We have sailed four times on the Crown Princess prior to this trip and have always been very pleased with all aspects of our trip. However, the trip we just completed was disappointing beyond belief from the pre-cruise phone calls to Princess to the disembarkation in Los Angeles.
We needed a visa for Brazil. As part of the visa application we are required to list a Brazilian address for Princess. I spoke with a Princess representative as well as a supervisor and was told “just put down the Crown Princess with their home office address in California“. I knew this was not correct because on a previous cruise our application was rejected by Visa Services for putting that address. I finally called Visa Services and their representative gave me the Brazilian address for Princess. This information should have been provided by Princess.
Embarkation was chaotic. There was no line to distinguish between regular and priority boarding for Elite Passengers. We stood in line for over two hours (much of it outside in the sun. When we got inside it was obvious Princess was short-staffed due to the fact they had to collect both passports and Argentinean Reciprocal Agreements as well as checking passengers in.
Other areas of concern:
* When we booked the cruise we booked three separate legs, knowing we would have to change cabins. We had never done this before and were unsure of the procedure. We also had an 8:00 tour booked at the end of leg one in Buenos Aires. I went down twice the night before docking to Passenger Services to find out procedure, get new room keys and in transit cards and was told “you will receive them this evening”. By 6:30 the next morning we still had received no documentation so I returned to Passenger Services and was give the information which could have been easily delivered the previous evening.
* We mailed a total of nine postcards from Argentina and a letter on the ship. We were told by Passenger Services these would be mailed at the next port and were charged for the postage. None of these postcards or letter were ever received.
* Upon embarkation we had to submit out Argentina Reciprocal Agreement, yet the day before our SECOND port in Argentina my husband received a note from Passenger Services saying they did not have his Argentina Reciprocal Agreement and to come to the desk and submit it. When he got to the desk he was told they were unable to check because “the passports and Argentina Reciprocal Agreements were locked up until the next morning.” (By the way when our passports were returned the Argentina Reciprocal Agreement we submitted upon embarkation was there for both of us.)
* On the third leg of our journey were assigned cabin C707 and from the outset the toilet did not flush properly and sometimes not at all. We complained three times to our steward and nothing happened to resolve the problem. I finally went to Passenger Services and was told “yes it has been reported, we are working on it and there is a problem in zone 7 toilets and we will report it again.” It should NOT take 10 days and four complaints to get a toilet fixed!!!
* On the first leg of the trip our laundry was returned in two days; on the second and third legs it took at least three days and on three occasions it took five and six days. We were told it was “because there were so many elite passengers on the ship.” We have been on other cruises with a large number of elite passengers and NEVER had that problem.
* Movies Under the Stars was closed for several days for repairs as well as the pools even though the weather was warm enough to swim.
* We have completed fifteen cruises and while John Maxtone-Graham is an excellent speaker, we have seen him four times. Princess should have had a naturalist and/or historian on this cruise.
* When I went to the Photo Department to see if they could resize two stock photos to make them the same size I was told “no” with no explanation by a woman talking to two other staff at the desk and when I checked later I was told “ company policy says we can’t change sizes, if we did we would have to charge more and finally the pixel size determines how big we make the picture” All I wanted was a photo made smaller to match the postcard size of another photo.
*The library has a very large non-fiction section; however the spine of each book is marked “NF” - it is impossible to find a specific book this way - they should be tagged “NF” and then at least the first letter of the author’s name.
* While the movie selection was good, there should have been films shown appropriate and relevant to the trip - for example : Evita
* In Rio Princess should have shown Carnival on Movies Under the Stars instead of the horrible folkloric show - passengers on board had to stand in line 30 -45 minutes before door opened. After the show these dancers and musicians had the run of the ship - this could have been a real security threat.
* Many maintenance issues were evident - for example the woman’s bathroom on deck five outside the Di Vinci Dining Room had water on the floor (towels were on floor seeping water up) for several days before bathroom was closed for repair.
* Cruise director and assistant cruise director were not usually to be seen except on venues where they were on stage.
* The final straw as that we were about to disembark fro Club Fusion, I went to use the bathroom on deck seven out side Club Fusion and the toilet would not flush!
While wait staff and room stewards were EXCELLENT, rest of crew appeared to be apathetic and showed little concern for passengers. I felt like we were cargo going from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles. With such an awesome itinerary this could have been a tremendous trip but this trip left a really bad taste in my mouth for Princess.