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.”
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.
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 dining 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 losing 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:
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.
LA AREA, ALABAMA -- I just had a nightmare with Golden Princess. Last winter break, my mom flew all the way from China to spend the vacation with me. Then nightmare happens. I forgot one of my documentation so I didn't went on board that day. I realized that was my fault so I just requested them to return my luggage. After three hours, a woman came out and simply told me there are too many luggage and they cannot find ours. I was really pissed. Apparently, they didn't send anyone to find my luggage. They just waited till the last minute and told us they can do nothing.
Later on, the captain came out and promised me that they will send out my luggage as soon as they arrived in the first port of call. I agreed and left. After a few days, I called the customer service. What I got back is the ship was not able to send out my luggage without a reason. They instructed me to get my luggage after the ship went back to LA. I was so frustrated with my luggage so I went to their corporate headquarter to get my luggage after two weeks, the time the ship went back from Hawaii.
Guess what happened? They forgot my luggage on board and the ship had left for Hawaii again!! They have already broke their promises twice. I am almost speechless. My mom would be flying back to China in three days and she could not live without her luggage. After negotiation, Princess cruises agreed to send the luggage first to Berkeley and let me take out my stuff and send it back to China. I could do nothing but to accept it. On the way of the luggage from my place to the cruise's office, FedEx mistakenly sent the luggage back to Hawaii instead of their office in LA.
I talked to them, and FedEx agreed to refund them the money. As I contacted the Lost and Found Department again, they use it as an excuse and stopped the process of returning my luggage. Their reason was they had spent too much time on my luggage and they didn't want to deal with it anymore! Excuse me? If you just give the luggage to me when the ship returns to LA, and all those things couldn't happen! It's the third time employees in this company broke their promises to their customer.
Finally a nice guy helped me to ship my luggage back to China, but it was two month after I gave my luggage to Princess Cruises. And the luggage still didn't return to my mom's hand yet because the process involving international shipping are very complicated with Chinese custom.
For the whole two month, I spent countless time talking to their customer service, customer relationship department and Lost and Found Department. I found their customer relationship representatives are extremely hard to reach and unhelpful. No one did step out to really solve my problem but only try to persuade me to find other departments to solve the problem. I find they are very passive and they sound like they are giving me a mercy instead of compensating what they have done wrong.
My luggage contains just my old clothes and personal belongings, but I bet every traveler understands that the luggage is almost my life when I am away from home. I not only lost all my booking fees, which is about 2400 dollars, but also my whole winter break was ruined that I had to spend my Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve in a tiny motel room without my luggage.
The lesson I got out of this terrible experience is whether the money you pay is really for the people who are passionate about creating your dream vacation or just fulfilling their duties. I admit the main reason I booked with Princess Cruises was their reasonable price. However, after my experience with their un-compassionate employees, I find whether people are helpful when problems arise is a way more important factor to consider. I can see what a mess it is for Princess as a company and how poor the communications are between departments and departments.
I strongly advise you to think it over before you book any cruise line with Princess. If you don't cause any trouble, I think you will be fine but if you do cause a little bit trouble, you will need a cruise company that really care about how their passengers feel instead of a company like Princess Cruises that try to find excuses to blame all the problems on their customer side and escape from positively solve the problems.
When I deal with these things during my holiday, I did research online and found many similar cases. I believe that apparently I am not the only who suffers from the similar problems. It must be their company's own problem that makes so many mistakes.
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 carry-on 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 crew member 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.
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 late, 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. 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.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- The Pinnacle of our 50th anniversary cruise/tour was supposed to be the Kantishna Experience. Here's our experience. This complaint is in reference to a cruise/tour taken on May 31, 2010 from Vancouver, B. C. (booking # **) 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 1:30 pm. 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 2 pm. Since our bus for Anchorage departed at 2 pm, 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 2 pm. There were others not quite so lucky I'm afraid. Traveling with Princess again is not in our plans. Disappointed.
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 9:00 pm 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 $26,000 from us. We have nothing to show for either our money spent, or the time we invested into getting together for one of our dream trips among close friends.
We implore Star Princess to do the right and conscionable thing, which is to schedule our group on another cruise or refund our money. To-date, we've gotten nothing except bureaucratic responses and excuses. For the time being, I ask you to not do business with Star Princess, unless you want to risk paying something for nothing.
Some time back, I had called Princess for info on Alaskan Cruises. I was told that an info package and DVD would be under way soon. About three months later, I finally received that package, along with a letter of apology from some senior official for the delay. As a way to make amends, it was stated in that letter that I would get an on-board credit of 50$ on any Princess cruise upon presentation of that letter to the client services desk.
In the meantime, I had already booked a Panama Canal cruise, so I brought the letter along on that cruise. When I presented the letter to customer service, no one knew what to do with it. A supervisor told me that they would have to fax it to Head Office for approval, and they would get an answer on the next day. Well, I returned to the desk for the next 4 days without getting an answer and the first thing I knew, the cruise was almost over.
Once at home, I returned the letter (addressed to the President of Princess Cruises) expressing my dissatisfaction and the frustration of having to get down on my knees so that customer service aboard a ship will honor amends offered by their own head office. A few days later, some guy from customer relations called me and gave me a couple of stupid excuses for the incident and apologized for the inconvenience and offered me - guess what? - a 50$ voucher applicable on a future cruise. Here we go again, I said. I'll fight like crazy to have it honored, etc. So I told him to keep the voucher, they seem to need it more than I do.
Now that was a little time back. This week, I took a 3-day cruise aboard the Ruby Princess. On sailing day, I filled in a ticket for a draw. Next day, there was an envelope addressed to me and slipped under my door saying that I was one of the winners. The voucher clearly said that I had won "a 75$ massage" at the Lotus Spa. I showed up there with my voucher. The first attendant had never seen a spa voucher. Her co-worker studied it for a few seconds, and said, "We do not offer 75$ massages here. This is a credit for 75$ for any massage in this list" (prices ranged from 119$ up).
My argument was that the voucher clearly stated for a massage and that the word credit was not to be found. Her argument was that her system allowed no flexibility on rates. I asked, "Did I win a prize or did I win the right to give you money?" I was told Customer Service could answer that question. Ouch. Forget it. Princess is not a bad cruise line, but sometimes they give me the impression that they are in the "bait and tackle" business. From now on, any voucher coming from them may go straight to my shredder.
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.
I recently did a cruise with Princess for 7 seven days to Mexico. Of course the Mexico part of the cruise was canceled due to the swine flu. Chaos and mass dissatisfaction ensued. 300 people left the ship. Overall a pleasant cruise, but there are major deficiencies in the way Princess carries out business and the actual cruise environment. The service by the largely Filipino crew was excellent. The entertainment was excellent.
The ship has almost nowhere for non-smokers to sit. All over the boat, the waft of foul cigarette smoke is on the air. For this reason alone, I will not cruise with them again. The food, although fair, has gone down in quality since I last sailed, especially the breakfasts and the dessert menus. The desserts are bland and uninteresting, smacking of mass-production. The coffee is horrible and cheap, especially in the Horizon. The Horizon 24-hour restaurant is chaotic: it is much too small & crowded, with few sea view seats, and long lines. A definite negative.
There were drunks and loud people all over the place. Princess should limit the amount of drinks served per person per day. Yells and foul language was heard all over the ship. The cabins are thin-walled, and you can hear your neighbor clearly. I was woken up repeatedly by noisy neighbors. The passengers across the hall from me were continually drunk, yelling & calling 911. The cabins are OK, but stained carpets and duvets were seen. I also don't like the idea of the duvet (one sheet per week - yuck!). Also two comfy chairs would be nice. The beds were uncomfortable, as were the pillows.
One of the worst aspects on the voyage was the constant selling of stuff by Princess: art, photographs, coffee, Visa credit cards, special deals; you name it. This was most irritating. I hate the new deal of charging a 15% daily service fee. I prefer to tip my stewards personally. That way I am sure they they get what they deserve. This is simply Princess's way of increasing their profits and their over-worked staff get nothing.
There was no menu change between restaurants, except Sabatini's, and you could not get in here unless you booked the first day on board. The Purser's desk was poorly run, with always a long line. Several issues came up, and I did not have the time to stay in line for half an hour. They claimed to be short-staffed. I have still not received my credit for canceled shore excursions. One last thing: the excursions are too expensive. Buy them ashore, and you can pay 20% less. These excursions are never fully detailed anywhere, and taking one is a shot in the dark.
The luggage is handled extremely roughly. My new suitcase received substantial damage during embarkation. Insurance claim pending. I think I will stick to Celebrity & Crystal in future, despite the cost. Pluses are: a very new clean ship, nice crew, reasonable prices in the bar, and the good entertainment. With some tweaking, Princess could be king again. Try another cruise line (but not Cunard or Carnival or NCL).
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 on-board 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.