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-   -   Beware Norovirus epidemic on Crown Princess! (https://www.fodors.com/community/cruises/beware-norovirus-epidemic-on-crown-princess-916094/)

LBloom Dec 26th, 2011 07:36 AM

Beware Norovirus epidemic on Crown Princess!
 
We just returned from the 12-17 to 12-24 sailing of the Crown Princess to Bahamas, Curacao and Aruba. While I am exhausted from the trip, I felt it necessary to at least report the norovirus epidemic on the ship and warn any future sailors. The sailing we experienced was NOT the first norovirus outbreak, in fact in doing a little research, there have been several reports. We were NOT notified by email in advance as the Princess cruise line claimed. In searching Cruise Crtiic, one report so far, but I am sure there will be many others. So many disappointed people on this ship, it was really sad!

We arrived at Port Everglades at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday Dec 17, as we usually like to eat lunch on the ship when taking a cruise. The first sign of disaster was when our driver was told to take us to a convention center nearby and that we would NOT be boarding the cruise ship on time. My mother, who is 82, requested a wheel chair at the convention center, and this was a smart move for us. As we needed lunch, inquiries were made about food. The cruise line knew several days in advance that our sailing would be delayed, and that more than likely, many people would need lunch. They "graciously" provided us with free coffee, water and Crystal Light. There was a grill preparing sandwiches, for purchase ($16 for 2 horrible cheeseburgers, not much choice). The money was bad enough, but I had to wait 30 minutes in line to purchase sandwiches! The grill people were clearly overwhelmed, there weren't enough personnel and the cooks were not prepared to serve so many people. Very disorganized! My mother was frantic with worry that I had disappeared. The "convention center" waiting room reminded me of a large inner city gymnasium or more like the reception center at Ellis Island for many of our ancestors!
There was little information disseminated, merely that the ship was going through a good disenfectanct and we would be put on board after. Finally, around 3:00 p.m. we were taken on buses and told to make our way onto the ship. Overall, the embarkation process was disorganized and not enough personnel was present. The Crown Princess holds 3,400 passengers. Perhaps not all of them showed up at the Convention Center, but an awful lot did. What a way to start a relaxing vacation.

Due to the norovirus epidemic, the buffets were altered. Instead of being able to help yourself to food, servers gave you portions. The lines were long. The good news is that the ship had Purell alcohol dispensers in front of every food outlet and people were made aware of the necessity to wash your hands frequently and use the hand sanitizers.

For the first dinner Saturday night, the dining room was extremely slow and servers were clearly not familiar with the new regulations. We did not eat but one meal at a buffet for fear of the virus and took the majority of our meals in the dining room or via room service on our balcony. Our rationale was that the less people handling our food, the better. The tables lacked salt and pepper shakers, due to the fear of contamination and paper packets were dispensed. The waiters had to serve you cream/milk, sugar/sweetner, again for the same reasons. We had Anytime Dining, which actually worked out well. It allowed us to meet lots of new people and we sure had a lot to talk about with the things going on shipboard.

More to come, but wanted to begin this topic to make other future sailors aware of the virus.

Aristotle Dec 26th, 2011 08:06 AM

The risk of a norovirus outbreak is present on any ship on any sailing. It really is a risk on any cruise, or actually being present in any crowd. Presumably the line will disinfect the ship after an outbreak.

Percy Dec 26th, 2011 10:31 AM

It is a tough break to get a Norovirus ( or any virus ) infection on a cruise ship.

I am sure the ship took what precautions were needed.

Cannot think of a cruise ship wanting their passengers to get sick..that is really not good for advertising !

If the ship knew days in advance they should have e-mailed you.

Delaying your boarding and then selling you $ 8.00 cheesburgers , is poor PR on their part.

Too bad there is no treatment for this virus.. except fluid intake, hand washing and resting.

Also you do not have immunity for the next Norovirus encounter.

The fact that the illness is self- limiting is little comfort when you are on holidays and sick

( When I go on a cruise , I always hope , that no viral break-out occurs).

Hope the rest of your trip has a happy ending

jacketwatch Dec 26th, 2011 11:12 AM

Well we both became ill form NV on the celebrity Constellation not too long ago. This marked the 2nd consecutive outbreak on this ship. We too were delayed from boarding and also saw the extra burden the serving staff had to go through which i think was well done BTW.


Its unfortunate but its also a risk you should know about as it can happen on any ship. I assume you dod not become ill. That is good. Too bad a bout the inconveiniences but at least you kept your head out of the toilet. :D

Maudie Dec 26th, 2011 05:10 PM

I caught NV on one of the Hurtigruten ships in 2008, the staff did their best under trying circumstances but we were basically ignored for the confinement. Weird as I was fine after a good nights sleep and my DH didn't catch it at all. Last year we did a 21 day Pacific crossing on the Oriana and not a sign of NV - what a relief!!!

I do hope your cruise improved.

Sassafrass Dec 26th, 2011 09:11 PM

I hope their precautions worked and passengers on CP did not get sick. Unless they have extra people who are already trained, I don't see how they could do much better, except that food should be free. If they know far enough ahead, they could set up food, but they don't want to do a buffet under those conditions, and create more possibility of illness.

I was on the same cruise as Jacket. We went through similar things before boarding, except they were not selling anything. While it wasn't fun, I was glad they were trying to prevent more illness. Luckily, DH and I did not get sick, but we took every precaution possible, and we were not on any of the ship's tours. The crew on the Constellation were so obviously overworked trying to serve everybody individually, even at the buffet. They really did their best. I read on cruise critic though that they had even more sickness on the cruise after ours. Really bad for everybody, but I don't see how anything more could be done on the ship.

If the company knows ahead that the problem is severe, they should notify passengers so they could have the option earlier of changing dates/cruises.

Constellation did make an announcement that any passengers who wished to cancel the cruise would be allowed to do so and money refunded or applied to a future cruise. In hind sight, I might have done that and stayed in Istanbul the whole time, not because of the virus, but because I loved the time in Istanbul so much after the cruise.

jacketwatch Dec 27th, 2011 12:19 AM

Sass when did they make that announcement? I did not hear it. Anyway how are you? Dinner with you and the dogster was the onboard highlight of the ship for us. it sure was fun :-)

dogster1 Dec 27th, 2011 01:03 AM

Yup, I didn't hear that either jacket - although I do remember something about 'if you're ill, perhaps you should consider deferring your sailing...' stuff. I did see a lady exiting before she'd even begun.

Sass is right - it was a bit of a disappointment: not really the cruise I <i>thought</i> I had bought - apart from meeting y'all. That was great.

Of course, immediately after meeting <i>me</i>, jactet fell ill. Do you think there's a lesson there?

qwovadis Dec 27th, 2011 04:23 AM

Don't risk spoiling your cruise vacation with an unexpected illness. Follow these tips for a safe and healthy cruise vacation.www.cdc.gov/Features/CruiseShipTravel

Good info Norovirus can be a big time short term problem.

LBloom Dec 27th, 2011 04:51 AM

The issue of NV is a risk you encounter on a cruise ship. What upsets me, and makes me not want to sail on Princess again, is their response to the outbreak and their handling of ill passengers. As I was tired yesterday, I couldn't complete the trip report..

We encountered a toilet that literally exploded on the 3rd day of the cruise. In an attempt to stop the flowing dirty water, I knocked over a bottle of nail polish in the bathroom, which cracked and cut my finger badly. In response to our call, the maintenace person fixed the toilet but kept muttering about how we would be held responsible for the stain the nail polish caused on the bathroom floor (ultimately this did not happen, but only after an argument). No inquiry was made about my bad cut nor an offer to see the ship's DR (for free, only a hefty $50 fee). I disinfected it myself and taped it up with supplies I had with me. This lack of passenger concern on the ship's staff seemed a theme on this ship.

We had very bad weather, which is not the fault of the ship, but again their response to passengers is the key. My mother became very seasick after midnight on the 4th day, we had gale force winds and the ship literally knocked us out of our beds. I called Passenger Services to see if someone could deliver some Dramamine to our cabin. Granted this was past midnight, but staff work 24X7 and someone should have been available. The woman who answered the phone was blatant about not being able to help us. I asked for her manager/supervisor and reached a man who hemmed and hawed. Finally, I asked where we could get some relief at this hour. The "hidden agenda" item they did not reveal so easily is that they wanted $3.50 for the Dramamine and we would need to pay for it. Aside from it being ridiculous, I told him to deliver the Dramamine. My mother almost instantly felt better and went back to bed without further incident. Surely we were not the only people out of 3,400 passengers to feel the effects of the storm.

The one and only time we ventured to the Horizon Court buffet, we shared a table with a woman who seemed very nice. Upon conversing with her, we discovered she was traveling with several sons/daughters and grandchildren. Three of whom were isolated/confined for the NV! Not only that but she shared that they had snuck one of the grandchildren out of the cabin before the confinement period was over! OMG, we had lunch with Typhoid Mary!

We actually witnessed a couple of people heaving during a demonstration in the 3 story Atrium. The crew who came to clean up had masks and gloves - what about the rest of us?

jacketwatch Dec 27th, 2011 05:40 AM

Too bad you had such a bad time.

I think it is up to you to see the MD about your cut. Don't expect a maintenance man to give medical advice.

The price for the dramamine seems reasonable. I would not expect it to be free. We once had to see the ships MD as my wife became ill due to mal de mer and it was after hrs. We went and were charged a fee but thats to be expected. She did well and the MD was professional. This was on the Tahitian Princess BTW.

That woman is to blame for letting her kids out B4 the confinement period was over.

I wonder why people were out watching a demo while they were sick? I had NV on the Connie and didn't feel like leaving my bed. NV is very difficult to contain. The clean up crew were wearing appropriate PPE and as its transmitted via airborne routes as well as contact masks at that point were too late.

Honestly I think you should be disappointed but to me you are stretching things a bit. As you are so disappointed you should try a different cruise line if you decide to cruise at all again. Good luck. JM2C. Larry

jacketwatch Dec 27th, 2011 05:41 AM

I should say mask were too late for the people exposed in the atrium area.

shergriff Dec 27th, 2011 02:28 PM

I was on the same cruise. We did get an email. I did get norovirus. We were told we would have to pay for the visit from the nurse, laundry would be free and I was confined to the stateroom for 48+ hours. Nurse visit was not on bill laundry was. Wanted bottled water ($3/bottle)was told I had to pay for it. I refused and after the frustration of saying this is not my fault they gave me bottled water. We missed the first port. No one acknowledged our inconvience. We were told if we didn't report many others potentially could be infected. Not A"Thank you for reporting this, we understand the inconvenience this has caused." Flowers would have been nice to make the room more cheery or they could have waived the cover charge for a premium restaurant for one meal for my husband and me. Nothing! Illness happens. I understand that poor treatment is not understandable. I've taken 10+ cruises and have never been ill or treated so poorly. This was my first and last on Princess because of the passenger service.

LBloom Dec 28th, 2011 05:40 AM

Sher, so sorry to hear about your experience. Yes, the passenger service was poor. In your case, as you actually suffered from NV, I would think you should get a refund or something tangible in return for your experience. We spoke to many passengers who said this would be their last trip on Princess as a result of the customer service. The virus is a risk, but their poor response is what I and others object to. Thankfully, you are feeling better.

jacketwatch Dec 28th, 2011 12:06 PM

Well if its any consolation don't take Celebrity either. Their response was similar though honestly I did not expect any special treatment. NV is a risk and i don't see it as the fault of the cruise line. They did all they could to prevent it as did the Princess crew apparently with all the extra cleaning and food handling precautions. Did you ever think of the burden this put on them?

Another example is this. We were to port in Ashdod for two days but could not b/c the port closed due to rocket attacks from Gaza. Thus we had to port in Haifa instead for those two days. As we booked private tours and as gas is about $10.00 per gal. in Israel and as out two days for the Ashdod area tours (Jrusalem, the Dead Sea and Masada)now had to commence from way up north in Haifa we had to pay for the extra gas charges which for two days came to about $500.00. Was it the fault of the tour guide? No. Was it my fault? No. Since I can't bill the Palestinains in Gaza I had to pay. Too bad but sometimes things happen and you just deal with it ansd move on. Somedays you're the lawnmower, sometimes you're the grass.

My only complaints were inre to a special food request we had which Celebrity really botched. I wrote a letter about both thegood and the bad. They replied and I got a future cruise credit. This they could have contriolled and did not. Can't say the same for the NV.

Bottom line. vacations should be fun but if you travel enough sooner or later things happen which you don't want to happen. Just like life.

dogster Dec 29th, 2011 01:16 AM

Great response, jacket. My eyes are still rolling from these amazing posts. Unfortunately, the rules of Fodors mean that I can't say what I think. So I hope there's more to come on this great topic. It's like a glimpse into another world.

Tennisjnky Dec 29th, 2011 02:22 AM

We were on the same 12/17 Crown Princess cruise with the norovirus outbreak. I, too, was disturbed that Princess made no attempt to notify us about the delayed boarding, or the previous week's norovirus outbreak prior to the trip. Princess requires tons of contact information on each passenger, so they could have easily notified us, if they had tried.

jacketwatch Dec 29th, 2011 05:38 AM

I wonder when first of all they found out about the delay in boarding. Secondly if you were informed before hand about the NV on the previous cruise and you had cancelled do you think you would get a refund on short notice as this? If you read the contract you would not be entitled to anything at this point. So what would you have done? If you had private insurance which had, and not all have, a cancel for any reason clause then OK. IME this costs more and must be purchased well ahead of time. You might want to think about this if there is a next time. Cheers. Larry :-)

LBloom Dec 29th, 2011 05:57 AM

Larry/Jacket, you fail to see the point. The cruise ship's passenger service REACTION is what I blame. Glad they took lots of precaustions, especially glad we didn't become sick. But their lack of concern about passenger's comforts or notifying people when they knew in advance 3 days prior. The issue is THEY LIED! They claimed to have out a mysterious email which amazingly not one of the many 3,400 passengers received.

Stuff does happen and I have provided Princess with feedback. I can't fault them for the virus or the lousy weather or the ship roiling in gale force winds and 20 feet waves. BUT, I can take them to task for their reaction.

connie9080 Dec 29th, 2011 06:01 AM

We too were on the Dec 17-24 Crown Princess cruise. Fortunately no one in our party of 8 had NV. However, there were "hit squads" all over the boat with biohazard bags, people vomiting in elevators/nightclubs and barf bags available everywhere. The staff attitude was good, esp with the consideration of all the extra work they had to do. The cruise environment was just "not there", as buffets were crowded with diners and staff serving butter, pepper, rolls, etc. We had traditional dinner seating and our waiter worked hard to make this a good experience. By the end of the cruise, two of us were suffering daily asthma attacks because of the excessive use of chemicals everywhere.

I will not sail with Princess again soon. We ordered bathrobes in advance and finally received them after 3 days and 3 inquiries. Fruit, ordered three times, was only delivered to the room once after two inquiries. At no time during the embarkation wait (ours was 4 1/2 hours) did staff visit with guests or make lucid announcements via PA system. Some people received sheets of paper explaining the delay, we did not. We did not get an email in advance of sailing to explain the changes to the embarkation process. Princess could have provided some food/entertainment while their passengers waited.

I just feel the treatment of passengers was shoddy, not by the staff on board as much as the cruise line itself. If this is the treatment I can expect on Princess, I will sail with a different line.

jacketwatch Dec 29th, 2011 06:34 AM

One thing for cartainis this topic is drawing in a lot of 1st time poster.s

Lbloom. I think you have some good points but also I think as stated you stretched a few things quite a bit as have others who no doubt expected a lot due to these inconveniences. Well you can't anticipate the personal needs bsed on this of so many. No one can. Bottom line is folks were really put out but be reasonable inre to what the cruise line could have done. Fresh flowers? Maybe they were too busy cleaning.

jacketwatch Dec 29th, 2011 07:05 AM

Well dogster looks like you are getting your wish granted. :D I really don't mean to minimize anyone's disappointment. However we too had NV on our last cruise and we both got it. Our responses are no where near what I have read here. You can read my TR to see if you like. For me its a matter of perspective.

We were once on a Princess cruise to Alaska and due to ship conjestion had to tender into Juneau as all the slots were taken. This was unanticipated and let me tell you I thought princess could have done way better in terms of organizing the tender allocation process. Now much of the chaios was b/c many passengers had scheduled private excursions and were in jeopardy fo lsoing their money if they could not exit in time. I heard plent. One guy even said he was going to tell all his friends not to use Princess. Like that would help.


Well we have taken Princess 3 times since then w/o a glitch. If you read my TR you will see the issue we had with the special food request my wife had which has been met satisfactorily on all the other cruises, 8 in all prior to this, that we have been on. The best cruise line to eet this request. Princess by a landslide. Our Alaskan crusie with Princess was our first with them BTW and there ahve been 3 more since then. If we nixed them from our choices b/c of the incident in Juneau we would have missed out on three other wonderful cruises. Like I said its a matter of perspective. Thats my point. JM2C.

dogster Dec 29th, 2011 09:12 AM

Alas, jacket - I fear reason has no part in this discussion. Well, actually, it isn't a discussion, is it? More a series of speeches. This topic has nothing whatsoever to do with 'warning' prospective customers - this is pure pay-back.

Here's more:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1535569

but that's all. For a ship with 3,400 traumatised passengers I'd expect a lot, lot more - but then, probably, this is quite enough.

jacketwatch Dec 29th, 2011 09:20 AM

Buddy this is too correct. I was about to post a sort of Pontius Pilot. :D I hear ya. As the old monk said in the TV series "Kung Fu" when Cain was able (no pun intened:D) to snatch the pebble from his hand, "time to go." Thus the journey began. :-) I wonder if anyone remembers this. Or should they. Some neat trivia I think. :S-

Eschew Dec 29th, 2011 01:08 PM

You can get NV anywhere, example: a college campus, a resort, etc. Any time you have lots of people gathered together, and personal hygiene were not attended to, tehre is a risk of outbreak.

Wash hands often, don't touch anything potentially dangerous (public washroom door handles, railings on stair cases etc). I always dry my hands with paper towel and I use the paper towel to open teh door, not touching the dirty door handle with my clean hand.

Precautions, precautions, orecautions.

jacketwatch Dec 29th, 2011 02:33 PM

BTW if you read what I said I did get NV.

jacketwatch Dec 29th, 2011 03:13 PM

One more thing. If you did read anything I said I did find fault or more aptly found areas that could have been better. And I did note them and point them out and did end up with a satisfactory reply. What I did not do was try to lampoon the cruise line over imperfections. Life isn't perfect. We all are entitled to our opinions dear. When you post them on the www you should, I think expect a difference of opinion and be tolerant. You can't expect everyone to agree with you and get so obviously frustrated if some do. I have an opinion too and have tried to express it w/o getting personal. Unlike you.

That thing about John Carradine is really weird to me but hey, its your opinion.

My last words are (I think) klatu barada nicto. :D

BjorkChop Dec 29th, 2011 05:03 PM

Close enough jacketwatch, what could possibly go wrong?

dogster Dec 30th, 2011 12:48 AM

Awww - I missed the deleted comment. No fun. The personal and abusive posts are always the best.

jacketwatch Dec 30th, 2011 03:52 AM

I could say but best leave it alone. BTW lest someone think the above is somehow profane see below :D
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaatu_barada_nikto

sideways721 Jan 3rd, 2012 09:55 AM

I was on the Crown Princess December 17th through 24th. I read LBloom's comments on December 25th when we returned home.
It has taken me some time to digest (no pun intended) what occurred before embarkation and during the cruise.

I agree with much of what LBloom commented about the pre embarkation situation. I thought exactly the same thing, we felt like passengers being processed at Ellis Island. Princess should have provided some entertainment and food while passengers waited 4 to 5 hours to board. We did NOT receive an email noting the norovirus outbreak. I feel that we should have been notified, and been allowed to rebook the cruise if we so desired. That is probably not normal booking protocol. I would have rebooked the cruise, because I had a stomach bug December 5th and was miserable for a few days. I really didn't think it through, and did not ask if we could rebook. We had two balcony cabins booked for ourselves and daughters.

So, as LBloom noted,embarkation was disorganized, crew looked exhausted, and dinner was extremely slow the first night. About 2 1/2 hours. Our waitresses were rude. Later in the cruise I requested another table. Service was better. We never ate at our assigned table again. The next morning we arrived to Princess Cays, Princess' private island. We slept in a bit and wanted to go around 11 a.m. Forget it. Line was an hour long trailing through the dining room, international cafe, and piazza area to get a ticket to then wait again for a tender. We were told a couple tenders were out of service. We did wait, although many couples and families did not. By the time we got to Princess Cays, we had a couple hours to enjoy the beach and sunshine.

I am prone to seasickness. On the tender back to the ship, there was the smell of fuel and some rocking up and down (normal stuff). I went to my cabin and was sick. As we were leaving Princess Cays, the captain announced that we would have rough seas ahead. My husband and I discussed whether I should get the seasick injection and maybe some pills. I decided to go to the Medical office (big mistake). I told them I had vomited in my room. I had no fever, and no diarrhea. I was told that if I had vomited more than once ( I told them it was one incident, maybe 3 times in a row...sorry to be so descriptive) that I needed to be quarantined for 48 hours. I couldn't believe it. The nurse said it was required, etc. Well, I argued, but knew it would do no good. I wanted to cry.I got an injection of phenergan. It made me drowsy and I did sleep early and watch a movie that night, while my husband and daughters enjoyed a nice dinner in the anytime dining room.

Luckily, we had a day at sea the next day. I received the medical bill the next morning and the diagnosis was acute gastroenteritis. I called and told them I had motion sickness. I was told if one vomited, it was "acute gastroenteritis." Now, get this. I could only order soup, or poached chicken, or salmon from room service. I called to order a club sandwich and was told "not doctor's recommendation." I felt fine! I told them the sandwich was for my husband. Of course my husband and daughters would have brought me pizza, or cheeseburger, or whatever I wanted if I asked. My daughers ordered cake and cookies one afternoon when we were at sea. We got a call in our stateroom (my husband answered the phone) asking if I had ordered this and it was not allowed! Can you imagine?? I was flabbergasted and infuriated. Well, my sentence was over about 3 p.m. when we got to Curacao. The room was thoroughly sanitized, all cups etc. were removed in red biohazard bags. My husband and daughters took a shore excursion and I met them afterwards.

Seas had been rough going to Curacao. I had no more episodes of seasickness. But, many people did. My husband heard the "buzz" on the ship. Ladies saying "did you hear about the two boys who can't leave their room? Emily is sick but she won't say anything or she will have to stay in her room." Etc. Etc. By the time we left Curacao we were told we would have gale force winds and 6 meter waves. There was a rush on bonine and acupressure bracelets for seasickness. Seasick bags were placed everywhere. People vomited. Were these people quarantined? I don't think so. Half the ship would have been in their rooms. Lucky for me, I got the last three bracelets. I never got seasick again,just the day of the tender. I was told by two crew members that the captain was "new" as the regular captain was on Holiday for that week, and that this captain always "raced" everywhere, had rough seas, etc. I found that strange that two crew members would make these remarks to me unsolicited. One was a lady in the gift shop, and one was our waiter at the Crown Grill.
Wouldn't it have been nice if Princess had waived our surcharge fee seeing that I had been quarantined for two days?

We have been on several cruises. Our Princess cruise to Alaska was great. No seasickness as the waters were cool. Great crew, service, etc. Princess couldn't do anything about rough seas, and rain at the ports, but service could have been improved in all areas. Many rude crew members, probably tired and overworked.

Purell was everywhere. Handwashing was emphasized. But, menus were used and handed to everyone. Also, the life jackets were used and handled, they hadn't been disinfected. I asked our steward about this. He told me the Aloha deck where we were located had been heavily hit the week before with the norovirus.

We were so excited for this Holiday cruise. A fun time planned before daughters go off to college. We are experienced travellers, not newbies, have lived in Europe and the Middle East, not complainers. This cruise was awful.
I don't know if I will ever cruise again because of this experience.

Sassafrass Jan 3rd, 2012 12:05 PM

How awful for you. What a crummy experience.

It was interesting what the crew said to you about the captain "racing" everywhere.

On one of our cruises with Crown Princess, the captain was extremely cautious and some passengers complained about delays. For example, we waited an hour in the harbor at Marseille for a storm to pass. A crew member told us passengers always coplained about that captain, but the captain said he had never lost a ship and did not intend to risk the lives of 5,000+ passengers and crew to try and out run a storm. I very much appreciated that.

He was always making announcements and kept everybody updated on everything going on and why. During that one cruise there was a report of a man overboard (not true but we were delayed while Coast Guard did a search), a person had a heart attack (we had to double back for a medical evacuation) and two passengers went missing, but were found a couple of hours later, plus delay due to the storm. We felt the captain was really in charge of and on top of everything. As a matter of fact, on four cruises so far, that is the only time we felt the captain was such an integral part of the experience. He actually made a difference in our cruise experience - much better because of him and his interaction with passengers.

We would love to be on a cruise with him again. He was also smart, funny and charming. Every crew member we spoke with seemed to know him quite well. They laughingly described some of their meetings with him, but they respected his knowledge and integrity. Even his name is great: Nick Nash - sounds like a name for the hero of a Harlequin Romance.

Would you share who your captain was? I might like to avoid a cruise with him.

sideways721 Jan 3rd, 2012 12:26 PM

Sassafrass, Nick Nash was our captain.
Local pilots were brought in to negotiate the ports. I don't know how much experience he has in the Caribbean. He did say the gale force winds were unusual. I certainly don't blame him for rough seas. We were about an hour late to Curacao.
He made announcements the day we left Princess Cays on way to Curacao that it would be rough (that was when I went to the Medical center) and when we left Aruba that it would be rough.
Other than that, he made an annoucement every day about norovirus and to continue hand washing.

He did seem to be a charming fellow at the Captain's cocktail party. The crew member's remarks were interesting in that they were unsolicited, and occurred after some signficant rocking of the vessel.

I forgot to mention that during the night on the sail to Curacao, my daughter was plopped out of the bed and hit her nose on the nightstand. Blood all over the comforter the next morning.For this, we probably should have went to Medical Center as a precaution. Her nose was broke last Summer when a boy smashed her nose when jumping off a trampoline. Captain Nash did warn everyone not to put their teeth in a glass of water next to them on the nightstand, as they may wake up to Jaws. Or thinking it was Jaws.

Sassafrass Jan 3rd, 2012 01:07 PM

Very funny that we had the same captain and such different impressions.

Captain Nash is one of the most experienced captains working for Princess and is certainly not new to Crown Princess. As a matter of fact, I think he is the main captain for that ship (at least nine months of the year). He may have been on leave and returned in an emergency, but from what I read about him he is probably the most qualified of anyone to sail Crown Princess. He is known for his knowledge of navigational techniques, studied at the Royal Navy School of Navagation and teaches. Port pilots are required in many ports around the world. Each one is the expert in that particular port, so that was normal.

It is still odd, the racing thing. I know reports were written about him when he refused to sail into some place in Alaska because iceburgs were too unpredictable in the area at the time, and he refused to dock in a port when he thought winds were too high to do it safely. I hope he isn't bowing to pressure to sail no matter what. I so appreciated his integrity in doing what he thought was best for our safety on our cruise, it would be sad to think that might have changed. I wonder if any of the "racing" was to avoid some storms or winds. I would like to think that.

It is an obvious bias on my part because he impressed me so much that after the cruise, I read everything I could find out about him, and was even more impressed.

Sassafrass Jan 3rd, 2012 01:42 PM

Sideways, wanted to add, your trip does sound really horrible. Everything came together to create a bad experience. From my limited experience, it seems cruises are more prone to that than other kinds of trips. When they are good, they are wonderful. When things go wrong, you are stuck. It sure wasn't great for many on our cruise to Israel.

jacketwatch Jan 3rd, 2012 02:23 PM

Wow Sass you are back with a fury. :D I see a lot of posts. Good to see you are posting again. BTW can you tell me what is the attraction in Cappodocia? Believe it or not we are thinking of returning to Turkey, loved it so much. Cheers, Larry ;-)

Sassafrass Jan 3rd, 2012 03:24 PM

Hi jacket,

I've been posting, but very lazy about a trip report - yours was so great! I promise to write one in the next couple of days. Don't want to hijack this one too much, but we loved Turkey also and would love to go back. Basically, Cappadocia is a unique landscape with incredible history and culture. You would especially love that part. I will write more in a report, but I am sure you would find the area very interesting because you like to learn about things in depth.

Sassafrass Jan 3rd, 2012 05:54 PM

Had time to think about it. Jacket, I hope Sideways did not think I was posting with "fury." I actually did think it was funny as in humorous that I was going on about how great the captain on our cruise was and asked who hers was and it was the same. It must be hard for a crew to get used to different captains, especially if they have very different personalities.

sideways721 Jan 3rd, 2012 06:41 PM

Hello again! Since Turkey was mentioned... we sailed on the MTS Oceanos ship run by Epirotiki Lines in the Summer of 1986. My husband and I sailed out of Athens to Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodos, and Ephesus. The Oceanos was definitely a 2 star or less in quality.

We were seated at the Captain's table for dinner the night we left Ephesus. Sometime after that, I saw the captain being interviewed on Nightline. He had abandoned ship with other crew when the ship sunk off Cape Horn. Many Dateline, 20/20 documentaries detailed this saga. In case you don't remember
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTS_Oceanos

Sassafrass, yes, interesting how people's experiences are different. I saw no "fury" in your post by the way. :) Yes, maybe Captain Nash was racing to beat the storm, maybe the crew didn't like him because he had different protocol, etc.
The crew members did behave as if he was the "substitute" for the regular Captain.

There was a death on the Crown Princess the week before our sailing. A man had eaten mussels on shore, and died of anaphylaxis a couple hours later on the ship. My daughter has severe tree nut, latex, and shellfish allergies. She carries an epipen at all times. I was surprised to hear that anaphylaxis can take that long to affect someone.

sideways721 Jan 3rd, 2012 06:43 PM

I also didn't intend to hijack the thread. Sorry.


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