We had a fantastic experience with food and service on the Golden Princess. Embarkation (being Platinum) was a dream. We were onboard within 10 minutes of arriving.
We did have an awful problem disembarking. Princess really needs to review their procedures.
Since the ship left Ft. Lauderdale, we made our own private plane reservations. We did NOT book the ship's transportation or transfers. We paid $10 cab fare to/from the ship and the airport.
All our preboarding information was entered online thru the Princess web site.
The problem is that Princess does not pay any attention to INDEPENDENT TRAVEL when they distribute the luggage stickers for customs/immigration.
We received a purple luggage sticker (because we were on the Baja Deck). They paid NO attention to the fact that we had a 9:55AM flight even though they had that information well in advance of our boarding.
We went to the purser's desk to get a new RED luggage sticker and we were assigned RED 5. They asked to see our tickets, so I assume that saw a very tight airline booking. RED 5 means that RED 1 thru 4 must depart before RED 5 is called. All the folks with RED 1-4 had arranged Princess transfers (Princess transportation). Independent travel was ignored as well as our Platinum status.
I think that being a Platnium Princess Circle member, that we should have been considered for our early flight (which we barely made since the ship was released after 8:30AM).
Platinum Status and plane schedules should be considered for independent travelers. Princess needs to review their policy. I don't know what would have happened if we had missed our flight.
We cruised on the Golden around this time last year and had some problems with disembarkation too, similar to yours. Was this your first cruise? I'm sorry that someone, such as a travel agent, had not told you that you should never book a flight that leaves earlier than say 11:30 or 12:00 from any cruise. There are just too many factors that could delay your leaving the ship. If you do not book the flight through the cruise line, they have no obligation to compensate you in anyway for a missed flight. You would have been out of luck, unless the airline would helped you out. I guess that depends on the type of air fare you had purchased.
I have only been on 1 cruise but I agree that you really booked too early of a flight. While we are booking our own airfare too, we are doing the Princess transfers, I've been told it's worth the extra change.
Also, I think that your "Platinum" status shouldn't matter...sorry but everyone deserves as easy a disembarkation process as another. We too will be on the Baja deck in May and I'm sure it's not going to make a difference to the cruise line when they let us get off.
I understand, but boarding a plane and boarding a SHIP is a much different situation when you consider 200+ versus 2000+ passengers. Also, on a plane you have a limited number of first class seats, whereas a cruise could be HUNDREDS of Platinum members. The person who started this thread should have known better than to plan a flight only a couple of hours after the ship docked, ESPECIALLY if they are a seasoned cruiser.
Princess states in their travel documents NOT to purchase air from Ft. Lauderdale before 11:00am. Disembark does not start until 8:15-8:30 due to INS & Custom clearence. Red tags are intended for passengers with 11:00-11:30 flights and flights out of miami. Only aprox. 200 passengers out of the 2800 are given Red. In all honestly you were looked after if you received Red tags! You booked your flights way too early.