We love to cruise – and have always had a great time, but circumstances and events conspired against us on this one. In my mind, Princess really fell down on the job this time around – but it might just be this ship. It was the ... Read More
We love to cruise – and have always had a great time, but circumstances and events conspired against us on this one. In my mind, Princess really fell down on the job this time around – but it might just be this ship. It was the worst.
Before we left on our cruise, I went in (of course) and filled out all the info – passport info, etc. and requested water and robes for our room. I had that printed out, but when I got the itinerary from our travel agent, I tossed my copy in the garbage. BIG MISTAKE – but I didn’t know it at the time. The travel agent's itinerary obviously didn’t show the water or the robes I had requested online. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, turned out that it was.
There was no water in the room. When I asked the steward, he said there was no note about it, but if I had something to PROVE I’d ordered it, no problem. Problem. I’d tossed “the proof” in the garbage before leaving!! I went down to the service desk and the guy checked. He said, “Oh, I see that you ordered the water, but it was cancelled.” I replied, “Can you tell me who cancelled it, because it was most assuredly NOT me.” He turned a bit pale and said he had to talk to his manager. He was gone quite a long time and when he came back, he said that there was nothing he could do. It had been cancelled. No, I didn’t bother to ask about the robes. I figured they’d just say those were cancelled as well. That was day one and it pretty much set the stage for our cruise. No water that I ordered and no robes. Seriously not cool.
The room steward started out great. We’d go to breakfast, come back and the room would be done! Like a magic elf, he was johnny-on-the-spot. Then one day we were gone all day on an excursion, came back and the room was exactly as we’d left it. He didn’t show up that entire day until the evening. We did like him, he was truly friendly and nice, but he totally slacked off after the first 4 or 5 days. For the first time ever, we did not leave an extra gratuity for our room steward and we’ve ALWAYS, ALWAYS left extra before.
While I’m on that subject, we’ve also always been provided with envelopes to leave an extra gratuity for the employees we feel gave us extra service. Princess didn’t provide them this time.
When we’ve done cruises before, they always take a photo of you getting on the ship and take photos at every port. Normally getting on, you have a nice backdrop to indicate where you’re going (like a backdrop photo of Hawaii, or a glacier (to indicate Alaska), etc. There was nothing this time. Also, the ports before had perhaps a mariachi band (Mexico), Roman soldiers, etc., or some employees dressed as natives, something, but I only saw one port where there was one employee dressed as a pirate for the photos. Otherwise, the photos had nothing to indicate what specific port you were at. We just had just that lone employee dressed up as a pirate that I saw - and I can’t even recall which port that was, for photos – otherwise, nothing that we ever saw.
Every cruise we’ve taken before, we were able to go to the back of the ship, order a cocktail or wine, and sit and enjoy the view of leaving the port. Not on the Island Princess! The back of that ship is all private suites, so unless you’re rich enough to nab one of those, you’re not going to have a view leaving port. The other alternative is to pay to reserve spots at the Sanctuary. Nope, altho I suppose one could have stood by the shuffleboard area with drink in hand, but, uh, nope.
The food. Well, you could order food at the buffet, but good luck. We’d order a Western omelet, and get a spinach omelet. They had a Mongolian grill set up one night. We diligently placed ingredients in our little bowls and handed them over. Each of us four ended up with something wrong. Hubby was lacking the noodles in his meal. Neither my cousin nor I received any of the vegetables we'd placed in our bowls, it was ridiculous. The bad part about the dining room was the length of time it took. It was not unusual to spend 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours there. I don’t mind a leisurely meal, but when you go for dinner early so that you can eat and then get to the show, it was oftentimes cutting it close. The good part was that we always went early to the dining room and were able to walk right in.
For some reason, the ship seemed to be perpetually late in either docking or getting their act together with a timely exit for excursions. One excursion (Nicaragua) had us meeting in the Princess Theater at 7:40. No problem – except that they didn’t call us to get on the tender until 8:30. We had to wait ONE HOUR to get off the ship. Our excursion was supposed to start at 8:15, it actually started at 9:30. From then on, it was a race to get to the sights and race back. The last tender was supposed to leave at 5:30. We got on a tender to go back to the ship about 6:00 – we were the last ones back. That wasn’t just a one time event – we were late for our excursion in Columbia as well. It happened about 3 times and lots of folks were complaining. The disembarkation process was totally disorganized and chaotic at ports. No rhyme or reason, just stand in line, watch folks cut in front of you and wait and wait.
Even the small things didn't come off. Our travel agent had let them know ahead of time that it was our anniversary. Normally that means balloons on the door, some kind of acknowledgement. Nope, not this time - altho we did get a ton of flyers congratulating us on our anniversary and to make sure we hit the art auction, etc., etc.
It left such a sour impression on us that we're taking some time off from cruising. Next time I will definitely study deck plans a lot more, make sure the ship is newer, take all my paperwork and make sure my travel agent is aware of every single, solitary detail, etc., etc. We certainly hope not to experience another cruise like this one. Read Less