I went on my first cruise with my family when I was 2 years old, since that time I have been on many cruises and always enjoyed them. Time on the ship as the best vacation for me and even on average cruise I would find so many wonderful ... Read More
I went on my first cruise with my family when I was 2 years old, since that time I have been on many cruises and always enjoyed them. Time on the ship as the best vacation for me and even on average cruise I would find so many wonderful things to do that it made for a great vacation every time. Until this cruise on Crown Princess. This is an officially LAST cruise I will ever take on Princess cruise line. This has been the most horrible experience of my entire life. All throughout the cruise I was wishing that I was home and never put a foot on this ship. This comes from a very experienced cruiser who even 2 weeks ago was pervading everyone that there is no better place on earth then on the deck of the ship.
I will start from the beginning and describe in details all 7 days. We purchased this cruise 11 month in advance as a celebratory cruise for my husband's 50th birthday. We were supposed to sail as a family of 16 but due to people losing their jobs and recession, only 6 of us could sail at the end. And this was the blessing that the rest of the people were spared this horror. Me, 42, hubby, 50, kids, 10 and 18, parents 72 and 73. We got 2 balcony cabins, and requested 1 double bed and a rollaway bed in each cabin. When completing the personalization page online before the cruise I have requested again that we have 1 double bed in each cabin, extra towels and bath robes. I have filled out for all 6 of use that we are celebrating a birthday and that is the reason for this cruise.
When we got to the port Everglades at 12:30 as it was stated in the itinerary, we were horded to convention center and given a number. No other explanation was provided. After an hour there was an announcement that embarkations will be delayed until 2 pm. At 2:30 there was another announcement that embarkation will be delayed until 3 pm. We have learned from people around that there is norovirus on the ship and the ship is being disinfected. We finally got on the ship at 4:45 pm. To my total surprise our cabins has 2 single beds each and no place to sleep for a third person (who btw paid a full 3rd person fair and was not traveling for free). The cabins were also filthy, not cleaned from previous passengers, and my daughter cut her foot on broken glass within a minute after we entered the cabin. There were no robes, no extra towels (2 towels for 3 people actually) and no fruit basket, or anything extra. We went to front desk and stayed there the rest of the first day speaking to different managers who really could not care less and were not going to do anything about it. They told us that they do not have rollaway beds and there is nothing they can do. We had to tell them that we will bring mattress and all 6 of us will sleep in front of the front desk to get them moving. By 2 am we had 1 rollaway bed and my husband and I were dispatched into an emergency cabin for 1 night until they could figure out what to do with 6th passenger. The emergency cabin was so dirty, we stripped the bed and put beach towels to sleep on, shower was never cleaned, bed linens were used.
Also on the first day, we went to Princess Theater for a Welcome Show, which never happened due to "technical issues" as cruise director explained.
Next day, we had breakfast at the buffet, and this is a new horror all together. Due to norovirus you could not serve yourself in the buffet, staff had to serve you and that would be find if they knew what they were doing. During the 7 days I have called for manager at least 7 times in the buffet just trying to get service. You get a waffle and ask for whipped cream, they will either tell you they do not know where it is or put butter on top and call it whipped cream. One day I was walking with bowl of oatmeal for 10 minutes trying to find brown sugar and no one at the buffer would know where the sugar was. If you ask for cold cuts, they give you 1, you have to ask for each piece of ham, fish, cheese, strawberry, etc. One day they were serving brisket for lunch and I was observing a passenger who got brisket and was trying to get mustard from the server, and she would deliver mustard on his plate one drop at a time until he could not stand it anymore and just threw the plate and left. The selection was terrible -- burnt bacon, burnt sausage, scrambled eggs, rise pudding, salty fish, hash browns -- most of the stuff was uneatable. One morning 6 of us were sitting at the table waiting for server to take our drink order, finally he came and asked what we wanted, I said "Some orange juice please" He replied "One?" I said (sarcastically) -- "Yes, we will share" In 5 minutes we got 1 orange juice -- true story. My father likes his tea sweet, but they would not leave a sugar dispenser on the table so he needed to ask for sugar every time he had tea and would get a packet at the time. The service was so bad that if I could I would not eat there at all. Which brings me to another point -- room service.
I could not use room service even once throughout the cruise. Every time I called, either line was busy or I was on hold until I could no longer hold the phone. Not once was my call answered. We had pretty rough see and kids got sea sick, I could not get room service to bring us tea in the cabin. I was on hold one time for 22 minutes and then someone just disconnected the line. My husband had to walk with cup of tea at the time in an 18 ft see on moving ship because room service was unreachable.
Day 2. Princes Key. After terrible night and poor breakfast we went to Michelangelo dining room as we were told to get off the ship and on the island. Surprise, surprise, there was a multi-level line of 3000 people waiting to get off the ship, I wish I could show you pictures, there were rings and rings of people waiting and due to "technical difficulties" no one was taken ashore. Tenders did not work, so they needed to lower emergency boats and take 80 passengers at the time. From 10 am it took us until 1 pm to get to the beach, buffet on the island was working until 1:30, kids were hungry after terrible breakfast, so instead of the beach we went to buffet -- well, it was uneatable, selection was miniscule, ribs were raw, hamburger was burnt, no salads. We stayed on the beach for less than 2 hours and stayed for 2 more hours in line to get on the ship. By that time I was ready to get back home and every going back to work sounded more fun than this vacation.
Day 3. On the ship. This was the only day when it was not raining and the weather was good and sea was calm. I stayed on the deck where with help of a fellow passenger I put 2 lounge chairs together -- the rest were taken by towels and magazines and no one was enforcing no reservation rules. I got watered down Pina Colada for $11.25 and my Mom got watered down strawberry daiquiri with strawberry syrup for $11.25 that she could not drink it was nauseatingly sweet. Movies under the stars make no sense because during the day due to reflection you cannot see anything on the screen and every night it was raining.
Dining room: We always request late sitting, and table was ready for us every night. Our servers were very good and the only people who cared and tried their best to make this cruise a better experience for us. It was very difficult for our waiter considering the horrible menu and poorly cooked meals we were served. The chef needs to go to cook school, its a shame to receive food like we were served in the dining room of the ship. Every night we had to send food back because it was not cooked properly. We are not picky but I could not cut veal masala because it was so tough, beef wellington was served bloody inside, meat loaf is completely raw, red and bloody, fish had no taste, short ribs were not separating from the bone, and I can go on and on. Every time we go on the cruise we try to walk a lot and swim in order not to gain weight -- this cruise all 6 of us lost weight -- this is not a joke -- we left dining room half hungry every night. Not once during the 7 days I had a good salad. In the buffet the salad bar was a joke -- romaine leafs, tomatoes, olives and marinated cauliflower. In dining room they only had small Caesar salad. I would not complain if I was served cobb salad or chef salad but they did not have that on the menu. So for 7 days we had tea and bagel for breakfast, little salad and cold cuts for lunch, appetizers, salad and dessert for dinner. Does not sound like a cruise menu to me.
Entertainment: There were 3 production shows -- all pretty basic and not memorable, Mo Town is worst then most, Destination Anywhere is ok if it was not for singers, they have lost their voices or never had them to begin with. Not a good entertainment at all. Cruise director was everywhere, she was announcing everything, she would be on TV and on speakers at the same time, she was at every show, at every event, teaching dance classes, opening shows, just everywhere -- poor girl, she worked like no cruise director I've ever seen -- no support from her staff. But cruise entertainment cannot be held together by one person and it showed. Guest performers were not funny and not entertaining, the games were not funny, the trivia was too British, and everything was just not the way it used to be. Art Auction was every day all day long, they kept on pushing ugly art into everyone. Shops on board had no selection -- first time I did not buy anything on the ship.
Captains formal night was another spit in the face -- people got dressed up nicely, made tuxedo arrangements, etc and were served mimosas!!! No h'oderves, no wine, no champagne tower.
And last but not least: The 50th Birthday Celebration - The reason for this miserable cruise - IT NEVER HAPPENED. The room steward did not even put a sign on the room or balloons; we did not receive the chocolate covered strawberries and champagne, and NO ONE had acknowledged my husbands birthday!!!
I am tired of writing and re-living this miserable cruise and I am sure you are tired or reading it. If you already bought tickets -- I wish you better experience then what we had. If you did not buy tickets yet -- don't! If you must go on a cruise go with Celebrity or more reputable cruise line, they also cut corners but nothing like Princess. Read Less