1. It took almost 3 hours to check in. The queue was mainly outside and we had to stand through the whole process. We went at the exact allocated time e mailed to us which said was to prevent all of this. Given the there were so many older ... Read More
1. It took almost 3 hours to check in. The queue was mainly outside and we had to stand through the whole process. We went at the exact allocated time e mailed to us which said was to prevent all of this. Given the there were so many older people and people with disabilities, the priority boarding seemed busier than the regular boarding.
2. Our toilet blocked x 3. Each time the ship rocked, the toilet water emptied into the shower room. My friend was unaware of this on the first occasion and thought I had left the shower room soaking. She showered, not realising she was wading through toilet water /urine. She was very distressed by this.
3. The ship was late to leave Southampton. We arrived in Barcelona very late. We had booked a half-day tour and planned to spend a half -day going around on our own. We only had time for the tour and nothing else. The ship got in at 12 noon but we did not get off until 2 pm. The tour was rushed and we had no free time. This was the first organised tour I had ever been on. I felt like a herded sheep. It was certainly not worth the money as was so rushed and all we saw of Barcelona.
4. There were queues throughout the cruise. We had to queue for so many things and hours were wasted in queues. It seemed like organised chaos.
5. The first time we went for breakfast, it took 40 minutes from getting to the buffet area to actually being able to sit down and eat. They regularly closed parts of the buffet area, making it a challenge to find a seat. We often had to queue for food, for drinks, to find a seat and then to wait for the table to be cleared. There was not enough staff for the first part of the cruise. I think additional staff may have come on at Barcelona.
6. Every single day, our toilet stopped flushing for a period of time.
7. I was not aware smoking had been banned from balconies until after the cruise was booked and paid for. There were only 2 places outside where you could smoke. As the journey was rough a lot of the time, Deck 7 (one smoking area) was closed. Deck 16 was not sheltered and very busy. This left 2 inside smoking areas, a part of the casino (open most days) and the cigar lounge. It was packed full with not enough seats and as a result was far to smoky. I do not like smoking indoors but felt I had to on occasion. My clothes and hair etc ended up stinking.
8. The menu of the TV in the cabin was blocked so could not be altered. It was fixed so that when there was writing on the screen, it could not be read.
9. Many things were over priced. This includes drinks, tours, bottled water etc.
10. Wifi was exceptionally expensive. I do not think there is a need for such expense when it is so cheap to provide, even onboard a ship.
11. The entertainment was abysmal. It reminded me of Butlins in the 1970’s. We tried various shows but did not manage to sit through a full one. It was dated and aimed at the 75+-age range. It was also mainly poor quality. I have seen much better at street fairs, karaoke and on a ferry. What was on the main stage is usually something you would see in a little bar or something.
12. The activities were again aimed at much older age group. Most of the talks were about physical ailments such as back pain and arthritis. They had a veterans group and a knitters and natters for example. We were left so, so bored. Something I have never experienced on a cruise. There is usually too much to choose from.
13. The company must have known prior to the cruise what the age group was and should have made this more public. There was no list or notification of who or what the “entertainment” was before we set of. This would have given a clear indication of the age range the cruise was aimed at. We would not have gone on this one if we had known this. Wartime songs, song sheets, sing a long, Bernie Flint! To name a few.
14. They ran out of milk at one point. How could this be for such a basic thing?
15. English breakfast tea was only available sometimes. They continually ran out and it was a challenge to try to find some or to wait for a long time before staff found some.
16. I got very sick after eating at the crab shack one night. I do not know for sure what the cause was however.
17. Marseille port was a shambles. Nowhere did they tell us we had to wait in yet another queue to buy a ticket for the shuttle bus. We waited for about half an hour in the queue for the bus, only to be told when we got to the front that we had to have a ticket before hand. We then had to wait in another queue for a ticket before getting back in a queue for the bus again. It took over an hour overall. There was only one person selling the tickets, who was also giving port information. This is just appalling for a ship for over 3000 people.
18. The shuttle for Marseille was overpriced. There was apparently a local bus for only $2. I heard some had complained about the over charging of $8 each way (which we paid). Some said they got a refund. We did not.
19. If the ship docks far beyond the town / port, surely shuttles should be inclusive and not an additional charge, nor even more queues. Extortion!
20. We paid for a tour a whole day tour in Florence. It was way too busy. In fact of the 3 tours, we had to walk at a snails pace. There were at least 30+ tours going to the same spots at the same time. We were crowded and again herded like sheep. We only lasted about 15 minutes before asking to leave and meet up with them later to get back to the ship. Despite having paid for this, we could not bare it any longer and went off and did our own thing.
21. In Corsica, we were deafened by the microphone / speaker system on the tour bus not working. Each time it was switched on, it screeched. This did not deter them from continually trying to put it on. They did this to the point where I practically begged them to switch it off and I then had a headache. The tour guide then spoke without this, so could not be heard. Surely this should have been sorted/ in place before the tour took place.
22. Yes there was nightclub but it was usually empty with no atmosphere at all. I know the cruise company cannot force people to go but again, if we had known the cruise was aimed at a much older age group, we would not have gone on it.
23. The DJ in the nightclub had very little of the music we requested and she tended to play the same tracks every night we were there. This got monotonous. In the age of the Internet, surely the majority of music can be accessed. If they had been in my local club, they would not have lasted more than a week.
24. We were offered water and coffee on our first night in the dining room. We accepted without realising it had to be paid for. We did not know we had to specifically ask for un- bottled water and regular coffee for it to be included.
25. The drinks packages were excessive, over priced and inflexible. For alcohol, it was $49 per day but you had to buy for the whole 14 days, even for the days when you were off the boat. I don’t know many people who would drink that amount daily for 14 days!
26. We got charged room service for asking for a shower cap!
27. The photographers were very poor. I have never seen such horrible photos; even of people we met who were very good looking. They even managed to make babies look bad.
28. Other issues we had although I cannot blame Princess for but added to this being the worst holiday / experience of our lives included: a) Fellow guests wanting to debate Independence with us at every meal time, to the point we stopped going for dinner. Some being positively rude about it and making nasty comments. b) The weather and resulting rough seas, making my friend very sick and preventing access to the pools and decks for long periods, sometimes whole days.
29. Some of the movies were fantastic however the TV availability was very poor and so repetitive. Given this became our main source of entertainment; we ended up watching things more than once, just to pass the time.
30. The waste of paper. There was too much mail sent to our cabin every day and much of it repetitive and of no use. It would have been better to include port transport information for example, in the daily guide. This could have made getting off and on the ship smoother and faster.
31. Maintenance being done whilst we were on the ship, for example painting on the balcony and working on the toilets/ water systems. Surely this should be done when the boat it is not in use. This happened one day after another, so became inconvenient.
32. Due to the ongoing issue with the toilets, they were regularly worked on later in the evening, as were other problems, involving workmen being outside the cabin and making such a noise to prevent us from sleeping.
33. Lack of communication. For example, I rang to advise our toilet had stopped working one evening at 9.30 pm. I was advised someone would be there to fix it soon. As I had not heard anything by 11.40 pm and was keen to get to bed, I rang again. I was advised the whole area had been broken and they were working on this. I said I was keen to get to bed and asked for an estimated time of them coming to our cabin, only to be advised they did not need access as were working on it from outside. Surely they could have called me to inform me of this to save me waiting up for over 2 hours.
34. Given all our poor experiences with getting off the ship. We opted for the last disembarkation. We were due to get in to Southampton about 7 am. We decided to book to get off at 10.30 am. The plan was for us to stay as late as possible in the cabin, have breakfast then head off. It was not until after we did this were we told we had to be out the cabin by 8 am! This meant carrying all our stuff around for at least 2 ½ hours. To top this, we were then advised the breakfast area closed at 9 am! This is just ridiculous. I am well aware there is a turnover time but surely they could clean the rooms of the people who get off early first and continue to service them as more people get off. This outraged me. There was no leeway at all. To make it worse, they decided to close part of the buffet area at this time also. It was pandemonium up there, people with bags and cases, trying to get breakfast in limited areas, trying to find a clean table, seats etc. It was like a zoo!. The boat was also late at getting in, so made our wait even longer. We got a note in the evening to say this did not effect our time to get off then later at night, another note to say this was delayed. A fitting end to a disastrous holiday.
35. My sister was on time to pick us up but took about 40 minutes to get through the traffic jam at the port, caused by the next groups of people getting on as we were getting off. Again, more organised chaos. It is not like this is new to the company. Surely they could organise this better. I know it can be. I have cruised before and had such a contrasting experience. The last one was perfect in comparison with no issues what so ever.
36. I wrote a complaint about some of the above issues on Day 7 of the cruise. We were asked to meet with the Customer Services manager On Day 11 or 12. She asked what could make the remainder of the cruise better, my friend asked for a helicopter off the ship! We were offered a meal in one of the paying restaurants. I felt insulted by this. Between us, we spent over £5,000 for this trip. The cost of a balcony cabin, the cost to get to Southampton, the new clothes for the formal nights (of which we went to 1 due to the debating going on), my considerable onboard spend of over $1500, what was spent at the ports etc. It was for my friend’s 50th Birthday. It is advertised as a 5 star experience, a once in a life time experience. I certainly hope never to “experience” this again. We spent all of this and were offered a $20 meal to compensate! Unbelievable. I had said in the meeting that I had offered my friend an all expenses paid cruise in the Caribbean or somewhere, to prove to her it was not always like this but she declined. To add insult to injury, we got a letter after this, acknowledging the complaint and stating “we look forward to welcoming you back on to the Emerald Princess in the very near future” It made me doubt anything I had written or said in the meeting had been listened to at all. A standard response letter perhaps?
Having been on cruises before and absolutely loved the experience, I persuaded my friend to come with me on this one. It was meant to be holiday of a lifetime for her. She made all sorts of negative references about her ideas of cruising. I dispelled all of this with facts about how enjoyable my previous experiences had been. She decided to come and saved hard for this “experience of a lifetime” It was just awful! I spent much of my time apologising to her, as I felt very responsible for having persuaded her. All she thought negative about cruising was experienced within the first couple of days. If we were not so close and having been on holiday several times together in the past, this could have ruined our friendship.
I could go on but I think the above is more than enough to explain why it was so bad.