Recently My husband and I were on the Ruby Princess, sailing #R116. Our experience was dreadful.
We have heard from Princess -their solution is a $250.00 PP credit on another ship. This is really the epitome of horrid customer service. If I tried to make my customers buy another piece of jewelry with some money toward incentive, they would laugh at me. That's not customer service; that's arrogance to the highest degree. Never will we set foot on Princess and we tell everyone we come in contact with about our terrible experience. Word of mouth is really very effective for brand awareness, and unfortunately, the way Princess has dealt with us, we tell everyone we possibly can who might consider spending their money with them about our terrible cruise.
Princess thanked us profusely for our feedback - it will be valuable to them - boy, that's what I spent 2,000 to do - help you get your act together while I had a terrible vacation.
Quality of Food/Dining Room Experience:
We were very disappointed with the quality of the food on this sailing, particularly that in the Dining Room, which consequently we only ate in 2 times. The food was bland and rather luke-warm when brought to the table, and specifically on the Lobster Tail night, there were some serious issues.
Our first dining room experience was on Monday night, where we were seated in the Botticelli Dining room. My husband had several questions about the menu selections and the waiter could not answer them. He stated that he wasn't really sure how things were prepared, and seemed only to be interested in us ordering so that he could begin his service of the meal. The meal was mediocre and the desert, which I can't even remember what it was, was characteristic of every other desert in our experience - lovely but completely lacking flavor or sweetness. This was the beginning of our dining disappointments.
Unfortunately, while we had wanted to dine in the dining room for dinner, we retreated to the Buffet, which ended up having better quality and tasting food and selection, but we did not come on a Princess Cruise to eat 'cafeteria' style and frankly we were rather irritated by the fact that we were not able to enjoy the dining room experience because of the bad experience we had there.
I encouraged my husband to dine in the Dining Room Friday evening for the "Lobster" dinner. My husband's shrimp had an off smell and taste and my lobster was very dry. A woman seated at our table ordered the Beef Wellington and when it was served, she discarded what she thought was a 'skin'; it was the puff pastry that was so badly prepared, it looked like brown paper. This was atypical of what we had expected from rave reviews of the food selections and dining experiences and were sad to say it was the norm for table service.
The deserts were criminal - everything looked appetizing and lovely, but were bland, tasteless and lacked sweetness. It became a running joke with us as we took samplings of the deserts off the buffet every night, hoping for something edible. Rarely was anything worth eating.
While we found the buffet staff to be more knowledgeable, they were also a little over zealous with trying to clear dishes that were not finished. This was annoying.
Also, on Wednesday I remarked to a server that the atmosphere on the ship as a whole seemed a little relaxed. The response I got from the staff member was "You must understand Madame, we are repositioning the ship to the Mediterranean in a week and we are really over the whole 'Caribbean' thing at this point." I can't tell you how offensive this comment was, considering what this vacation cost my husband and I and how excited we were to take it.
Cruise Direction/Deputy Director Dan
The overall cruise direction had serious problems. On Monday evening, we went to the early magic show. The magician was wonderful; however, during the show the Princess Theater had a 'technical' difficulty that caused the show to be halted for about 10 minutes and included bringing the house lights up. It was later revealed that the problem was the door in the theater floor. The lack of testing the equipment and maintanence ruined what was an otherwise delightful show.
The movies were routinely cut off before they ended during the day on the "movies under the stars" screen and when we went to see the King's Speech in the Princess Theater on Friday, the movie was very blurry. My husband got up 3 times to see if we could resolve this issue and it remained blurry for the entire movie. When it was over, my husband approached the passenger services desk and asked to speak with Cruise Director, Sam. The 'gentleman' we spoke with at the purser's desk actually laughed at my husband and said "The Cruise Director does not interface with the passengers." but she did take messages. After about 2 minutes of going back and fourth my husband left his name and cabin number and Sam did call us back, and I spoke with her. The call resulted in a 'sorry about that' and 'we'll fix it' but really, what does that do for me? Nothing.
My husband wanted some information on a particular session that was scheduled in the 'Patter' and happened to run into Deputy Director Dan on one of the decks and approached him to ask his question. Dan's response was "Dunno Mate, but I wish you luck in figurin' that out." This is really a shameful answer to be given by the second in command of the entire 'direction' of the ship. He was rather unprofessional every time we saw him do anything. Very enamored of himself.
Rudeness of the ship staff and lack of accommodating attitude:
If it had been one crew member, it wouldn't have stuck with me, but it was constant. As I mentioned above, the comment about 'repositioning' this relaxed attitude was all over the ship. For instance, I was able to get complimentary milk on ice from the International Cafe when I asked, so I assumed that this was common practice. On Friday, I asked for a glass of milk on ice and was expected to pay for it. When I explained to the server that I had been getting that, and a cup of brewed regular coffee for no charge all week there, he challenged me and asked me who was giving this to me without a charge. I did no appreciate the challenging tone of this crew member, so I ended up walking away and asking the hostess at the adjoining dining room if they would be kind enough to get me a cup of regular brewed coffee which she was more than happy to do. She gave it to me without a problem, but by then, my afternoon had been impacted by the confrontation that I had to endure by the crew member at the International Cafe and frankly ruined the rest of my day.
On another occassion, I went to the Casino for the free craps lessons. About 10 minutes into the lesson, I said to my husband, "I don't understand anything that he's saying" (not his accent, I understood his words, just not the concepts) my husband said "stop him and ask him to go back" which I did and Zee says to me in front of everyone else "Were you here from the beginning?" which I answered "Yes" and Zee said "Well, I'm not sure what you aren't understanding because no one else is having a problem". Again, this was completely unnecessary and rude.
At one point my husband approached one of the guys who was part of the recreational staff and asked him to tell him what the "Wild and Wacky Adult Pool Games" entailed. The staff member replied "Dude, honestly I just wait and see who shows up and wing it." This is soooooo disappointing, especially to my Husband who's got a Master's Degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management with a concentration in Recreation.
"Infomercial" feel to the cruising experience:
So many of the recreation programs were thinly veiled 'informercials' and that because very tedious after a while. While I expected to have an opportunity to buy rum at the Rum Tasting we went to, the Wine Tasting was an absolute joke. First of all, we paid $9.50 a piece to be served what was obviously old wine the ship was looking to get rid of. The second red had so much sediment in it, it wasn't even funny. I was aware of the 'repositioning' of the ship at this point, and it was evident that this was an attempt to free up cellar space.
The Sommelier was horrible in her presentation. She had NO idea where we, as audience, were in our tasting experience and was droning on and on about the Second White while we were finishing up our final tasting which was a desert wine. It was really unprofessional, and she focused very much on the sales aspect rather than the educational aspect of the wine. She needs to learn how to give effective presentations as she was really clueless about how she was coming off and how absolutely out of synch with the program she was.
Come learn how to pack efficiently - so we can sell you 'space bags'
Come tour the Galley - so we can sell you a book and let you reproduce tasteless food in your own home...
The "Chocolate Tasting" was really a joke. My husband wanted to go to it because he thought it would be educational; we are always interested in learning more about things. This "Chocolate Tasting" consisted of a guy standing outside of the 'sundry' store with a box of chocolate saying "One per person, one per person". That's not a chocolate tasting, that is insulting, but unfortunately par for the course with the attitude of this crew on this sailing.
Scholarships@Sea - we wanted to do the ceramics the first day, but considering that only 10 people were taken (out of 3000+ people on board) that was not possible. We went early the next time and were informed that there were no mugs left because again, the ship was 'repositioning'. So many things were blamed on 'repositioning' - I wonder if anyone realizes that cruisers don't care about this; they want to experience everything that should be available and the 'repositioning' excuse was lame at best.
We were shocked that the adult area had a fee. Having sailed on Carnival before and being able to gain access to the adult sundeck for no charge, it was rather yet another opportunity to feel as if the primary purpose of Princess is sales, rather than the overall experience of the passengers.
We saved a long time for this vacation. We spent additional money travelling to meet the port for which it was sailing from. I had been so excited and heard so many good things about Princess and the quality of the cruise experience and the level of service that Princess was known for. Unfortunately, none of this was evident on this sailing.
At this point, my husband will never take another cruise again, which is unfortunate because I have been on previous cruises (on Carnival) and have enjoyed them. I never had great expectations from my Carnival cruises, but I must say, comparatively, Carnival was 10 times better than this Princess sailing.
Again, they had the unmitigated audacity to offer us $250.00 pp onboard credit toward another cruise. They clearly don't care at all if their passengers are satisfied with their cruises at all.