Oversold the ship Poor planning by the cruise line/ship staff throughout the cruise Worst service received on a cruise
This cruise was added to the end of a vacation on the west coast. I have sailed Princess many times and found this trip at times mediocre and overall a disappointment. The cruise was oversold, although, I asked several times for the passenger count, I never received an answer. Simply navigating through the hallways and public areas was most difficult. The wait time for meals, regardless of venue, was excessive.
Disembarkation was fascinating as we sailed from an old terminal in San Francisco, however, we were not provided any instructions throughout the queue up to the check in point. Although I had asked for the Platinum check in line, I never received an answer until having waited through the general line I could SEE THE PLATINUM/ELITE CHECK IN WITH ITS SHORT LINE. I boarded the ship and headed to my cabin, which had not been made up yet. No problem, as I just dumped by bag and headed for the open deck. Sailing out of the bay area, where I used to live and MISS EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE, was even to an old jaded cruiser, simply wonderful. The excitement of sailing below the Golden Gate was nearly spiritual. Of course Alcatraz was less than one mile off our starboard side.
Many events did not execute on time for this itinerary, including the opening of the dining rooms. Princess is always a little late opening its traditional dining room, but the wait was more than 20 minutes the first night. One the second night I simply showed up 20 minutes after the room opened to avoid another long stand (high heels!). The food was adequate and I did not get sick sums up the dining room experience.
On the second cruise day, I waited in line for the dining room lunch about 30 minutes. Without notice a 'manager' who failed to identify himself made an announcement to follow him. He quickly mounted the staircase and we followed. Many passengers simply could not keep up with his fast pace. We arrived at the other dining room where we waited to be seated, again no announcement or explanation. One passenger confronted the 'manage' and demanded he explain what he was doing with us. Although her approach was less than pleasant, the 'manager' responded with an "you people"-like response that failed to explain the situation. My only question which I kept to myself was, "would we be fed, or should we go to the oh so icky buffet?" We were seated in a somewhat reasonable time and still no explanation for the mad dash from one restaurant to another. I assume the first restaurant could not accommodate us. A simple explanation would have gone a long way with the passenger.
As a frequent sailing passenger I have observed when a cruise ship transitions from one itinerary to another, there can be small glitches in the staff due to changes they are making, e.g., different port days, arrival/departure times, off/on boarding of passengers. I have always been, as well as most passengers, understanding of these small road bumps. However, on this cruise I noticed most of the passenger facing crew members had long faces. This caused me to wonder if they were accommodating more than the usual changes on our itinerary.
All events at all venues were packed to the proverbial gills. Although I tend to arrive early, I found the events to not be enjoyable as we were so packed in. A rather large man, who seemed to be hosting a group of passengers, was standing too close to my seat in Vines. I politely asked if he would mind stepping away two feet. He kind of got upset, but could not really argue the point. He repositioned himself to another side of the table in Vines. After all, I had just purchased a bottle of Opus, don't I deserve the same service and enjoyment of the venue? Sadly, I regretted asking him to move, as now I could clearly hear him boasting to the sheep, err, I mean 'his passengers' about everything he had done and was 'going to do for them'. I requested my bottle be sent to the dining room for second seating. He did not distract from the cruise, as there is one know it all on every vacation!
Of course Princess clogged the hallways with its obligatory "sales" of boutique items, including the silver/gold by the inch and loose stones. Has anyone ever priced the cost of metal by the inch versus the same on land? It is cheaper back home...
I had a list of items to include on my passenger comment card, but never received one!
Disembarkation was the next day and the most unorganized I have participated in. Everyone queued up in the halls AND IN THE PUBLIC areas 1.5 hours before the expected departure. No announcements were made to clear the halls or where to go or other instructions. Passengers were getting ugly and started shoving. Where were the crew or the security staff?
I requested a partial refund on this cruise, but Princess has failed to respond to me.