to call upon me if I can do anything humanly possible.
Warmest Regards,
Rick Schweizer
Kris Moone
SLS 03/03/2010 10:27 AM
ccRon Wigand
SubjectThe Star Princess 14 Days South America - Cape Horn Cruises (URGENT)

Posted by Connoisseur on 2010-03-13:
Why should you spring for "insurance" at cost to you if everything that went wrong is not your fault? The company is run by a bunch of greedy boors. The correct thing to do is to reschedule everyone at THEIR convenience. Period. Each customer should be informed that accomodations will be made for them as soon as everything is back to normal. To expect clients to show up come hell or high water regardless of the turmoil and the dangerous situation, is the epitomy of arrogance, lack of dignity and just plain damned greed. Gee no flights in?? can't make it?? too bad we are leaving anyway. No class. Just low class. Princess just lost this pending customer.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-14:
Connoisseur, if you travel at all you already know that airlines and cruise lines, hotels and rental car agencies, do not give refunds due to weather or natural disasters. Travel insurance is FOR those things. The things that are not your fault and not the fault of the agencies or companies themselves.

If you don't travel, well, the first time you miss a flight due to disaster or weather you will wish you had insurance.
Posted by Joe the guy on 2010-03-22:
Philosophical view. If interested, read on. This type of problem is the state of being a consumer and dealing with manufacturers, retailers and service providers. Their usual comments "you are responsible" "that does not happen" or "too much time has expired since you purchased it" I will give two instances among many that I had to deal with. First, an Epson printer that was purchased from Epson and arrived broken. I waited beyond the 30 day period and therefore nothing could be done. Second, I purchased a can of Hunts Tomatoes and some of the tomatoes were rotten. I called Hunts and they sent me one coupon for a replacement can. So, we have to depend on "buyer beware" but, also we have to do all the work needed to bring about a correction to the problem. Where is the sown side for the seller in all of this. You make a purchase and if their is a problem and you catch them within the allotted time, they will simply give you a replacement. So why should the businesses be concerned about quality control?
Posted by Connoisseur on 2010-03-26:
LadyScot....I hear you but the logic is wrong.

If you cannot for whatever reason "render service" and you have NOT given that service, then you should RETURN the money or make good by rendering the service another time agreed upon. It is just simple integrity of decency not to take money for services not rendered........regardless of the cause.
You seem to miss this point lady. The fact that it is done and is institutionalized is the reason people like you have to buy at cost to you insurance for THEIR lack of decency. If everybody stood up like me and demanded integrity of service and refused to allow them to get away with taking money for services NOT RENDERED........they would go out of business, as they should. LACK of Ethics by businesses has consumers like you at their mercy. And you are right....I stay off of airlines, that are now nothing more than cattle-cars with perverts gropping and now oggling you before you can board....while the persons they should be oogling and grabbing are roaming free blowing up people, duh. I stay off of cruise lines that are nothing more than a floating germ/disease spreaders. I like my SUV and the clean B/B...and the beauty and wonder of the US country and her people. To hell with expensive rip of vacation companies. I have to go to a wedding overseas and I already dread the XXXXX airlines. Can't wait till the flying personal cars hit the market.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-27:
Conn, it is not my point being missed. I do not make the rules. You buy insurance for your house or your car just in case something happens. By your own logic, it should not be necessary for you to take precautions against things out of your control because you can always get your money back or another car from the dealer, right?

It has nothing to do with decency or ethics. It has to do with business, the business of them selling you something that you have the option of insuring. Acts of nature do not qualify for refunds. Insurance does.
Posted by Connoisseur on 2010-04-12:
Lady Scott...You buy insurance for your house because you have to.....as long as the bank owns your house. Same with the car. After that you can drop insurance. (Except for the bare minimum on cars..because potentially it is a dangerous object to others.)

By your logic we should pay for services "not rendered." Who cares if is an act of God or some other failure.......if it is not the clients fault that the service cannot be rendered then the vendor should reimburse it is just that simple. It is the ethical and moral thing to do. I would never charge a client for services I did not render that I promised to do and it is not the clients fault that the service was not delivered. The notion that I should insure at my own expense just to make sure that in the event of not having the service rendered I can get some of my money back is, absurd. You don't render service? Give me my money back or I am coming after you with a vengence. I don't like being screwed. I have never been on a cruise and will never go on one if the contract signs my rights away to the service I expect to get when I BUY SOMETHING. Sorry LadyS....but, nobody is getting over on me, I work for my money. Hey, each to their own.
Posted by Classy Cruiser on 2010-08-29:
The cruise line DID perform a service. They reserved rooms and space for all of these people who failed to make it to the trip. Princess cannot recoup the loss of the room just because the passenger didn't show up to the cruise. Why should they return revenue when they did not break the contract?

Trip Insurance is to cover cancellations that are not the fault of the cruise line. If you do not want to lose the investment you've made in spending a lot of money on the trip, you should always buy insurance. If the cruiseline were to offer that type of coverage as a standard service, then the price of your fare would go up. I'd rather it be MY option on whether or not I want to spend the money or take my chances. If you don't mind spending the extra money for that extra service, why didn't you just buy insurance to begin with?
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-29:
You know, I think its pretty sad the way princess is handling this. I mean cmon now, people! A freakin natrual disaster occurred! These people spent a HUGe amount of money on this cruise, and princess will not be the slightest sympathetic and at least provide these people with the cruise they're rightfully entitled to? Thats a pretty rotten thing to do.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-29:
You can throw the terms and conditions card at me all you want. Of course every company has their "fine" print for everythingm, basically making them ALL not responsible for ANYTHING even if they ARE respnsible. Its pretty pathetic if you ask me. I hope the OP contacted a lawyer and fighting with them over this. Dispicable!
Posted by josielulu on 2010-08-30:
Does anyone know a good attorney?
Posted by karsykay on 2011-07-03:
Travel insurance is always a good idea. This is a problem when people haven't been advised about such, ergo, internet vacation bookings. Until you're a seasoned traveller, a travel agent can educate and guide you through tricky bookings and what-if's.
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Princess does not refund money for a VERY LONG TIME!
Posted by Lenaldu on 07/02/2009
On our return home from 107 day World cruise, Princess made a mistake by canceling our return flight tickets from Rome to Newark, purchased as a package deal through Princess. At the airport check-in 2 hours prior to our flight departure we were told by the airline clerk that our tickets were refunded (no idea to whom!) almost 2 months ago (while we were cruising). Yet, before leaving our ship we double checked with the front office and were assured that our transfers and flights are confirmed.
Princess representative at the airport contacted the company, admitted to us Princess’ mistake and assisted in purchasing tickets on next available flight home. Luckily for us, two seats were available. We were left with no choice, but to pay close to $2,000.00 for two coach tickets with our credit card and were assured by Princess’ representative that Princess will reimburse us a. s.a. p.
It has been 2 months. Without going into all the details about what we had to mail, to fax, how many times we had to call, how many times we heard “we apologize for the inconvenience”, etc., we still did not get our refund.
Another issue: While on the ship, we booked tours at the very beginning of 107 days and were charged and billed right away. Later we found out that this was not the case with other passengers. They were charged for tour(s) on each cruise segment. When we were canceling most of the tours, there was no credit on our shipboard account until the very end of the cruise. It took Princess another month to credit our credit card. When we asked why the charge goes to credit card right away and credit ONLY AT THE END OF THE CRUISE, we were told that this is Princess’ policy. What a policy! We canceled close to $3,000.00 worth of tours. Princess was using our money for 3 months + one month, now they are using again our money for another 2 months.
Next time we will think twice before booking a cruise with Princess.

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Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2009-07-02:
I suggest contacting their higher ups to see where that leads you:

They need to refund you. Right away.
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Crown Princess Cruise
Posted by on 04/20/2009
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA -- First I would like to state that it was difficult for me to categorize this as either a compliment or complaint, and that's why I'll call it informative. I also would like to state that I can't help but compare this to previous cruises I've been on.

My husband and I cruised (7 day eastern Caribbean) on Crown Princess, leaving Port Everglades on 04/12/09.

Embarkation was like a cattle call, crowded and disorganized, but I'm sure that had more to do with the port than the cruise line. Once we were on the ship though, things went a little more smoothly.

Our cabin (Riviera deck 14, balcony stateroom) was already ready. That was very nice. All of my previous cruises, with Carnival, I had to tote around my carryon for several hours until it was ready.

Our stateroom was smaller than we were used to, as was the bathroom. The balcony was adequate, and we loved our location. Several decks below us, the balconies 'jutted' out, leaving some of our fellow passengers with no privacy, as we could see their entire balcony from above.

The buffet food was fantastic, the dining room food was even better. There was always a huge selection. Sometimes there were specialty venues, including a sushi/Japanese buffet one day, and a pub style fish and chips in one of the lounges another.

Overall, the food was far better on Princess than any Carnival cruise I've ever been on.

We opted for Anytime Dining for dinner, instead of the traditional. The nice thing about this was, instead of having to be there at a set time, we could make reservations (which we did), or just show up at one of two anytime dining rooms.

For the formal lobster dinner, we made reservations and were informed that there were no 2 person tables left, so we elected to dine with 4 other people. Not only was our company pleasant, but the dining staff were very attentive and a joy to deal with.

Some overall observations:

Children - Few small children were there, and the ones we encountered were well behaved.

Fellow passengers - Most of the passengers were more mature, and pretty much everyone we met were friendlier than we were used to.

Crew - Although our room steward and one of the bartenders were great (they always greeted us by name and knew our preferences after the first day), the majority of the crew appeared unfriendly and unhelpful. With Carnival, I always knew I could ask any crewmember for help, but on this cruise, good luck if you can find any of them to be pleasant. Most seemed annoyed if approached.

Disembarkation - We opted to self-disembark, meaning that we meet at a preset time and take all of our own luggage off of the ship. That didn't happen. We were at our meeting place with our luggage, when we were supposed to be.

There were no crew members to direct anything, so everyone pretty much made up their own rules. We waited an hour, standing in a hallway to get off of the ship. Very disorganized, overall.

Some wonderful things - Princess Cays, Princess' private island. We brought our own snorkeling gear, picked out a couple of lounge chairs and had a blast (stay away from the ship's beach bbq, it's not worth it). Tons of fish to look at, at your own leisure. We paid for a snorkeling excursion off of Grand Turk (Gibb's Cay), and had a great time snorkeling with stingrays (some of them were 4 1/2 ft in diameter!). A couple of sharks showed up to the party, too.

In short, I'd probably cruise with Princess again, if I got a really good deal. Other than that, I'd prefer to either try a different cruise line, or wait for my favorite ship to change itineraries and book with her.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
A couple of more informatives:

Our favorite pool was located on our deck, aft, and it was for adults only. That was strictly enforced.

This ship also had M.U.T.S., aka Movies Under the Stars. There was a huge screen on the deck above us, where you could watch first run movies in the evening. This included free popcorn, and blankets were provided. We liked the padded lounge chairs, and the first day we watched some of Wall-E, while splashing around in the pool :).
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
Holy shamoly,Its been a week already? Time flies

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
Miss M, you're leaving out important details. Were there any hot staff members or other hot male passengers on the cruise?
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
The 2 caribbean reef sharks we snorkeled with were pretty *hot*..LOL! You wouldn't believe how many people freaked and immediately got out of the water. IMHO, they weren't even interested in us, and my husband got some underwater video of them.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
watching Wall-E under the stars sounds awesome...

Posted by Principissa on 2009-04-20:
That sounds like a blast! Aside from the snooty crew, I really hope you guys had a great time! And those movies under the stars, I would love that. That sounds like an awesome time! I'm glad the sharks didn't freak you out, although I can totally understand why someone would freak at the sight of a shark. :)
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
Sorry, little, the answer is no. I did meet some very nice people, though.
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-04-20:
Actually it sounds like heaven for those of us who were still on shore! Glad you're back. Good review!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
MissMarple -- This was pure pleasure to read. Outstanding review!!!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
Princi, the last night of our cruise, there was an entire reserved area (best viewing spot, of course) for kids that were registered, to watch Madagascar 2.

I thought that was kinda cool. I'd bet they had a blast.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2009-04-20:
Good review...now the question is...WHY DID YOU LEAVE WITHOUT JOHN AND ME???
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
Hey, now, DB. You weren't at the meeting spot!
Posted by Principissa on 2009-04-20:
I'm sure they did. I am really happy about the adults only pool. Hubby and I want to go on a cruise, but we've always been a little put off by the fact that some cruise lines don't have adults only pools and things like that. If I'm going on vacation without my own kids, I don't want to have to deal with other people's kids. Not that it would ruin our vacation, it would just annoy us.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2009-04-20:
Yes I was. You gave me the wrong spot on purpose!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
Nice review, Miss M. Glad you had a good time. The snorkling sounded like fun. Thanks for filling us in on all the details, good and not so good :)
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-04-20:
Princi, you kind of read my mind. I wonder if there are adults only cruises that don't involve ball gags and leather...
Posted by Principissa on 2009-04-20:
LOL Boki! I just think it would be nice to go on an adult's only cruise and not have to worry about screaming kids, and whining and crying.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
MM, we were on the Sun Princess a few years ago. Princess does a pretty good job for the prices they charge. (VH)
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-04-20:
Amen, Princi. Parents deserve a little down time! Cancel that, parents deserve a LOT of down time!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
Princi, a few years back, I remember hearing something about Disney offering an adults only cruise. I'm still waiting on that! Such beautiful ships..

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
My friend went on the Disney cruise. She has no kids and she said that she barely saw the other kids. They keep the kids pretty well occupied.
Posted by Slimjim on 2009-04-20:
Thanks for the feedback. What were your impressions of the ship compared to a large Carnival?
I just remembered Princess has those bridge cams you can see online. You could have gotten online and told us where you were and we could have seen it real time on their site. Kind of like bring us along. Wouldn't that have been special.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-20:
Slimjim, I watched those bridge cams for 3 weeks before sailing. Unfortunately, this is the last week Crown Princess is in the Eastern Caribbean.

Here she is right now! I was there!

Posted by Slimjim on 2009-04-20:
At the private island today I see. Just like RC's in Haiti, they have to tender you in.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-23:
For anyone interested, I've posted a slideshow on my blog..

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-23:
Very cool slide show, were all so jealous now!
Posted by MRM on 2009-04-23:
Awesome trip you have just took, MissMarple!
Posted by ejack053824 on 2009-04-23:
How were the bathrooms?
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-23:
I always wondered why a ship had a poop deck. Great slideshow MM.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-23:
EJ -- the bathrooms were very small..
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-23:
Thanks to everyone who liked the slideshow -- I still have some pics to develop.

Already planning cruise #5 (talk about an addiction..LOL).
Posted by ejack053824 on 2009-04-23:
Geez..that wouldn't work for me. All I have to do is drop one stink pickle and the entire ship would be abandoned!
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-04-23:
EJ - you could always wait until you are in port, and potty in the surf. j/k
Posted by frhrwa on 2009-04-28:
Well, let me tell you, if you cruise MSC Lirica, you'll appreciate ALL the other cruise lines.. We went twice this year on the Lirica.. Rude, the people working that ship no how to spell it perfectly fine. I have never been on such a rude ship.. Ammenities, NONE.. ice cream, you buy! If your in the line to get something to eat at 8pm, they cover it and take it away right in front of you. Drinks like coffee, tea, juice.. same thing! They will dump it while you stand there with your cup.. and don't plan on coffee before the opening time in the morning.. its NOT available.. Rooms, the smallest I've ever been in, the shower is so small, if your half big, don't try to turn around in it.. the shower curtain sticks to you and the handle on the wall will catch your elbow.. We went on this ship the first of the year, said "no way would we ever go back on it".. but, we had paid for a Panama City/canal trip for April.. and had talked friends into going also, come to find out, it was the same ship! Couldn't back out and leave our friends to suffer, hoped the comment forms filled out by ALL of the earlier cruise participants had done some good.. NOT.. Now we know.. and that's it.. Norwegian just moved way up the scale after sailing the MSC cruise line.. oh, Costa Maya is one port visited, its a hurricane beach wiped out a few years ago.. Nothing there! Costa Rica (Puerto Limon), beautiful area, would go there again, on another cruise line.. Panama City/canal, GREAT! Well worth it! But be ready for the ride of your life if you go on a bus tour. Cartagena, Columbia.. quite interesting, great tour of the city.. picture place for sure... Dominican Republic, DON'T waste your time.. absolutely worthless!
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-04-28:
Wow, frhrwa a lot of great info in your comment, very helpful!
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Missed opportunity
Posted by Waynelr on 07/04/2010
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- The pinnacle of our 50th anniversary cruise/tour was supposed to be the Kantshna Experience. Here's our experience.

Customer Relations
Dear Sirs:
This complaint is in reference to a cruise/tour taken on May 31,2010 from Vancouver, B. C. (booking # 2KWP3L) on the Island Princess which included a 7-day land portion from Whittier to Copper River to Denali, Mt Mckinley and finally Anchorage. Several optional tours at different destinations were also booked in early March of this year.

One of these was Kantishna Experience at Denali for June 10th. As a photographer this was possibly an opportunity of a lifetime. Although our tour was paid and confirmed on March 12th we received a note on June 9th stating that this tour had been canceled and instead you booked us on the Tundra Wilderness tour. No valid reasons for this switch have ever been forthcoming. In all likelihood I may never travel to Alaska again and have missed my window of opportunity and severely tempered our 50th wedding anniversary celebration. In preparation for this tour I initially booked with the Park Service prior to March 12th to be sure of its availability. Subsequently I was assured by your agents that it could be included through Princess and was persuaded to cancel my Park Service reservations (4 persons). The fees to Princess were paid up front and the Kantishna Experience was supposedly guaranteed. Your $25/person apology amount (good on Princess only) was an insult.

To further exacerbate things the Tundra Wilderness tour was rushed at the request of two persons who had another tour scheduled at 1:30pm. This was grossly unfair to the other 49 passengers on this tour. There was very little stopping for photo ops as advertised. I’m sure you must have had numerous complaints about this as well. They were all justified.

My second complaint is with your computer registration system. I spent considerable time and effort pre-registering our credit cards as suggested to speed up the embarkation process for the four persons in my party. I was very rudely informed at embarkation that this credit approval had to be done again. Apparently what gets entered in your computer stays there and not disseminated to the proper places.

At McKinley lodge we found the grille inexplicably closed until 2pm. Since our bus for Anchorage departed at 2pm that left only the main dining room to find a meal and it didn’t open until noon. Fortunately they were kind enough to seat us early and we were able to eat comfortably before leaving at 2pm. There were others not quite so lucky I’m afraid.

Traveling with Princess again is not in our plans.


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Posted by raven2010 on 2010-07-04:
Every single cruise line has disclaimers regarding excursions. They cannot 110% guarantee each excursion will take place.

There are a myriad of reasons the excursion could have been canceled. Whether or not you feel the reason is "valid" is not relevant, as you agreed to the terms when you booked/paid.

yes, it sucks, but thatis just the way cruising goes.
Posted by MaggieMcT on 2010-07-04:
I can understand you being disappointed. But to let something like this "severely temper" your 50th wedding anniversary?
Posted by a/k/a Sarah on 2013-07-27:
Hi! My husband and I just celebrated our 22nd anniversary with a cruise/tour of Alaska. Loved it! We too cruised on Princes and went to Kantishna, but did everything on land on our own: rented a car, booked our excursions,...and we are glad we did. First of all, it is hard to predict what the weather will be, and did not want to be committed to a planned excursion, when we could be flexible and change our plans if weather was better for something else. Our UNPLANNED Kantishna experience was overall fantastic, but I will share some of the down side, but we really did LOVE the whole thing the way it turned out. I too, would have been bummed if I had planned to go all the way and only got to go as far as Eielson Visitor Center. But honestly, you really didn't miss much but getting bit by a ZILLION mosquitoes at Kantishna. My husband and I paid to go to Eielson Visitor Center, and hurried inside to the dispatcher at Eielson to see if we could go to Wonder Lake. Then I thought, shoot, if we are going to Wonder Lake, we might as well go all the way. Meanwhile, my husband wanted to turn around at Eielson because he didn't really enjoy the bouncy, dusty bus ride, and we had been told that we would only see a few ducks between Eielson and Kantishna. Yes, we saw Fanny house, (you can Google pictures) http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.wildnatureimages.com/images%202/C6CT6643..jpg and imgrefurl=http://www.wildnatureimages.com/Alaska_Airline_Magazine.htm and h=399 and w=600 and sz=98 and tbnid=KphqX8IlJ4GkYM: and tbnh=90 and tbnw=135 and zoom=1 and usg=__3l-fDnXmVXW2KcPUsqQdu9ZDUY4= and docid=HL9bL1pJrn2ypM and sa=X and ei=uxLzUfohwpvKAYTWgcAE and ved=0CDQQ9QEwAQ and dur=237, the dispatcher said there was a bus leaving in one minute heading to Kantishna. So I booked it. We jumped on our old bus, grabbed our backpacks, and headed to the Shuttle Bus to Kantishna. Really, the only thing we saw different was 2 sets of ducks in two different small ponds. No other wildlife... unless you consider mosquitoes wildlife, then we saw the ABSOLUTE MOST MOSQUITOES EVER!!!! at Kantishna. They were everywhere, and zoomed into the bus as soon as the door opened and if anyone opened their windows even for a second to take a photo. The bus driver announced that we could fly back to the entrance of the park in 35 minutes with Kantishna Air and pointed out the gravel airstrip. My husband was not a happy camper, so I got off and asked if they were flying that day (it was overcast). The girl said yes, and asked how many. I said 2. She said they only fly with 3. So I hopped back on the bus and asked if there was anyone else who wanted to fly $225 one way. No takers. She said to check at the office and maybe they can work something out. In luck. The guy said they had room for 2, but we had to split up. They had 2 planes leaving at 3pm and landing at the entrance to the park at the same time. One on one plane, and one on the other. He also said it was not going to be a majestic scenic mountain flight because of the clouds. I asked if we could get a discount, and he agreed to a small discount which we were happy to accept. I hopped on the bus, said to my husband, "If you die honey, I'm gonna miss you
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Smoking on the Island Princess
Posted by Carl from Pahrump on 12/04/2009
CALIFORNIA -- Princess fails to protect non-smokers from the well-known negative health consequences of second-hand cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke.

Princess makes no effort to enforce the minimal rules they do have. If you point out a violation of the rules to the Pursers office, they will listen to you and do nothing. Security people who are supposed to enforce the rules can see people smoking in non-smoking eating areas - and not say or do anything. I understand that Princess employees don’t want to hassle customers, but letting smokers pollute the air wherever they want is grossly unfair to non-smokers.

There is so much Princess and other cruise lines could easily do to make things better - like have all smoking cabins on the Port side and all non-smoking cabins on the Starboard side; and restrict smoking in public rooms to enclosed designated areas. Celebrity and RCI have taken a step in the right direction by banning smoking in cabins and on balconies, but more is required!

P&O Cruises Australia seems to be leading the way in limiting smoking on cruise ships. Their policy is: “In the interest of our passengers' health, safety and enjoyment during their cruising holiday, smoking is not permitted indoors, including in cabins, suites and on private balconies. This is in line with Australian standards. Outdoor smoking venues will be published in the Pacific Daily on board your cruise” (see www.pocruises. co. nz/AlreadyBooked/CruiseHandbook/Pages/SmokingPolicy.aspx).

The smoking policies of most cruise lines can be found at: http://www.shipdetective.com/ships/programs/smoking_policies.htm . Princess is not alone in catering to smokers and disregarding the health, safety and enjoyment of non-smokers.

Princess wants to pretend that sensitivity to tobacco smoke is just a matter of personal preference and opinion – not a real health and safety issue. You would think the Star Princess fire of March 23, 2006 would have made it abundantly clear to Princess management how dangerous smoking in cabins and on balconies is to the physical safety of passengers, crew, and the ship itself. See http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news. cfm?ID=1576 for details of the horrific fire.

Princess once told us in a letter that cruise ships were not like airplanes, and that passengers could not be expected to wait for the next Port to smoke. I would respond that smoking is completely optional, and treatment options are available for those wishing to quit smoking. Breathing fresh air is not optional; in fact, it is an absolute necessity for people with respiratory issues like Asthma, and is generally necessary for everyone’s good health – including smokers.

Princess says that smoking is prohibited in dinning areas and theaters. However, when smoking is allowed in cabins, the clothing of smokers is saturated with the stench of stale smoke that goes with them throughout the ship. The stench lingers for a long time after the smoker leaves the area. This definitely affected our enjoyment of public areas.

Some public areas are divided into smoking and non-smoking sides. This ridiculous approach results in the whole area being filled with cigarette smoke. The only effective way to control the spread of cigarette smoke in public areas is to eliminate it at the source. Otherwise, you should label the public areas as Smoking Only.

Non-smokers pay the same price as smokers for a cruise. But smokers have the power to prevent non-smokers from enjoying most of the ship’s features by the simple act of smoking and polluting the air in an area. If cruise lines were fair, they would charge non-smoking passengers substantially less because they cannot enjoy the ship as much as smokers.

Cruise ships seem to be the last refuge of smokers. Smokers think nothing about lighting-up in the presence of non-smokers. They often seem to enjoy exposing others to their second-hand smoke. Cruise line management is extremely reluctant to offend the sensibilities of smokers. They don’t seem to realize how many non-smoking customers they are loosing after each trip. According to the CDC, only 19.8 of U.S. adults smoked cigarettes in 2007. Cruise management had better start being concerned about the sensibilities of the 80% of the population that don’t smoke, if they want to remain a growing industry.

Princess management doesn’t want to know what their customers think about their smoking policy. They could easily find out by including smoking in the things they put in their evaluation questionnaire, like:

v Should smoking continue to be allowed in cabins?
v Should smoking continue to be allowed on balconies?
v Should smoking continue to be allowed in bars and lounges?
v Should smoking continue to be allowed on the Promenade Deck?
v How effective is enforcement of the Smoking Policy of this ship?
v Does allowing smoking on this ship negatively impact your enjoyment of the cruise?
v Does smoking on this ship negatively impact your health?
v Does allowing smoking on this ship cause you to be concerned about the safety of cruising?
v What could we do to reduce the impact of smoking on you?
v How important is it for you to be able to smoke on this ship?
v Should smoking be banned on this ship?

Princess could easily ask these questions if they were interested in what their customers thought about smoking. The fact that they don’t ask any smoking questions tells me how desperate they are to allow smoking in spite of their fiduciary duty to the stockholders. They don’t ask the questions because they don’t want to know the results that would probably require them to take actions to limit or band smoking. By not asking any questions, management can pretend that everything is fine, and that they are not aware of any serious problem allowing smoking causes their customers. This is folly on steroids!

Princess needs to join the rest of the civilized world and highly restrict smoking on ships so that non-smokers are not continually subjected to the stench and health impacts of second hand smoke, the potential of spending many hours/days in a life boat, or worse - cancer from second smoke or death by fire.

I personally favor an absolute ban of any type of smoking on cruise ships – with violators removed from the ship at the next Port (like they do for drug possession or use). My wife and I have decided to boycott Princess until they completely ban smoking on their cruise ships. The perks of being Platinum means nothing compared to the stench of cigarette smoke.

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Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-12-04:
Don't go on the cruise, if you don't like the smoke. The overwelming majority of the world allows smoking, so don't think just because you're an American you have a right to be stridently opposed to it elsewhere.

Besides, in light of the climategate information coming out about false and manipulated data, who knows if the the "second hand smoke" theory is just another smokescreen for those who don't like smokers to hide behind.
Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-12-04:
Can I assume you are from Pahrump, Nevada? That is a nice town. I just getting ready to send money out to the Pahrump Santa.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-04:

Why is it smoker's think they got some sort of god given right to practice their disgusting bad habit around the rest of us. Forget all the rules and regulations it's just plain bad manners to smoke around non-smokers. Not surprising though they don't care enough about their own self to quit the slow suicide why would anybody think they'd care about anybody else. Just disgusting.

Posted by Slimjim on 2009-12-04:
I don't smoke anymore, but still am disappointed to hear private balcony smoking is being prohibited. Smokers don't have many areas on a ship to smoke and their balcony area is important to them. No way on a moving ship is smoking on one balcony going to really bother someone next door too much and if so, then go inside till the neighbor finishes.
In this case with Princess, they may need to make clearer signs in these non-smoking areas. At that point, a crew member can approach violators a bit easier.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-12-04:
i guess they could always do what the navy ships do...

designate a specific part of the ship as being the "smoke break" area.
and smoking is prohibited in all other areas.

therefore one would have no reason to go there unless one was smoking
Posted by JR in Orlando on 2009-12-04:
Its not bad manners to smoke around non-smokers, that is just the OPINION of some people. A look at old movies show that even in America 60 years ago it was not considered bad manners. Since the majority of the world lives somewhere you can smoke without restriction, and the cruise ship is on the high seas - not in America - what non-smoker has a right to say it is bad manners, or it is not a God given right to smoke. If the person does not like the smoke go to the "non-smoking" area.
Posted by spiderman2 on 2009-12-04:
LEt me just say I am no fan of smoking...Actually Ihate it, but...this claim from teh OP made me chuckle..."Non-smokers pay the same price as smokers for a cruise. But smokers have the power to prevent non-smokers from enjoying most of the ship’s features by the simple act of smoking and polluting the air in an area. If cruise lines were fair, they would charge non-smoking passengers substantially less because they cannot enjoy the ship as much as smokers." Well honey, it can be turned around on you, smokers can say you are no fun and take away from their cruise experience so they should be charged less. If smoking bothers you that much, you need to vacation somewhere besides a cruise ship.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-04:
In all matters of manners it's always mere opinion. An ever evolving social compact of what's acceptable and not acceptable in civilized society. Just because smoking anywhere and everywhere was very acceptable 60 years ago has no bearing on today. Heck, 60 years ago making little kids go to separate schools due to the color of their skin and making their parents sit in the back of the bus was acceptable in it's day. I don't think one could argue it should be acceptable today because it was back then.

Simple truth is there's more of us (non-smokers) than smokers. I believe if we non-smokers don't like the smoke we should make it clear to the businesses who seek our money that they won't get that money unless they ban smoking at their establishments. Let the market decide this one.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-04:
Well said, Spidey
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Contracted Norovirus on 4th Day Royal Princess Quarantined for the Rest of the Week.
Posted by Chipbarb on 02/08/2014
It took three weeks for a call from customer relations. I asked and did not receive a refund. If they are not held monetarily responsible what incentive do they have to disinfect their ships?
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Onboard Cell Tower "On" While Docked.
Posted by Southern Gentleman on 01/28/2014
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL -- Earlier this month my wife and I sailed aboard the Coral Princess on an 11 day Panama Canal cruise. This posting is not to review the cruise but to inform everyone of something that happened that all should be aware of.

Most of you probably know that all cruise ships now have a cellphone tower aboard ship and when that equipment is turned on a cellphone network is established on board the ship. If you have a cellphone and it is turned on and not in Airplane Mode, it connects to the onboard network. The network is connected to the satellite network and calls made or received are billed to you at $2.49 a minute. They are SUPPOSED to turn that equipment on only after moving a mile off shore.

We returned from the cruise on Sunday, January 19 and as we were walking off the ship I turned my cellphone on. When it booted I got the message "Connected to Coral Princess Network". WHAT? We were docked in Fort Lauderdale and the ship was still trying to collect $2.49 a minute from me? Either someone was grossly incompetent and forgot to turn the equipment off or Princess is dishonest and was trying to "extract" more money from unsuspecting guests. I will give Princess the benefit of the doubt and assume it was simply an error on the part of the staff member responsible but anyone who thought they were back home and could make phone calls will probably be surprised when they get this month's phone bill.
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Posted by Shaun on 2014-01-30:
Really good point. People need to be aware of this fact.
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Princess Cruise Nightmare
Posted by Mcarter1 on 01/02/2014
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- December 14, 2013 we were to sail on Princess out of Houston, TX. The ship was several hours late in docking and disembarking the passengers from the previous week due to fog. This is very important to note because it shows that they had prior warning to upcoming issues. After boarding several hours sate our cabins were fine. The carpet was stained and the balcony walls were broken but all in all everything was ok. I had purchased a soft drink plus package when I booked and requested robes be in our room. Neither was available upon embarkation. It was the second night before our robes showed up and the second day before my drink sticker. Paying per day meant I was cheated a day of drinks. The food was fine and very plentiful. Our room steward was the worst we have ever had but we didn't care. Our real problem was docking to disembark. As with the cruise before us it was foggy in Houston and the day before we were to dock the captain came on over the intercom and announced the Port of Houston was closed due to fog and would be closed for 24 hours and everyone was to change their plans for going home because we wouldn't be disembarking until Sunday. Everyone changes their travel arrangements that night. Next morning the Captain announces we are docking after all. Then SEVERAL hours later he announces that we will be disembarking. Up until that point crew and all thought we would be staying on the ship. So now everyone has changed their travel home and now has to plan on an extra hotel night in Houston.

Disembarkation was a nightmare. As I stated earlier they had an entire week to plan how to disembark when the schedule had been changed but they had made no arrangements. The captain came on and suggested everyone who could carry their own luggage off do so and we all became walk-offs. As we docked everyone went down to disembark and stood in line for hours as they tried to call groups. The captain then comes on and tells everyone to wait in their cabins until their group is called. Only problem was no one could get back to their cabin if they had wanted to the halls were so packed. After hours of nothing working they finally decided to allow everyone off that was in line. Never again will I sail Princess

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Avoid Princess Cruises - They Will Change Your Cabin Without Notification
Posted by Rajivjain100 on 09/03/2013
SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA -- Avoid Princess Cruises. We booked cabins next to each other and they changed the cabins around when we were boarding without notifying us. I took the 12 day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona to Venice with my family. We booked our cruise 7 months in advance to have cabins next to each other. When we boarded, they put me in a cabin far away from the others in our reservation. They said that they were overbooked and you aren’t guaranteed the cabin that you reserve.

They also nickel and dime you throughout the cruise. We were charged a $400 gratuity at the end of our cruise. It was a terrible experience. Avoid Princess.
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Posted by John Nicholson on 2013-09-04:
I can understand your frustration at the cabin assignments. Because they were overbooked, they could care less about pleasing you, even tho someone messed up. As for the $400 gratuity, you must remember that this is not required and is something they like to tack on in the expectation that you will just pay it and shut up, regardless of the service you have received during the cruise. I never pay this fee and take care of those crew members who gave excellent service personally, in cash at the end of the cruise. Why would anyone reward everyone equally when all did not provide equal service. Just refuse to pay it if you are unhappy with them. Remember this for the next cruise you take.
Posted by azRider on 2013-09-04:
I think the travel docs you get from all cruises say they have the option to move your cabin assignments. I don't think its just Princess. I also think its normal for adding tips for larger parties that booked together. I'm pretty sure if you read your documents you'll see that.
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Princess Offered Promotion to the Customer but Had Not Stand Behind Their Promise
Posted by Boooo on 11/20/2012
LOS ANGELOS, CALIFORNIA -- So often Princess offers promotions to promote sales of occupancy.
Discount prices are advertised by Cruses.com and many others contractors.

As soon the payment received by Princess they are in position to control the customer. No company is willing to confirm any deals by email. Customer has no chance other than trust the company that informed that the conversation is being recorded. After time passes Princess offered balcony for additional charge. Way to make money and get the sale. I call it Princess failed the customer. As everybody we are looking for the best deal. There is nothing wrong use a coupon or offered saving Is it?
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Posted by At Your Service on 2012-11-20:
If I might be able to fill in some blanks.

This is where someone suggested they might be able to upgrade you to a balcony free; the offer never coming to fruition.

I would never take something not put in writing as a "guarantee".

Exactly who was the transaction made with?
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-11-20:
Yes, this sounds like a "free balcony upgrade" situation, since it was the only specific mentioned.

As AYS suggests, it needs to be in writing before payment. An offer to do it later isn't to be trusted as a guarantee.
Posted by boooo on 2012-11-21:
tickets had been purchased threw Princess captain gold club sales on line. We had been affirmed by sales that upgrade to balcony or mini suite will be done after 2 weeks and we had been told to call for confirmation. We did so but Princess asked for more time. But after many calls we been told that saleslady made a mistake. Is it our problem? specially many contractors still run this promotion plus offer a free bottle of wine and prices are down bellow what we had been charged. What is people opinion? Would you deal with Princess Cruises?
Posted by boooo on 2012-11-22:
Princess Cruises Promotion for balcony or mini suite supposed to be our guarantee.. The question is when it will be provided by Princess Cruises.
So far no respond from company who promised or used a trick on the customer just to make the sale of 2 cabins.
Thank you.
Posted by boooo on 2012-11-24:
No respond from Princess Cruises affirms they care after the customer before you make a payment only.Princess Cruises shown ignorance to customer complain and promotion for stateroom upgrade it only for a reason to brig the customer . Sound as false verbal advertising they promise only done to attract and misled the customer. Shame Princess Cruises. We thought you can be trusted
Posted by boooo on 2012-11-26:
Princess Cruises does not respond to consumer concerns. Looks as they cannot handle so many unsatisfied customers Looks as their business going down the drain. Customers talk.
Posted by boooo on 2012-12-08:
We are very frustrated as Princess Cruises still refused to stand by their promotion upgrade to balcony or mini suite unless we pay additional fee.
As additional fee was not part of original promise to be able to sell fair for 2 cabins. Our complains to Princess cruises CEO have been deleted without any explanation for the reason to charge additional fare fee for promotion,except additional revenue for Princess Cruises. Advertising by the company to BBB to provide exceptional service to the customer is a fraud
As per review it is a common way by Princess Cruises to handle promotions to the customers.So far nobody stand behind to honer Princess Cruises
promise.We hope still there is time to stand behind the company that was trusted by us in the past. Any respond Princess.We are booked for Panama canal from LA on December 15/2012
Thank you for your attention
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