My best friend and I just returned on June 10, 2011 from a 15 day Transatlantic cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Southampton; continuing for another 12 days around the British Isles. Upon returning to Southampton, we boarded the Queen Mary II for the return trip to the U.S.
With few exceptions, the trip was a complete disappointment. From the over all service in every department, to the TSA tactics of the ships security detail when dealing with returning guest passengers; the majority of them affluent, seasoned travelers and over 55 years old. Each time we were made to feel like criminals smuggling drugs. Absurd! No one every greeted us upon our return from shore.
The shows were boring and lackluster, not to mention repeat performances from past cruises. Activities from Bingo to Trivia were disorganized; we moved rooms on 3 separate occasions because the venue was too small. "Games" typical of Carnival Caribbean cruises geared for the under 30 crowds were an embarrassing part of the very public Piazza programs. Watching 60 year old couples "bouncing" on balloons positioned on their partners lap, was disgusting!
As an Elite Member, I am entitled to free dry cleaning. Of the 5 things I sent to the cleaners, one suit was lost completely and one brand new $200 jacket was washed - not dry cleaned and subsequently ruined. I won't go into the fiasco that followed.
Travelers who have the time and discretionary income to travel first class transatlantic are usually seasoned cruisers. We can spend our money on a myriad of vacation options available these days, not just cruises. Princess staff appears younger and less experienced without guidance from senior staff, who.... know better.
I didn't feel valued as a loyal Elite passenger on the last 3 trips with Princess and after this recent trip aboard the Crown which will be my last - I hope to find a new cruise line who does value my business and respect me as a passenger. Shame on Carnival... their corporate philosophy is even seeping onto the Cunard Line. It is sad.