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Bad Experience Princess Cruises

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We took our third cruise aboard Princess and first in 6 years. Meanwhile, we have cruised Celebrity three times, NCL once and Seabourn once. Seabourn is an entirely different class than the others and there are not enough superlatives to describe that cruise (Mediterranean).

We have grown to expect a pleasant cruise with Princess with options to purchase luxury for those who wish to have it. By luxury I mean better wines and gourmet food items such as caviar. These items no longer exist and in fact, the entire Princess experience has dropped significantly. The food, which used to be very good, is now mediocre at best. Meat quality is poor, seafood is clearly frozen and fishy tasting and wines are low quality.

The service was spotty, with mostly good service, some excellent service and some poor service. In my book, anything less than excellent service demonstrates how well staff are trained, how well they are treated by Princess and how much they care about their customers. My family had two cabin attendants serving us in three cabins and one was excellent and one was good. Our regular dining room server was excellent, but in The Crown Grill, which is supposed to feature higher end service and food, the server and the service were mediocre at best. But the worst service was at the pools, where several of the attendants ranged from unfriendly to surly. When asked for towels or directions, more than once I got a stare like I had three heads.

But the most memorable (negative) experience occurred post cruise. My wife purchased a $150 spa treatment during the cruise. As usual, the therapist put on the hard sell for the (overpriced) products they sell and as usual, my wife bought some of them. When we got home she opened the 14.5 oz jar of Lime and Ginger Salt Glow she purchased for $45 and found that there was only about 7 oz of the product in the previously opened jar, PLUS the jar contained a human hair. To make matters worse, when we contacted Princess about this, rather than deal with the problem and accept responsibility for it, we received (two weeks later) a form letter informing us the on-board spa is independently run by Steiner Leisure Products in Florida and we were given their address in order for us to contact them. Excuse me, but we purchased this cruise, the spa package and the overpriced product from Princess, not from their supplier. It is not up to customers to deal with suppliers when products are purchased from a business. What if we had found a razor blade in a hamburger served on the ship? Would we have been referred to their meat supplier to pay for injuries caused by the food served by Princess?

Based on this experience and the fact there are alternatives in the same price range, we will not consider Princess for future cruises and suggest others consider our experience and make the same choice.

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  • Report Abuse

    Another first time poster and the only post .... I can bet you a nickle for a donut that the $45 Lime and Ginger Salt Glow is the only reason for the post.

    I want to know what the OP's definition of finer wine. We hardly see any really good wine on cruise ships. Even the luxury liners don't stock specialty wines, they stock the higher priced popular brands, which is a far cry from finer wine. They actually encourage you to bring your own and they will gladly charge you a corkage fee.

    Beluga caviar is selling currently about $100 US per ounce wholesale. So the expectation is that the ship will stock it just in case some passenger who cry foul over a cheap $45 jar of cream is going to pay a couple hundred bucks for a few spoonful of raw fish eggs.

    Our rules for cruising included one simple rule: do not take part in any activities that is not operated by the cruise line.
    The list includes spa (run by a third party), art auctions (another third party), shopping ashore (again, third party operators), photo sessions (third party operators sometimes) etc.

    The exception to the above rule is we take part occasionally on ship sponsored excursions where it makes sense, despite the fact that they are operated by, again, a third party.

    There is a difference between suppliers and third party operators. The cruise lines don't want to take responsibility for third party operator issues in fear of liability issues.

    Where the cruise lines failed was they do not "advertise" clearly to passengers what services are operated by a third party and who those third party are so that the passengers can make an informed decision. The information is out there, in fine print and well hidden.

  • Report Abuse

    Sometime first time posters have legitimate complaints. There seems to be a knee jerk response to complaints from certain posters. My personal experience is that cruise lines are reducing their quality and services. And they seems to hold all the cards. The message seems to be - don't complain.

  • Report Abuse

    Everyone is entited to their opinion and vent. Everyone else are also entitled to choose to belief or not belief OP's complaint, and decide if the complaint is legit and respond.

    The complaint seems to be the third party vendor issue which is legit and reasonable. However, using "razor blade in the burger" as a similar example actually makes the complaint less legit in my mind as it is two totally different situation, and not comparable.

    The complaint of a lack of finer wines and caviar to illustrate the point that quality has gone down hill also did not resonate well. Mass market cruise ships seldom stock or serve those products, if at all.

    Princess uses "roe" regularly on their food presentation and I have seen judicious use of "caviar like fish eggs" (definitely not Beluga) at their by invitation only fine wine tasting: for a fee, of course, and it was around $30 to $35 per person and you sample 6 different wines, about 1.5 oz per serving, which I thought was quite reasonable based on the wine selection.

    The issue for the OP was the $45 jar and it was half empty and appeared use when they got it home. Princess is giving everyone the run around because it is a third party vendor and they will not take responsibility. It seems legit. The first question I would ask is did someone actually looked at the jar when it was bought and not realized it was used and half empty?

    I think it is a legit complaint if the OP sticks to the issue of Princess not helping to resolve the third party vendor issue. That would be poor customer service on Princess and most would agree. But I failed to see the value of "piling on", dragging other things in to illustrate the point of poor service, or quality.

    To make a complaint on poor service and lower quality in a general statement about a cruise line without naming a ship, a port, a date makes the complaint seems less legitimate. That, of course, is only my personal opinion.

    I wonder how charitable people would be if I complaint about the lack of quality food, poor service and uncomfortable seat on a flight and I totally slam the airline from the booking process to having to wait in line to board the plane. But I didn't give any info on a flight number or route, time of day, or the airport and I am a frequent flyer, even paying top dollars for first class at times, and the airline failed to listen to my complaint or do anything about the duty free liquor that I bought at the airport, and the bottle was half empty when I got home! :D

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