I posted this on a different message board and many appreciated me sharing the warning of what can go wrong on a cruise. I hope some regulars here appreciate the warning as well.
This may seem hard to believe, but it is true. I've been on 19 cruises, having started when I was 20 (young and carefree), and this was the first that I have ever seen anything like this, let alone have it happen to me at this stage of my life.
The short version of my cruise experience is that my roommate and I (both single ladies) were ultimately stalked while onboard the Tahitian Princess, March 13-23, 2005. Somehow our cabin number got into the hands of a crew member that turned out to be a sexual deviant, someone that had a fondness for full-figured women (lucky me!), and who throughout the cruise (starting on day #2) phoned our cabin at all times of the day and night and tried to woo me with his ideas about how we should spend the cruise together. He made comments about seeing me onboard, knowing what I had been doing, and what I was wearing, and was very sexually explicit with what he wanted from me. After begging him to stop calling for a few days, and at times having to unplug the phone, and with nothing but fear in me day and night at the thought of being watched, I gave in and followed the advice of my roommate and other professionals that I had been e-mailing while onboard and filed a formal complaint at the front desk. The crew member was eventually discharged after being caught phoning me in the middle of the night. He was a total stranger to me; not being someone that I recall serving me at any time. The last thing I wanted was to cause a crew member from being discharged, and having him discharged was equally unpleasant and did not put an end to the situation. The remaining days I was in fear of the reactions from his fellow countrymen.
This incident led to several other issues that I found extremely alarming, but would never have come up had there not been any phone calls. The main problem that needs to be brought to the forefront is how I believe the catastrophe began. It is my belief that the crew member obtained my cabin number from the use of my keycard for a beverage purchase. Princess could not confirm or deny this assumption -- they could not answer how he had gotten our cabin number. There was no other way this crew member could have obtained my cabin number, except perhaps when I bought the soda sticker -- and it could have been from him or a co-worker. Being a dining room waiter, I was told that he did not have access to the cabin numbers (I was told only head waiters and the maitre d' had that information).
Printing the cabin numbers right on the keycards is such an obviously questionable practice of Princess Cruises -- it creates an unsafe atmosphere for its passengers by boldly displaying information that should be considered private and off-limits. In my opinion there is no valid reason for imprinting the cabin numbers right on the keycard. The only reason I can see is ease of accounting for Princess. If those keycards are lost, not only are the cabin contents available to the finder of the keycard, at least temporarily, but depending on the mental state of mind of the finder, there is the potential for personal harm to the occupants of a cabin. I know this subject was discussed on this board in July 2004. I dug it up and brought it to the attention of Princess Cruises, but that seemed to be of little interest.
I've been in contact with Princess's legal counsel and do not get the impression that my concerns about the keycards will be addressed. Nor are they eager to return to us in full the vacation that we had dreamed about but never thought would be possible to enjoy. I have read about a lot of changes with Princess Cruises lately and read of some other problems that have been going on there, and truly hope that they get their act together soon.
I have received an enormous amount of information on these boards. I've always tried to help out when I saw the occasion, and hope this experience makes people more aware of what can go wrong on a cruise ship. We were told by many staff onboard that anything that can happen in our own cities/towns can also happen onboard. It's a shame that they don't make changes to prevent this from happening. I certainly hope there are changes by November which could very easily be my final Princess cruise.
If you'd like to hear the long version, e-mail mail. I have got EVERYTHING documented! (My internet charges were over $200!)
I do feel badly for your situation, however I just can't believe you waited several days to report this harrassment to the front desk or management. You never thought to mention it the minute it began to bother you or concern you? Of course this type of situation is uncalled for and unacceptable, but if you didn't say anything he could have continued to do it to others. I'm glad you finally told someone and had the situation resolved.
A bad situation definitely and traveling single, I'm aware of problems that can occur. I've had a couple of incidents over 20 years of crusing but reported them instantly.
One was serious enough that NCL put the crew member off at the next port. Security came immediately, listened to my story, my next door neighbors input and did not buy the fact that he said I egged him on and then changed my mind.
I would have been at the desk after the first phone call, telling them and getting it handled immediately. I would not try to handle anything like that myself.
I was on the Star last year and cabin numbers were not on the key cards. As I recall, Princess bought the Tahitian Princess from REN. Maybe they never changed the card key system. I suspect you are not the first to complain about cabin numbers on keys.
Sorry about your troubles Angela. Our family was on the Coral Princess last march and our names and cabin numbers were printed on our sail and sign cards, even on the kids cards I never thought that there might be a potential risk for ous or our children.
I was on both Tahitian and Island last year and, in both cases, the cabin numbers are on the cards; we keep them as mementos. Interestingly we went on Discovery earlier this year and, when finally leaving the ship after 50+ days, security kept the boarding cards. I suppose that there are nutters in every walk of life but it is disturbing to hear that they have managed to gain employment on cruise ships.Bring back stocks and let us all have a go at them! Try to look forward Angela and put such things behind you.
I'm sorry for your experience too. This can happen anywhere and that is the sad fact. However, don't let one person prevent you from cruising and above all trusting in the good people in this world. You did the right thing about reporting this person and don't feel bad about him losing his job. Who knows what he could have done to someone given the chance. You read about this thing all the time and 99% of the time people know the person. You sound like your someone who has their head on straight. This can happen on any cruise line not just Princess. So still cruise and still trust people, don't one bad apple spoil the bunch of nice people who are working 24-7 trying to make the cruisers of the world a little happier by sailing the seas!!! Enjoy your future cruises!!
I'm sorry for your experience. I had a similar experience with a crew member on HAL a few years ago and only reported it after I returned home. I was phoned by a crew member (bar staff) at 1 and 2:00 a.m. in my cabin. I was traveling alone and found this very upsetting. You're right - the only way he could have gotten my cabin number was from my signed bar slip.
I was afraid to report it while onboard for fear that it might cause some waves with the other crew if he had been fired and forced to disembark, but I certainly did report it upon my return home and was sent a letter from HAL saying they would look into the matter..
It is a tough situation - one doesn't want to jeopardize another's job, but the "safe" feeling I usually have on a ship (25+ cruises) has been dimished somewhat and I am more alert than ever.
I posted my situation on a cruise chat site and everyone said they would have gone to the Purser's Office immediately and reported the incident. I did not do that - don't know why.
I have heard about sexual predators being on ships before, but never as a crew member. I always tell the children to be extremely careful, and never to go to the cabin alone. And never go to someone elses cabin.
I have questioned Princess on having the cabin numbers on the cards for 4 years now. I have posted this problem on other boards, too. Many people laugh at the suggestion of removing the cabin number. I have cruised RCCL, Celebrity, HAL, Princess, Costa, NCL, and other cruise lines. Princess is the only cruise line that puts the cabin number on the card. Hotels, Motels and other places do not use a room number on a card. So why does Princess.
Really feel sorry for your bad experience. This should never happen to anyone. Hope you try to remember the good things that may have happened on the cruise and try to forget the bad.
Happy Cruising in the future!
Yes, Princess puts the cabin numbers on the cards, but I really don't see how that has anything to do with a crew member finding out which cabin you are in, especially since most would be able to find out what cabin you are in when you purchase something, even if it wasn't on the key card, it would come up on the computer when creating the receipt, they would be able to see it there.
However, what happens if you lose the card, it has your room number on it, many things can happen before you realise you lost the card. Someone could have access to your cabin and your "stuff" before you report the card lost and they re key your cabin.
Not a very good idea on Princess' part to display the number!!!!
Someone made a good point that even if the numbers were not on the cards the staff would still know what room you are in b/c they could see this when they print out a receipt or charge your room electronically at the point of purchase. The problem might not be in the numbers on the cards but in their hiring practices. Background checks should be conducted. They are required by state law for healthcare facilities in most states, maybe they should also be enforced for staff of cruise ships.
We do background checks. We still managed to unwittingly hire a child abuser (paedophile). Yuck. Fortunately the police came to pick him up before the rest of crew got a chance to "deal with him" when we learned about it.
How do you background checks in the Phillipines, or Indonesia, or even Mexico anyway?