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Old June 18th, 2002, 09:21 AM
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Default Princess public relations disaster - Alaska

Just returned today from an involuntarily shortened (by Princess) Alaska cruisetour on the Sun Princess. Passengers who saw the doctor for g.i. issues -- not passengers actually diagnosed or even *tested* -- had their confidential info given to the tour staff, who then prevented them from taking their booked and paid for land portions. Approx. 40 people and their travelling companions were affected. One woman who did no more than ask for kaopectate was bumped.

Note -- the concern here was neither public health nor the well being of the passengers. It was instead, self-interest for *Princess.* Passengers already flying out were permitted to leave -- on jets with closed circulation systems. Passengers were permitted to dine and mingle with each other freely. Princess prevented only *its own* land passengers from travelling.
Princess's handling of the issue was without tact or class. On the final night of the cruise, passengers returned to their cabins after dinner to find their luggage retagged or removed and no explanation forthcoming. Later, the purser's staff simply told them they were receiving alternative transportation. Still later, passengers received a form letter "offering" to send them to Anchorage -- not why most of us would go to Alaska -- and possibly rejoin the land portions later.


Unfortunately, most people meekly complied. I'm a trial lawyer. I did not. I gave Princess two choices -- send us on the land tour we had already paid for, and for which we held tickets, or refund *everything.* They actually suggested that I should pay for a tour they would not permit me to take. Let's simply say that some assertive behavior -- in public, so that others could see what the line was doing to its passengers -- reminding them of whose money it was and a flat refusal to disembark until they solved the problem eventually nudged them to make the right decision. i give kudos to the head purser for working with me to persuade the beancounters that cancelling people's vacations was not a shrewd way to build brand loyalty.

Scott Greenwood

Cincinnati
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Old June 18th, 2002, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Princess public relations disaster - Alaska

Scott... I'm sure after the outbreak of the virus on the Ocean Princess Princess was concerned about a similar spread developing from the Sun on the land portion. It doesn't sound like they handled it well.

Though if they had legitimate concerns of health issues, I'm really not sure how they could have best handled it. When situations arise, alot of the time they are just flying by the seat of their pants, with the decision making process changing as it plays out.

To clarify... are you saying that Princess was not refunding the cost of the land tours to those who they refused to let go?

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Old June 18th, 2002, 05:01 PM
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Default Re: Princess public relations disaster - Alaska

They could have handled this much better. Had it been a public health issue, Princess would have tried to restrict people flying, disembarking for private trips, etc. But they did not -- they only waylaid plans for their own land passengers. Their doctor breached patient confidentiality.

Princess's "offer" to "allow" land passengers to stew in Anchorage was worthless. to the best of my knowledge, I was the only passenger given a refund, and not without a fiht.

Scott

Cincinnati
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Old June 19th, 2002, 08:36 AM
David Starkey
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Default Re: Re: Princess public relations disaster - Alaska

Scott ..this story sounds like a rerun of my Regal experience 4 years ago in Alaska. The only difference then was hundreds of passengers and crew were ill and the Canadian govt stepped in and prevented Princess from taking on new passengers in Vancouver until the ship cleared Canadian health officials. ....So what has Princess learned by the experience of 4 years ago.....NOTHING......beancounters win again......passengers.....who gives a crap.(not Princess)
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Old June 19th, 2002, 11:22 AM
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Default Re: Princess public relations disaster - Alaska

David,

The sad thing is that Princess handled all other aspects of the cruise brilliantly. We had a terrific time, great service, etc. They would have had a brand-loyal customer for life. Instead, they have a disillusioned cynic unlikely to vacation with them again.

The reality is that flu, and other medical conditions, are more likely to spread in close conditions, such as cruise chips, than on land. OK, they should know that. Why, then, can't they come up with a reasonable way of dealing with it that doesn't destroy whatever goodwill they've built with passengers?

Scott
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Old June 19th, 2002, 02:15 PM
MeandMySearchEngine
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Default Re: Princess public relations disaster - Alaska

Nevermind that this virus is (rarely) going to be transmitted from passenger to passenger, but rather from food handlers to food to individuals. Here's the CDC information on Norwalk virus:

http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/fact/norwalkv.htm
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Old June 20th, 2002, 09:29 AM
David Starkey
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Default Re: Re: Princess public relations disaster - Alaska

Thanks MeandMySerchEngine....I suspect Princess has an infected food handeler, because I do not eat oysters nor had I had shell fish on board the Regal. To me the the serious issue is that 4 years later Princess has still not found the person(s) or food handeling procedure that has allowed this problem to continue.. It does not speak well for the sanitation or food handeling issue aboard some of their vessels. Every crew member needs to be tested and then the kichen needs a "real "sanitizing".
I am very concerned that management at Princess doent take this issue seriously. Let me tell you, had one of the executives been sailing aboard and he/she got the virus something would have been done and I would not be writting this comment.
This situation prevents me from sailing Princess because they do not "solve" the problem....Four years is a long time to let this go on....
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Old July 8th, 2002, 09:22 AM
Richard O'Neal
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Default Re: Princess public relations disaster - Alaska

The more I hear about Princess Cruises to Alaska the more problems I hear...Thank Goodness for this man who stood up for what is right.....Princess Cruises seem to be a heartless money grabbing bunch of people who we will see on TV soon for their involvement in another corporate scandal....
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