Our cabin was sold to us as an ‘Unrestricted View’ stateroom. This was a blatant misrepresentation because there was no view whatever on the left-hand side except for a very large white metal cabinet which blocked that entire angle. ... Read More
Our cabin was sold to us as an ‘Unrestricted View’ stateroom. This was a blatant misrepresentation because there was no view whatever on the left-hand side except for a very large white metal cabinet which blocked that entire angle. When we complained to the service desk on the ship and asked for the unrestricted view that we paid for we were told the ship was full and no upgrade was possible.
We had an excellent cruise on the Grand Princes in 2010 but on this cruise it was evident from the very first that Princess standards have fallen tremendously. When we arrived at the terminal we had to wait for almost three hours in the booking hall and then had to suffer long queues to get on the ship. Later, when we assembled at our Muster Station on the ship for the normal lifeboat drill, the very long recorded ‘emergency instructions’ message broke down twice.
On the first day out, soon after sailing, there was a callout for medical teams and we were informed by the Captain that there was a fire in the engine room. This was eventually brought under control.
That same evening around 11pm when we returned to our cabin to retire there was an ear-splitting howling noise throughout the deck which made it impossible to sleep. A call to the service desk revealed they had no idea what was causing it. Shortly after that, at about midnight and while the howling continued, the Captain announced on the cabin intercom that there was another fire in the engine room. He sounded very rattled and this did little to bolster our confidence. Over the next half hour and after several more announcements by the Captain attempting reassurance, each of which convinced us that he was as alarmed as we were, we were told to go back to bed, everything was now O.K. A quick glance outside our cabin at the six or seven life-jacketed crew members patrolling the corridor seemed to indicate otherwise. Next day the Captain, now considerably calmer, made a further announcement at noon to explain what had happened. That didn’t work either. The announcement reached only half the ship and had to be sent out twice! And on the first Saturday morning at 11am there was yet another fire alarm.
On the second evening at sea the entertainment in the theatre ended in chaos. As on most nights, it was provided by just a single act; this time a pianist. Towards the end of her performance the microphone went dead, smoke came from the stage area and all the house lights went up, all this to the accompaniment of an ear-piercing screeching throughout the venue. The small audience lost no time in getting out of the theatre leaving the pianist still playing on stage. Again the service desk knew nothing and no explanation was ever given either by the Cruise Director, his staff or anyone else.
In the Emerald brochure for this cruise we were promised ‘West End style shows’ but there were only three production shows in the entire fourteen days, none of which was longer than 45 minutes and the third of which, on a ship where most of the passengers were pensioners, was a disco show! All the other evening performances in the theatre were forty-five minute single acts. (In one case a ‘comedian’ spent most of his entire act telling us how good he was forty years ago on Opportunity Knocks. Another act, a young – and very good – violinist, wasted most of his appearance telling us his life story and projecting pictures of his family on a screen.) No performance in the theatre ever lasted longer than forty-five minutes, which I suppose was just as well because the front stalls suffered from freezing air-conditioning necessary, we were informed by the staff, ‘to keep the lights cool’!
It seems the Cruise Director must have thought ‘these old codgers will put up with any old rubbish if I keep telling them how good it is’.
This all too evident cost-cutting was widespread throughout the ship. The standard coffee served at mealtimes was virtually undrinkable and no alternatives were provided by way of sachets of coffee or chocolate in the buffet drinks area as they used to be. (Good coffee was available if you paid for it.)
When passengers were coming back on board after the Gibraltar stop, any alcohol purchased off-ship was taken from them and held in store, as notified. We understood why they did this, but for the hundreds of passengers to whom this applied there was only one single desk checking them in. This resulted in a long queue, a long wait to board and considerable inconvenience to all those passengers.
Although the ship is only seven years old the décor looks faded and tired and much of the furniture is badly in need of replacement, particularly in the open buffet areas. She is like an old lady long past her prime. The company must have received hundreds of letters of complaint because four weeks after sending mine it still remains unanswered. I suppose in the light of the above report it’s par for the course.