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You'd think it would be difficult to be pissed off after spending a week somewhere as gorgeous as the Caribbean. But congratulations, Regal Princess - you've succeeded. I'll start with a little background: This was the FOURTH cruise I've taken with Princess just this year alone - and my second on the Regal. I'm not the type to complain about every little issue on a cruise - I'm generally pretty easy to please. I did Panama Canal last month on the Island Princess and it was amazing. Zero complaints. I wrote a great review after that cruise because they deserved it. I just got home from a seven day Western Caribbean cruise on the Regal Princess. The ports of call and shore excursions were excellent, as always, but many things about the ship itself were pretty terrible. I don't even know where to begin, so I'll take it from the top... I boarded the ship the first day and headed up to the Riviera Deck to my stateroom - R311. I immediately noticed a funky smell in the hallway - almost like the cleaning products used to deodorize a toilet in a bus or airplane bathroom. It was pretty gross. I noticed that the carpets were wet, too, so I assumed that they had just wet vacuumed the hallways or something. I went into my stateroom and began unpacking. The carpet in front of my bathroom was also wet - bad enough that my socks got soaked after stepping on it. And the bathroom itself smelled like urine, which really bothered me, because I had the same problem last Spring in my stateroom on the Aloha deck. Later in the afternoon I went to explore the ship and stopped by the front desk to tell them about the smell in the bathroom. They said they'd have the steward take care of it, and he did - when I went back to my room an hour or so later, the bathroom had been bleached and scrubbed and the smell was almost totally gone (note: if you want your steward to take great care of you, give him/her a $20 tip at the beginning of the cruise as soon as you meet them and they'll do almost anything for you). I was tired that evening and decided to just order room service. This also turned into an exercise in frustration. I called several times and nobody answered. I was put on hold each time. After spending about 10-15 minutes waiting, I'd had enough and called the front desk to complain. They said they'd have the room service people call me back, and eventually, they did. I tried not to get too worked up about the situation because it was the first night of the cruise, and the room service staff are often pretty backed up at this time. I ordered the lobster and steak and paid $19 for it (it wasn't worth it, and not only that, they got my order wrong). Later in the evening I tried calling the dining reservations line to make a reservation for the following evening at Sabitini's, and same situation - nobody answered. I gave up after several attempts. That night I went to bed in a not great mood but was hopeful that the rest of the cruise would be much better. I was startled awake at 5:30am by a SCREECHING alarm that went off in my stateroom. I called the front desk and they said they were aware of the problem - someone else had also called from their room on Riviera to report the same thing - and that they were working on fixing it. The alarm continued screeching for another 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, I'm wide awake, and I go to use the bathroom. I open the bathroom door and the bathroom stinks like urine again. Now I'm definitely not happy. There's no way I'm getting back to sleep. The alarm is still going off. I go down nine flights of stairs to the front desk to complain about the alarm and the smell of the bathroom. They send a housekeeping manager up to my room to check out the bathroom, and he sends the plumber up. Eventually the alarm turns off. The plumber fiddles around with the bathroom drains for 15 minutes or so, and then says he's sorry but there's not much he can do - the entire Riviera deck was flooded yesterday by a burst pipe, which is causing the sewer smell in both the hallway and possibly the smell in my stateroom bathroom, too. Basically, I'm out of luck. I appreciated the honesty, because this was the first time someone had the decency to actually explain to me what the TRUE situation was. A simple letter of apology or acknowledgement from Princess would've gone a long way here. "Hey, sorry the hallway is flooded and smells like a sewer and we did nothing to warn you", or "hey, sorry to wake you up from a sound sleep at 5:30am with an ear-splitting alarm that went off in dozens of rooms for 20+ minutes with zero explanation and no way to quickly turn off". Needless to say, this never happened. In any event, I called guest services and told them that I wanted a new room on a different deck. They said the ship was filled to capacity but that they'd see what they could do and get back to me. I heard nothing back for several hours. It wasn't until I got my travel agent involved AND threatened to contest the entire cost of the cruise with my credit card company that guest services finally had someone up the chain reach back out to me. I received a call a little later from Dean - the guest services director - and he was fantastic. I really need to give credit where credit is due here. I explained to him that pretty much every single thing about the cruise up until that point had been a complete nightmare, and that nobody on staff either seemed to care and/or had the ability to help me fix the problems I was having. I pretty much gave him a list of complaints and he immediately began addressing and trying to fix each one. It made all the difference in the world to me that he took my complaints seriously and actually worked to correct them. He even made me a complimentary reservation at Sabitini's that evening. Without my experience with Dean and his help resolving everything here, I doubt i'd ever be taking a Princess cruise again. From this point on, some things improved and some didn't. I went to Sabitini's that evening and this was literally the highlight of the cruise. They were so welcoming and friendly - the level of service and quality were amazing. I wish the entire cruise was like this. It meant so much to me that they actually treated me like a guest, because for most of the cruise up until this point (and after it), I felt like just a number. The ports of call and shore excursions were all excellent. Thank God for that because this helped the cruise not seem like a complete disaster. I did have some fun, at least. But overall, the negative experiences I had that first day or two of the cruise overshadowed the entire vacation, especially because many of them were never completely resolved. The hallway and bathroom continued to smell, it was difficult to get a human being on the phone when calling room service, the dining reservation line, or even the front desk, and the ship seemed very understaffed for the amount of guests on board. With so many shortcomings during this cruise, I've been trying to put my finger on how things could've gone so noticeably downhill since my last Regal cruise this past March. My theory is that it all boils down to the Medallion system. It's obvious that Princess is eliminating staff and replacing them with a terribly inadequate and cumbersome system of online Medallion applications. What a huge mistake. Human beings should not be replaced by automation in an industry where the overall level of quality/satisfaction is so heavily determined by the level of care/attention you receive from actual humans. If I go to McDonald's, I don't care if the human interaction is replaced by a self-service kiosk. When I'm on a cruise, it's a completely different story. Not to mention the fact that the apps often don't work or drastically limit the number of things you can do/order compared to when you interact with an actual human staff member - which often necessitates an additional human interaction, anyway. The few staff still employed seemed totally overwhelmed with the number of guests on board. They couldn't keep up, guests were getting frustrated, there were lines for almost everything, and the decreased morale was pretty apparent. it's a lose-lose situation for everyone involved. I really hope someone high up at Princess reads this review. Some of the issues on this cruise might've been bad luck, but others were entirely preventable. A lot of it boils down to customer service. I've given Princess many thousands of dollars in business in the past year alone. Just because I'm on the younger side, and traveling solo, doesn't mean I should receive a lower level of service than an older couple or a family with kids - and that was the impression I got again and again on this cruise (as well as other Princess cruises I've taken). I guarantee you I'm contributing just as much to your bottom line as these people, if not more. Perhaps you should realize who your truly loyal customers are, and start treating them that way.

Ship Issues + More Medallion + Less Staff = A Seriously Disappointing Experience

Regal Princess Cruise Review by MikeB827

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
You'd think it would be difficult to be pissed off after spending a week somewhere as gorgeous as the Caribbean. But congratulations, Regal Princess - you've succeeded.

I'll start with a little background: This was the FOURTH cruise I've taken with Princess just this year alone - and my second on the Regal. I'm not the type to complain about every little issue on a cruise - I'm generally pretty easy to please. I did Panama Canal last month on the Island Princess and it was amazing. Zero complaints. I wrote a great review after that cruise because they deserved it.

I just got home from a seven day Western Caribbean cruise on the Regal Princess. The ports of call and shore excursions were excellent, as always, but many things about the ship itself were pretty terrible. I don't even know where to begin, so I'll take it from the top...

I boarded the ship the first day and headed up to the Riviera Deck to my stateroom - R311. I immediately noticed a funky smell in the hallway - almost like the cleaning products used to deodorize a toilet in a bus or airplane bathroom. It was pretty gross. I noticed that the carpets were wet, too, so I assumed that they had just wet vacuumed the hallways or something. I went into my stateroom and began unpacking. The carpet in front of my bathroom was also wet - bad enough that my socks got soaked after stepping on it. And the bathroom itself smelled like urine, which really bothered me, because I had the same problem last Spring in my stateroom on the Aloha deck.

Later in the afternoon I went to explore the ship and stopped by the front desk to tell them about the smell in the bathroom. They said they'd have the steward take care of it, and he did - when I went back to my room an hour or so later, the bathroom had been bleached and scrubbed and the smell was almost totally gone (note: if you want your steward to take great care of you, give him/her a $20 tip at the beginning of the cruise as soon as you meet them and they'll do almost anything for you).

I was tired that evening and decided to just order room service. This also turned into an exercise in frustration. I called several times and nobody answered. I was put on hold each time. After spending about 10-15 minutes waiting, I'd had enough and called the front desk to complain. They said they'd have the room service people call me back, and eventually, they did. I tried not to get too worked up about the situation because it was the first night of the cruise, and the room service staff are often pretty backed up at this time. I ordered the lobster and steak and paid $19 for it (it wasn't worth it, and not only that, they got my order wrong). Later in the evening I tried calling the dining reservations line to make a reservation for the following evening at Sabitini's, and same situation - nobody answered. I gave up after several attempts.

That night I went to bed in a not great mood but was hopeful that the rest of the cruise would be much better.

I was startled awake at 5:30am by a SCREECHING alarm that went off in my stateroom. I called the front desk and they said they were aware of the problem - someone else had also called from their room on Riviera to report the same thing - and that they were working on fixing it. The alarm continued screeching for another 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, I'm wide awake, and I go to use the bathroom. I open the bathroom door and the bathroom stinks like urine again.

Now I'm definitely not happy. There's no way I'm getting back to sleep. The alarm is still going off. I go down nine flights of stairs to the front desk to complain about the alarm and the smell of the bathroom. They send a housekeeping manager up to my room to check out the bathroom, and he sends the plumber up. Eventually the alarm turns off. The plumber fiddles around with the bathroom drains for 15 minutes or so, and then says he's sorry but there's not much he can do - the entire Riviera deck was flooded yesterday by a burst pipe, which is causing the sewer smell in both the hallway and possibly the smell in my stateroom bathroom, too. Basically, I'm out of luck. I appreciated the honesty, because this was the first time someone had the decency to actually explain to me what the TRUE situation was.

A simple letter of apology or acknowledgement from Princess would've gone a long way here. "Hey, sorry the hallway is flooded and smells like a sewer and we did nothing to warn you", or "hey, sorry to wake you up from a sound sleep at 5:30am with an ear-splitting alarm that went off in dozens of rooms for 20+ minutes with zero explanation and no way to quickly turn off". Needless to say, this never happened.

In any event, I called guest services and told them that I wanted a new room on a different deck. They said the ship was filled to capacity but that they'd see what they could do and get back to me. I heard nothing back for several hours. It wasn't until I got my travel agent involved AND threatened to contest the entire cost of the cruise with my credit card company that guest services finally had someone up the chain reach back out to me.

I received a call a little later from Dean - the guest services director - and he was fantastic. I really need to give credit where credit is due here. I explained to him that pretty much every single thing about the cruise up until that point had been a complete nightmare, and that nobody on staff either seemed to care and/or had the ability to help me fix the problems I was having. I pretty much gave him a list of complaints and he immediately began addressing and trying to fix each one. It made all the difference in the world to me that he took my complaints seriously and actually worked to correct them. He even made me a complimentary reservation at Sabitini's that evening. Without my experience with Dean and his help resolving everything here, I doubt i'd ever be taking a Princess cruise again.

From this point on, some things improved and some didn't. I went to Sabitini's that evening and this was literally the highlight of the cruise. They were so welcoming and friendly - the level of service and quality were amazing. I wish the entire cruise was like this. It meant so much to me that they actually treated me like a guest, because for most of the cruise up until this point (and after it), I felt like just a number.

The ports of call and shore excursions were all excellent. Thank God for that because this helped the cruise not seem like a complete disaster. I did have some fun, at least. But overall, the negative experiences I had that first day or two of the cruise overshadowed the entire vacation, especially because many of them were never completely resolved. The hallway and bathroom continued to smell, it was difficult to get a human being on the phone when calling room service, the dining reservation line, or even the front desk, and the ship seemed very understaffed for the amount of guests on board.

With so many shortcomings during this cruise, I've been trying to put my finger on how things could've gone so noticeably downhill since my last Regal cruise this past March. My theory is that it all boils down to the Medallion system. It's obvious that Princess is eliminating staff and replacing them with a terribly inadequate and cumbersome system of online Medallion applications. What a huge mistake. Human beings should not be replaced by automation in an industry where the overall level of quality/satisfaction is so heavily determined by the level of care/attention you receive from actual humans. If I go to McDonald's, I don't care if the human interaction is replaced by a self-service kiosk. When I'm on a cruise, it's a completely different story. Not to mention the fact that the apps often don't work or drastically limit the number of things you can do/order compared to when you interact with an actual human staff member - which often necessitates an additional human interaction, anyway.

The few staff still employed seemed totally overwhelmed with the number of guests on board. They couldn't keep up, guests were getting frustrated, there were lines for almost everything, and the decreased morale was pretty apparent. it's a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.

I really hope someone high up at Princess reads this review. Some of the issues on this cruise might've been bad luck, but others were entirely preventable. A lot of it boils down to customer service. I've given Princess many thousands of dollars in business in the past year alone. Just because I'm on the younger side, and traveling solo, doesn't mean I should receive a lower level of service than an older couple or a family with kids - and that was the impression I got again and again on this cruise (as well as other Princess cruises I've taken). I guarantee you I'm contributing just as much to your bottom line as these people, if not more. Perhaps you should realize who your truly loyal customers are, and start treating them that way.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB
Bathroom smelled like urine. Smell came back even after being repeatedly bleached and scrubbed by the steward. This ship obviously has plumbing issues of some sort. Notice the brand new carpeting? Yeah - that's because the entire wing of the ship flooded.
Marina Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

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