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With much anticipation, I boarded the Princess Regal on November 20 with my husband, 15 year old son and his friend. We had taken 7 Carnival cruises over the past several years and thought Princess would be a nice change of pace. Our anticipation quickly turned to disappointment and remained steady with a less than stellar customer service experience throughout our entire cruise. In a nutshell… we found the majority of the crew, particularly the bartenders and servers to be extremely disengaged with passengers. From our first drink on the lido deck to our last drink in the dining room, we found the staff to be unfriendly, uninterested and more distracted with chatting it up with other staff. Night and day service from Carnival to Princess. Carnival is more of a party atmosphere with bartenders and servers excited to serve up a wide variety of concoctions including a drink of the day and they quickly establish a first name basis with their customers. The staff proactively approach you on the lido desk to ask if you are ready for another drink, often times you turn them down because they stop by so often but eventually when you are ready to order they are ready to serve you with a smile. We knew that Princess would be less of a party atmosphere with an older crowd and we were cool with that, but we didn’t think the service would be lacking. From our first drink order on the lido deck (where we had to endure a male bartender’s silly flirtations with a fellow bartender, pulling out all stops like singing the nauseating Barney theme song, “I love you, you love me…”) to our last drink order at dinner (where our waiter disappeared for a good 30 minutes and when he did came back we had to flag him down and remind him of our order) our disgust with the service was compounded over the course of 7 days. On this trip, I looked forward to lounging on a lido deck chair and being asked if I was ready for another drink… over the course of 7 days that never happened! Instead I would make my way to a bar, wait for the staff to finish their conversation before being acknowledged, request a drink menu and be handed one begrudgingly and left to feel like what the heck just happened! I know what you are thinking… this was probably just a onetime encounter… nope, every time! It almost became comical that the service was that bad. My husband and I tried to figure out what the difference was between Carnival and Princess… in our Carnival cruises we paid for drinks as we ordered. For Princess, we bought an all you can drink package. With the packages are the staff less motivated financially to serve drinks? While they are the same company, is there culture and customer service training that different? Are there issues with senior management that are trickling down to lower level staff? Whatever the case may be, we paid a lot of money, took time off from work, arranged a dog sitter and all the other hoops you go through to make a much-needed vacation happen for a less than stellar experience. On the positives, Princess beat out Carnival when it came to food! For example, we aren’t big fans of buffets (mass quantities of bad food), but in this case we found ourselves choosing the buffet over the dining room. The decor was also classier on Princess. But based on customer service alone, we will never take a Princess cruise and I would not recommend this line to my family and friends. Next stop, Royal Caribbean!

Disengaged Staff = Disappointing Cruise

Regal Princess Cruise Review by easterniowacruisers

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2016
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Premium Club Class Mini-Suite with Balcony
With much anticipation, I boarded the Princess Regal on November 20 with my husband, 15 year old son and his friend. We had taken 7 Carnival cruises over the past several years and thought Princess would be a nice change of pace. Our anticipation quickly turned to disappointment and remained steady with a less than stellar customer service experience throughout our entire cruise. In a nutshell… we found the majority of the crew, particularly the bartenders and servers to be extremely disengaged with passengers.

From our first drink on the lido deck to our last drink in the dining room, we found the staff to be unfriendly, uninterested and more distracted with chatting it up with other staff. Night and day service from Carnival to Princess.

Carnival is more of a party atmosphere with bartenders and servers excited to serve up a wide variety of concoctions including a drink of the day and they quickly establish a first name basis with their customers. The staff proactively approach you on the lido desk to ask if you are ready for another drink, often times you turn them down because they stop by so often but eventually when you are ready to order they are ready to serve you with a smile.

We knew that Princess would be less of a party atmosphere with an older crowd and we were cool with that, but we didn’t think the service would be lacking. From our first drink order on the lido deck (where we had to endure a male bartender’s silly flirtations with a fellow bartender, pulling out all stops like singing the nauseating Barney theme song, “I love you, you love me…”) to our last drink order at dinner (where our waiter disappeared for a good 30 minutes and when he did came back we had to flag him down and remind him of our order) our disgust with the service was compounded over the course of 7 days.

On this trip, I looked forward to lounging on a lido deck chair and being asked if I was ready for another drink… over the course of 7 days that never happened! Instead I would make my way to a bar, wait for the staff to finish their conversation before being acknowledged, request a drink menu and be handed one begrudgingly and left to feel like what the heck just happened! I know what you are thinking… this was probably just a onetime encounter… nope, every time! It almost became comical that the service was that bad.

My husband and I tried to figure out what the difference was between Carnival and Princess… in our Carnival cruises we paid for drinks as we ordered. For Princess, we bought an all you can drink package. With the packages are the staff less motivated financially to serve drinks? While they are the same company, is there culture and customer service training that different? Are there issues with senior management that are trickling down to lower level staff? Whatever the case may be, we paid a lot of money, took time off from work, arranged a dog sitter and all the other hoops you go through to make a much-needed vacation happen for a less than stellar experience.

On the positives, Princess beat out Carnival when it came to food! For example, we aren’t big fans of buffets (mass quantities of bad food), but in this case we found ourselves choosing the buffet over the dining room. The decor was also classier on Princess. But based on customer service alone, we will never take a Princess cruise and I would not recommend this line to my family and friends. Next stop, Royal Caribbean!
easterniowacruisers’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
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Ages 13 to 15
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Cabin Review

Premium Club Class Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M6 R228
Room was nice except for the occasional smell of sewage that seemed to be coming through an air vent.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Segway Tour
    We signed up for a segway tour to the beach. We showed up with beach towels as instructed and after filling out all the paperwork we found out that our tour was not to the beach but rather to a small town on the other side of the island and to a tequila factory. Not the beach excursion we signed up for. We quickly cancelled the excursion and luckily for us a Princess employee was able to quickly get us on a new excursion. Was disappointment that the tour was not as described.
    View All 10 Segway Tour Reviews