My wife and I recently returned from a ten-day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Sapphire Princess , and our experience prompts me to write. We both have Platinum status with your company, and have mostly enjoyed other vacations with Princess. This trip, however, proved less than enjoyable and exposed some serious flaws with the management and culture on your ship.
During our cruise, the Telecom department was switching the onboard television service from an old analog system to a new digital one. We were advised at the beginning of our trip that this was happening, and that a technician would be in our room for a few minutes during the week to make the switch. Once the "upgrade" was done, however, we had almost continuous problems with the system freezing, constant buffering and reloading, and the like, which made it impossible to use the television, even the "From the Bridge" channel. We contacted the Purser's Desk on several occasions to get help, and they sent a technician many times to assist...to no avail, as the problems continued throughout the entire cruise. The Passenger Desk, however, continued to insist that the problem was fixed and that only a third of the ship had been affected.
We felt as though we were being given lip-service and being placated by the Passenger Services Desk every time we called, being told that the system was fixed and working when it clearly was not. Their attitude became surly and judgmental as the week progressed ("Why would you just want to watch TV on this beautiful cruise?" type of attitude!). We spoke to numerous other passengers who had an identical experience, in fact 100% of those we spoke to about the problem shared our frustration, not just a third of them. It felt like Princess was obfuscating the extent of the problem, and downplaying our frustration the entire week.
Their attitude and demeanor was patronizing and disingenuous. Television service is part of the contracted package of amenities Princess advertises in it's marketing, and which passengers pay for and expect as part of the contract of services, which we paid for in advance. If we asked our credit card company to credit back a portion of the fare we paid Princess to compensate for the loss of TV service, you would be upset and not allow it. Yet, you have taken your full compensation for our trip even though Princess did not fulfill an important part of the agreement, providing a working television service in our stateroom.
A small gesture during the week (a bottle of wine at dinner or some free onboard credit) would have gone a long way toward healing the hard feelings this episode generated, but absolutely nothing was offered. It was like being in the Twilight Zone, the way no one seemed to acknowledge that there was a problem. We have shown our loyalty to Princess by booking trips with your company again and again. The disrespect we felt in this case will make us reconsider our choice of cruise lines for future vacations.