We took the August 17 (Baltic) and August 27 (Transatlantic) cruises on the Grand Princess. When we tried to access this chat board onboard, we got a message on the screen telling us that Princess blocked access to this website.
This seems especially odd since the comments on this chat board have been so positive about Princess. It had certainly helped us to enjoy our cruises better (we accessed from home before the trip). In particular, it helped us identify the head waiter Oscar in the da Vinci room who took exceptionally good care of us during our cruises.
We would have liked to provide ongoing information during the cruise, but that was impossible due to Princess' blocking the site onboard.
We wonder why Princess does this. Is it to prevent crew members as well as onboard passengers from identifying other gay people onboard? This seems unlikely, since we did have regular meetings for the Friends of Dorothy, with one meeting sponsored by the cruise director and with free champagne. The sponsored meeting was hosted by a dancer Lawrence in the shows onboard.
Anyway, everyone seemed to have a Grand old time, except for disembarkation in New York, which was chaos, complete chaos. At least hundreds of people had to get hotel rooms near their New York area airports and then rebook their flights. (Princess has not picked up the tab for the hotel rooms.) The Princess staff on shore was hardly present and not at all helpful. Some people with walkers and canes could not get porters to help them with their luggage. It was a near-panic situation. Apparently, the embarkation/disembarkation staff has not learned a thing from the excursion staff, who have made a science out of loading and unloading buses.
Needless to say, the airports and the hotels were full of people on Sunday night complaining about how Princess had just dumped them on the pier. We will be asking for compensation ourselves, but our agent says not to expect payment for several weeks.
We can attest to this chaos experienced on the New York pier for we too arrived home with frayed nerves and a day late. I would hate to experience the response of Princess to an abandon ship order if this was their idea of a standard disembarkation action. It is unfortunate that the final unpleasant and chaotic moments of a cruise can ruin the overall memory of same. But there was one person aboard, the pleasant memories of whom more than offset this Fellini like handling of humanity
For those of you who have experienced the marvelous attention afforded us by the fabulous Oscar, Maitre d’ aboard the Grand Princess, it will come as no surprise to hear just how he handled his “family” aboard the Grand on our B2B cruise, firstly, “Baltic/Russia” followed by the “Lands”; Eng, Ire, Scot, Ice, Green and Newfound and into New York. To be ushered into the De Vinci dinning room following Oscar’s raised hand, singing “We Are Fam-il-y” is one thing but to be treated as just that, his family, was a wonderful experience to be long remembered.
The sad news is that Oscar will be away from the Grand until November but even more so is the news that he will return in a different capacity in his upward move in management.
Memories of the New York debacle apart, for the many of us who were attendees at the daily FOD gatherings aboard the Grand (and those many others who for whatever reasons watched from afar) we wish Oscar all the best in his career and thank him for his friendship and the wonderful attention paid to us. He added so much to our enjoyment of the cruises. We can only hope our paths will cross again soon.
Hi guys, after reading your synopsis and comments of our cruise, I have to agree with you. It was utter chaos and disorganization at disembarkment. Hope you are now fine. We have just booked another cruise to South America leaving Rio on Nov. 11 for a 17 days cruise around parts of South America on Holland America. It was good meeting you both and it made our trip that much more enjoyable knowing that every evening we would all get together and spend some time. Maybe one of these days we can all do it again. Best regards, jane and cindy
Yes, good to hear from you again so soon! Let's stay in touch. Maybe we'll meet on another cruise. We're talking to our travel agent--looking at Oceania Cruises this time (want to get away from lines owned by Carnival), but we probably won't make any definite plans for a while.