The itinerary change from Grand Cayman to Playa del Carmen was a huge disappointment. The "Emergency Notification" we received said that based on "increased passenger satisfaction scores based on our recent itinerary changes, the decision has been made to enhance the itinerary for the remainder of the season." Having been on several cruises and to both locations, its a joke to think that Playa del Carmen is an "enhancement". Unfortunately for my wife, she has not been to Grand Cayman, but has been to the port of Playa del Carmen and agrees it has little to offer.
Given that our ship already
goes to two Mexican ports (Majahual and Cozumel), it hardly seems an "enhancement" to simply add another stretch of beach from the same coastline. Had we known that this was not in fact a Caribbean cruise, but instead was a Mexican cruise, we likely would not have paid over $5k for the same. This bait & switch was obviously known by Princess for some time, as a January 23, 2006 article referenced "technical problems" for Princess' change from Grand Cayman to the lesser port of Playa del Carmen (http://caymannetnews.com/2006/01/1013/closed.shtml
) while the story had changed a few weeks later and "weather" had purportedly become an issue by February 10, 2006 (http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=1512
). What would it have taken to let prospective customers know about this change before committing to a spring break trip?
When I spoke with a customer service representative on Saturday, the story continued to evolve, and I was told that the "port wasn't open" in Grand Cayman. When I inquired about the passenger satisfaction scores, the representative assured me that this too had been a factor in making the change. They first said they would send me the results of the "overwhelming response" in favor of Playa del Carmen (how this could be when the vacationers didn't go to Grand Cayman is beyond me), but then said this was confidential.
I have no problem changing a port for weather or security reasons, and have had the former happen before. However, in this case Princess should have made the change prospectively. The condescending attitude of the letters and e-mails I've received regarding the itinerary change--both the "we have the right to do it" and ludicrous/changing explanations (err
lies) are what are most upsetting.
This will definitely be my last Princess Cruise.