We took the Star Princess from Buenos Aires to Valpariso with stops in Montivedeo, the Falkland Islands, Ushaia, Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt and Valpariso as well as cruising near Cape Horn. Everything about the cruise was great until Chile had an 8.8 earthquake 3 days before we were scheduled to be in Valpariso. Cruising by Cape Horn was a real treat for anyone who has studied nautical history and how people and goods got to California before the railroad.
Then the earthquake hit. I always assumed that Princess had contingency plans for things like this happening. Earthquakes are common in Chile. Not exactly! We were subjected to 3 days of uncertainty, conflicting reports, rumors and generally unsettled conditions. At first the Captain was very communicative until he got his orders from the home office. He read a prepared statement from them and did not say much after that. The internet station was jammed, the pursers desk was overwhelmed and understaffed and the shore excursion people just gave up..
We were finally told we were going to Valpariso instead of returning to Buenos Aires and everything was normal. Then at the last minute, all shore excursions were canceled including those that included transfers from Valpariso to Santiago and Princess refused to make any arrangements. We received three conflicting sets of luggage tags for disembarking. They offered to let us stay another night on the ship. We never received a copy of our bill and the line at the desk was 2 hours long. Then at the last minute, offered to take us back to Buenos Aires, for a fee. The hotel crew just froze and sort of gave up. I don't think they were getting any guidance from their managers. There was virtually no help. In contrast, the cabin stewards and waiters were very helpful, considerate and understanding.
We arranged transportation on our own to Santiago and were very glad to leave the Star Princess. Once in Santiago the Marriott there took good care of us and we were able to fly out 4 days late.
We are experienced cruisers, we have Elite status on Princess. Princess could not help that the earthquake happened. They should have contingency plans for disasters that might occur. They could have responded much better and put more resources into reassuring concerned passengers.