(12:40 p.m. EDT) --
Princess Cruises is backpedaling slightly on its elimination of unlimited Internet access for suite passengers. Rather than refusing to grandfather in cruisers who had booked their suites prior to the change (as the line had originally intended to do), Princess will honor the offer of unlimited Internet to all suite passengers who booked before July 15, 2012.
The change to the suite amenities came in late June when Princess quietly pulled the plug on its unlimited Internet amenity for suite passengers. In its place, the line now offers complimentary specialty dining on embarkation day. The line didn't tell its currently booked suite passengers or travel agents about the changes; it just updated the amenity list and took away the Internet.
Cruisers -- like Cruise Critic member jmcross, who first discovered she wouldn't be getting free Internet while browsing the Princess Web site -- only became aware as they began planning their already-paid-for cruises.
She posted her knowledge on
Cruise Critic, adding that she'd confirmed the change with Princess and been told no one would be grandfathered in.
A little less than a week later, however, Princess went back on the decision not to grandfather already-booked passengers. "We will honor the suite Internet benefits for passengers who booked their suite prior to July 15, 2012," Karen Candy, a Princess spokesperson told Cruise Critic. "Once onboard, suite guests who wish to use the Internet can let the Passenger Services Desk know that they'd like their Internet refunded."
Passengers weren't the only ones left out of the communication loop. Chuck Flagg, a Princess Cruises specialist and owner of The Flagg Agency, told Cruise Critic Princess had never communicated anything to him about the changes either.
Princess admitted to Cruise Critic that Princess didn't "properly" communicate the modifications to the amenities list. "We apologize that this information wasn't properly communicated in advance, and we will shortly be in touch with passengers who booked a suite prior to the change and plan to use the Internet onboard," Candy said.
She also told Cruise Critic that the line was forced to remove the unlimited Internet access -- both Wi-Fi and in the Internet cafe -- due to bandwidth constraints.
"We apologize for any disappointment caused by the removal of the unlimited Internet access for our suite passengers effective the end of June," Candy told Cruise Critic. "While we don't wish to take away existing benefits, the limitations on shipboard bandwidth prompted our decision."
The line would not clarify what was responsible for the "bandwidth limitations," though some Cruise Critic members posited that some people may be abusing the perk by offering their unlimited-access codes to non-suite passengers.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor