My husband, 96 yr old father and I just returned from a 7 day California Coastal cruise on the Crown Princess. This was the single most miserable experience I have ever had aboard a ship.
It began at the Port in LA. We arrived at 12 noon and were abruptly informed by the luggage handler that no one was being allowed on board for three hours, until 3pm. That a bus could take us to shops and we could buy food, but my father was unable to tackle that, and we would have lost our place so we were compelled to wait without explanation in the cold for 2 hours, with no food or drink and my father freezing.
As we waited we did talk with a woman who had just gotten off the ship. She said that they had just returned from a 49 day cruise around South America, and that more that 600 people had the Norovirus. She said that it was quite a problem and that there were still 300 sick when they left Chili. Our stress levels increased.
As we waited in the cold we tried continuously to get information from the Princess port staff, no one would confirm or deny anything. As the crowd grow there was pushing, frustration and anger among the waiting passengers. After 2 hours we were finally let into the port building. The port staff was rude and not accommodating. One particularly aggressive and nasty Princess port employee, Gloria, refusing to let both my husband and I to stay with my aged father.
During that time we were told without explanation that the ship was being "sanitized". We were less than thrilled to know that we were about to get on a ship that had clearly had problems.
My father required a wheel chair assistance to board. Per the Port, Princess decided to board all wheel chair passengers last. So we sat for another hour before were permitted on the ship. As we watched group after group board my father became so angry that I feared he would have heart attack.
The cruise left more than an hour late and due to the required safety meeting we were forced to miss our 5:30 assigned dinner seating. The restaurant manager of the DeVinci dining room saw fit to have my 96 yr old father stand for over 45 minutes because we missed our seating stating that he had no tables. When we were finally seated I counted 22 empty tables.
As we waited I made my first of several complaints to the Pursers desk where all I said fell upon deaf ears. Interestingly all the passengers I talked with had similar experience in that he staff at the Pursers desk was unaccommodating, ineffective, basically useless!
We continually asked for information regarding the status of the health ship and no employee seemed to know anything. By the time we reached our first port, San Francisco, it was reported in the local news there that there were already 37 sick passengers (and crew) with Norovirus. That number nearly tripled by the time we hit our 3rd port, San Diego.
Among other unpleasant things the Captain saw fit to make nighty loud speaker announcements containing the words diarrhea and vomiting literally just as we were being served our dinner. Those were two words I wished never to hear at meal time, thus more stress.
In an effort to curb the spread of the disease Princes did not permit self service in the buffet, which was fine except they were grossly understaffed to serve the food which caused long lines, confusion and lots of people gathering around exposed food, more stress. In addition, the person that the entrance of the Horizon Court did not see that all were using the hand sanitizer, she just handed out plates so HOT that they were difficult to hold which was almost painful.
Room service turned out not to be an option as there were many times they did not even answer the phone due to high volumes.
There were special cleaning carts on our deck with masked attendants who had large bright red plastic bags which made it clear that we were in a contaminated area.
There were other announcements daily reminding people not to touch the elevator buttons, handrails or anything else and to wash hands...day after day. It was like being 12 yrs old all over again, except as a captive.
As the cruise progressed passengers became leery of each other, staff became more and more stressed, and some activities suspended. No one was happy about having to gather in large groups anywhere. Everyone was concerned that they would be next to catch this very unpleasant thing. This had become beyond stressful! We were told by some passengers that chose to get off the ship early that they were charged $300 per person and had to pay their own way back to LA.
After one of several complaints Fidel at the Pursers desk sent a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries as compensation, what a joke considering that this trip cost several thousand dollars.
While in port I reached out to Princess several times on the phone, the internet and on the ship and have had NO RESPONSE.
IF my father had gotten this thing it could have killed him, believe me that was a constant fear!
To me the bottom line is that Princess knew this ship had a problem well before it reached LA. Princess should have offered us a choice as to whether or not we wanted to be on this ship.
This was a miserable and pathetic experience that was supposed to be the cruise of a lifetime and it has taken us two days to decompress from the stress. This has left me never wanting to get on a ship again.
Thousands of dollars were paid to basically be held hostage and treated poorly by Princess! "Escape Completely", that's their promise, the reality is that all we wanted to do was escape...FROM PRINCESS!
From my prospective Princess owes us financial compensation, for one miserable experience!!!