We are not new to cruising, we have sailed on over 35 cruises; this was one of the worst. PRINCESS “CROWN” - Balcony Cabin: R-710 on Deck 14 - Our Review of the October 18, 2014 a 28 day Cruise to Hawaii and South Sea Islands, ENDED UP ... Read More
We are not new to cruising, we have sailed on over 35 cruises; this was one of the worst. PRINCESS “CROWN” - Balcony Cabin: R-710 on Deck 14 - Our Review of the October 18, 2014 a 28 day Cruise to Hawaii and South Sea Islands, ENDED UP BEING 29 DAYS- a crew member’s medical emergency at sea.
The Good the Bad, and the Ugly
We booked this cruise to celebrate our 53rd Wedding Anniversary.
We will start from the very positive ratings and go on to many poor and very poor ratings-
OVERALL RATING OF CRUISE: MEDICORE AT BEST TO POOR- see quality: of food and cabin
DISENBARKING Procedure – RATING – EXCELLENT- Fifteen minutes early!
ENTERTAINMENT: RATING –OVERALL VERY GOOD - Overall the very best of entertainment was brought in at ports along the way, the best of any cruise we have ever taken. The cruise director himself could have done his own 30 minute or so show, he was very entertaining not only in the Princess theatre but in other shows. Our only negative comment would be about the singers of Princess as they do not enunciate their words. On the last show in the Princess Theatre even the ship’s personnel talent show singers were much better enunciating their words than the Princess singers. The only show we did not particularly enjoy was the Children Hulu show in Honolulu Hawaii; we would have much preferred an Adult Hula performance. While the children are somewhat cute, we expect something better than an elementary school performance.
INTERNATIONAL CAFÉ- DECK #5: RATING- EXCELLENT - Has an Excellent staff of servers and in particular “Tetiana” very friendly and happy, a bundle of energy that went way beyond to serve you and with the best attitude we experienced on the ship. In particular, we enjoyed the Shrimp Salad, the Greek Salad, the Oatmeal and Chocolate chip cookies. Behind the counter the young black man with the big hat and the little girl with glasses and the hat were very helpful and charming as they worked to serve their customers with a wonderful attitude throughout their shifts. Whoever manages the International Café personnel could teach many of the servers on Deck 15 about what good attitude is all about and teach them to provide excellent service to Princess’s customers.
BOTTICELLI DINING ROOM – RATING- POOR– 8 PM seating – Dining room approximately 50% empty. Our table of 8 consisted of two sisters and a brother, a single gentleman proud of the fact that he purchased your all the liquor you could drink for $50. per day, and a English couple and my wife and me. The first night we order the prime rib, medium rare it was tender but tasteless. The 2nd night we tried the Salmon, it was over cooked and dry. The 3rd night we tried the shanks, they were dry and over cooked. While the server (female) was efficient she was without any personality, not like the other tables in the area where the servers were in tune with their guest. It was like eating in the last booth in an empty diner late at night. While we checked the Botticelli Dining Room menu for their evening meal, nothing really sounded very good so we ate on Deck 15 or had a bite in the International Café. We then avoided the Botticelli Dining Room as it was not worth the effort to dress for dinner until the last formal night; and we did enjoy the Lobster tail and Beef Wellington; we ate in the dining room a total of four (4) dinners.’ The server was so efficient that evening that the meal was completed in 55 minutes flat; the waiter had only one table to take care of. On the final night of the cruise while we did not eat in the dining room, we brought an envelope for the Waiter and Ass’t Waiter (TIP); the assistant waiter was not around so we gave both envelopes to the Female waiter; while she said, “thank you;: the next thing she said abruptly was, “what is your room #?” I told her the envelope was a gift and I was not paying a bill. She repeated herself, “what is your room #?” I told her if she didn’t want the envelope, she could just give it back to me; and then she hurriedly walked away.
HORIZON CAFÉ – Deck 15- RATING-MEDICORE AT BEST- We found the best meal of the day was at breakfast; with lunch being largely yesterday’s left overs made into some kind of a casserole. Consistently, the best item at lunch and dinner in the Horizon Café was the different soups. The gravies were always salty.
We would recommend that prime rib, lobster tails. Escargot, and Beef Wellington and other main dishes that are occasionally offered in the dining rooms are also offered in the Horizon Café.
The best deserts were the cookies, and once they had Apple Strudel that was excellent. Many times the cream based deserts were warm and therefore disgusting resulting in waste. The Horizon Café needs a refrigerated set up for stacks of dishes for salads and cold deserts as hot plates and bowls do not for cold salads and cream based deserts.
During last week of the cruise, Norovirus in full bloom on the ship– Just a note- While having a late snack in the Horizon Café, we noticed when the serving lines were closed, and the sanitizing gel was locked up in the serving line area. I spoke to one of the supervisors and suggested that he speak to his boss and suggest leaving the sanitizing gel available for the guest. Rudely, he said there is a bathroom and pointed towards its location. I’m sure 95% of the guest by-pass the bathrooms on their way. Incidentally, the Captain asked passengers to avoid using the public bathrooms doing this outbreak of the Norovirus. However, if a sanitizing gel stand was made available when leaving the restaurant many would use it.
Hamburger Stand on deck - Much improvement can be made for the pre- cooked hamburgers on deck that are tossed on the grill to be warmed up and put on a cold bun, YUCK.
CROWN GRILL- RATING- STEAK WAS TOUGH- One evening to celebrate our 53rd wedding Anniversary we made a reservation; the Lobster was excellent; but the filet mignon was tough as a cheap sirloin. When I told the waiter, his reply was “sorry, but the Captain enjoyed his steak.” So much for our $50. at a specialty restaurant on “Crown” Princess.”
OVERALL FOOD SUMMARY- RATING-- MEDICORE TO POOR -It appears that Princess is now cutting corners big tine on the kitchen BUDGET, cheaper grades of meat; with only Lobster served twice on a 28 day cruise; on all prior cruises it generally has been served once for every 7 days on a cruise along with escargot etc. Cheaper lunches, mainly made from left overs are being offered and food temperatures are generally Luke warm.
Princess is now charging for Hot Chocolate. Princess no longer offers a Seafood Extravaganza’s , another thing of the past was Big time Brunches in the dining room and Chicken and Beef barbecue’s on deck normally provided on long cruises that are filled with many sea days.
EMBARKING – RATING- POOR - The absolute worst experience ever in over 35 cruises. On October 18, 2014 at the Marriott Hotel we were told by a Princess Representative to be at the Los Angeles Airport “Delta” arrival by 10:30AM for transfer to the “Crown” Princess cruise ship. At 10:30AM we were with the Princess’s representative at the airport along with a large group waiting to be transferred to the ship. Later, we were told we would be taken by bus to the Radisson Hotel for coffee and sweet rolls where we were to sign up for the transfer to the ship and register for the boarding of the cruise; we stood in line for approximately 35 minutes, no chairs available for the handicapped. Then we waited and waited, until at 1:30PM, by then there were no Princess Representatives remaining to guide us to the bus, we finally found and boarded the bus to the cruise docks; and made good time to the cruise docks. But then there was a long line of buses at the cruise docks so we waited over an hour on the bus, we were the last bus exiting and there was no Princess Representative to guide us handicapped folks into the terminal with our carry-on luggage and canes. Once in the terminal, there was a sign posted “WAITING AREA FOR HANDICAPPED; we waited, then we were told we had to take the escalator and we said we could not use the escalator as we are handicapped and use a cane to steady ourselves with the carryon luggage. Then we were told to use the elevator to the 2nd floor and there would be wheel chairs waiting. Guess what, no wheel chairs waiting and no Princess Representative around. We waited; finally we were greeted by a gentlemen with a broken wheel chair. Then there were plenty of Princess Personnel around however no one seemed to know what to do; just a horrible mess. We were taken to get our cabin key and were required to show our passports for the 3rd time. We finally arrived at our cabin R-710 at 3:45pm just as the announcement to go to the required Ship’s Onboard Drill was being announced. It took us from 10:30am in the company of Princess Personnel’s direction until 3:45pm to arrive at our cabin R-710. This was absolutely the worst transfer in over 35 cruises that we have ever encountered on any cruise ship. Many of the Princess’s representatives were untrained and had no idea as to what they were supposed to do, so they stood around and talked amongst themselves.
Cabin Steward – RATING- VERY POOR-- 1st day - October 18th pleasant and accommodating; at which time I told if you take good care of us, we will take very good care of you; and smiled and said he would take good care of us.
On the first day, my wife called guest services and told them the carpet in the cabin was filthy and asked for it to be shampooed; someone came and shampooed the carpet with in thirty minutes.
Beginning, from 2md day, October 19th through November 4, 2014 never smiled or greeted us, he was in another world. On the 5th day my wife called “Guest Services” inquiring when the sheets were supposed to be changed as she had noticed a hole in the sheet on the first day; they replied on the 3rd day.
The seas were somewhat rough; we had removed Princess’s bottle of water and the cans of soda from the inside of the refrigerator and placed them on top of the refrigerator so we could keep our items in the refrigerator. During the night, the bottle of water and the cans of soda rolled off the top of the refrigerator and lodged themselves behind and at the side of the refrigerator. During the following days, we asked several times to remove these items that were lodged at the side and rear of the refrigerator as we did not want to be charged for them; however never did anything about it, subsequently we called “Guest Services” to resolve this matter.
We told the light was out over the mirror and later the light over the bed was out, and ask him to have maintenance dept. replace them; he did nothing and we subsequently called “Guest Services to have the lights replaced. For about two weeks we asked to put extra soap and Kleenex in the cabin, it was about two weeks before he got the message; in the meantime we asked the lady nearby for items when needed. She was getting annoyed with deficiencies. Often would not put the open Kleenex in its holder just leave them on the sink. The only toiletries in the head were a hand lotion that was seldom replaced. Does the absolute minimum as a Room Steward like a bad maid in a hotel. We would rate as the worst Cabin Steward we have ever had in over 35 cruises.
Princess apparently has cut its toiletries to hand lotion; no shampoo or conditioners etc. Shampoo is now offered in a dispenser in the shower; no good for us. Kleenex offer by Princess is of a very poor quality.
PLUMBING: We had to call for the plumber nine (9) times as the toilet would not flush and twice because the toilet was leaking and the water had gone over the lip in the bathroom and flooded onto our cabin floor; what a mess.
CONDITION OF SHIP – it needs to go into dry dock and be thoroughly cleaned and updated; many plumbing issues on this ship exist, well-worn mattresses and carpet in cabins need to be replaced as well as the carpet in hallways. Seats in Princess Theatre are showing their wear. Chairs in clubs and all around the ship need to have their cushions replaced. The library needs to be remodeled and have more space. The ship needs a good size card playing room and should provide playing cards for free like they use to. The Internet Café needs to be relocated to a quieter location and the Internet Café manager, a real jerk needs to be replaced with someone who is more helpful and has a pleasant personality and does not act like a criminal attorney. He is no asset to your company and is often away during his stated position during posted business hours. He won’t bring Princess business and will chase away a lot of customers.
MANAGEMENT IN MEDICAL EMERGENCY SITUTATION - RATING POOR –Training at the handling the problems of passengers needs to be addressed which were caused from a crew member’s medical emergency at sea. Management is Often untrained, Rude and demonstrates uncaring management on the Princess “Crown” existed.
By now Princess must have received hundreds of letters on how poorly management of Crown Princess handled the effects of the one day delay in returning to Los Angles, about 3,000 passengers trying to adjust their airplane reservations, hotel reservations, people expecting to pick up passengers at the cruise dock, etc. Management could not have done a poorer job if they tried. At one point during the ship’s problem over several days while waiting in line by the purser’s desk on deck #6 to use the telephone, my wife asked a passing officer for his help, he was in full dress uniform (no mistake that he was an officer). My wife pointed out the deafening noise coming from the ongoing events on deck #5 below which was making it almost impossible to hear on the telephone. She pointed out that the conference room on deck #5 was empty and it was locked up today, but it was available yesterday; perhaps the conference room could be utilized today.” The officer threw up his hands in the air and said, “That’s not my problem” and walked swiftly away. Now that’s only one example of lacking quality management that we experienced!
Our feelings now that the cruise is over and we are back home:
We didn’t get a quality cruise for the reasons noted above. We didn’t get the 28 day cruise that we paid for; what we got was a 21 day cruise followed by 7 days beginning on November 9, 2014 of confusion to November 16, 2014 of rude uncaring management of Princess “Crown;” as a result of a crew member’s medical emergency. Previously, I was of the understanding of how well trained the management of Princess Cruises were trained to handle emergencies. From this experience, it points out just how poorly trained management is in handling the logistical problems of passengers that are caused from a ship emergency of this nature.
Overall this Princess cruise left a sour taste in our mouth for Princess, previously we were a big cheerleader for Princess. It appears to us that Princess finances is not doing as well as it would like or they are pressing for larger returns. So it is doing what any other greedy business tries to do; a definite mistake; management trims the quality of its product in an attempt to raise the gross profit while trimming expenses by cutting labor expense to increase profits. A short time solution that will cause bigger problems in the near future as the loss of Princess seasoned travelers won’t be far behind.
Since arriving home, in the past two weeks we have received numerous Princess marketing emails and several pieces of marketing via regular mail. As a result of this cruise, most likely we will not go with Princess any time in the foreseeable future, but instead spend our travel dollars on a River Cruise or a Land tour or perhaps just take a trip somewhere for a couple of weeks for our next several vacations utilizing recommended recent trips of our friends. We recommend to anyone planning a cruise to pass on Princess Cruises and look elsewhere; Princess is nothing like it used to be; now it’s a low grade cruise by comparison to its former self. Read Less