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-   -   First Cruise.. First Bad Experience ! (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/princess-cruise-lines/380170-first-cruise-first-bad-experience.html)

GDBrunson February 4th, 2011 02:57 PM

First Cruise.. First Bad Experience !
 
This was the first 7 day cruise that myself, my husband and four other guests experienced and our expectations were set high on the notion of Princess Cruises being one of the Premiere cruise lines in the world and the fact that Princess Cruises promotes Courtesy, Respect , and Unfailing in Service Excellence. This was a birthday cruise celebration for my husband, sister and aunt; all who’s birthdays took place during the week of the cruise. So as you can imagine we all were truly excited to be celebrating this time in our life with Princess Cruises.

When making the reservation on the phone with Princess cruise agent, the Balcony suite was given to another family member instead of my husband and when he addressed this with the agent she told him that the change could be completed on board with no problem. Wrong ! We were giving a dining time without knowledge. Why ?

When we get on board the drama unfolds, we explain the cabin mix up to the Purser's and was given the run around and was told to come back later. Couple hours later we went back to the desk and was given a TEMPORARY CABIN KEY and was told to come back the next day for a permanent key. (CRAZY) The temporary key didn't work, so we go back to the Purser’s office. The next morning we go back once again to the Purser's desk to pick up the permanent keys only to find my name is then mispelled on the key . In order to get that changed they need to see my passport. So back up to the room to get the passport to get it changed.

The dining plan was set for 6:00 pm by the agent which was way to early and so we tried to get that changed to 8:00pm with the head chef or Matre D who told us the only thing available was the Anytime dining. They promoted it as being the best plan on board you can eat anywhere at anytime. But we later found out that dining plan has limitations… you cannot eat at the Palm Restaurant onboard the Caribbean Princess. Therefore making us feel like we missed out on everything Princess had to offer like we were short changed. How is that the best plan if you cannot eat at all of the restaurants?

No Courtesy!

Getting back to our room, we still had the wrong luggage. So I asked the cabin attendant could he take this luggage to the right room because we initially had the wrong room. He told me no he would not Just Disrespectful.

My sister and aunt get to their room and their view is obstructed and all they can see out the window is a boat that they paid an upgraded fee for. They go down to the Purser’s office only to be rudely told by the lady manager on board that there was nothing that could be done. No apology, no I am sorry for your inconvenience, let me check and see what can be done, let us move you to a different room, upgrade you, downgrade you, refund your upgrade , give you a ships credit for shopping, spa treatments, dinner, pictures .. NOTHING!!!!. They even asked to be upgraded to a balcony suite and was denied to even pay the difference. I was shocked and appalled that this being , so we thought, one of the best of the best in the industry and simple elementary managerial skills were not even exercised!. We were all so disgusted at this point that we all were ready to get off the ship and we hadn’t even left the port yet. So my husband I went back to the Purser’s office again to speak to the manager who still did not make it right. The only thing she told us was that she would call us in the morning when something came available in which she did not. We never heard from that manager again throughout the whole entire seven days. Failing in Service Excellence!

As far as, the birthdays go nothing extra special was done for the three guests in our party.

On the last day of the cruise, we went to pick up our luggage on the Port in San Juan and a box that my brother had packed was busted and broken into. Souvenirs from all of the 6 ports that we had just visited were broken and cracked. It took forever for the Princess port agents to resolve the matter. We are still waiting for compensation for sentimental souvenirs that were inscribed. It was so embarrassing to have to experience this in front of everyone as we were leaving the port.

Overall, my expectations and image of Princess Cruises has changed. I thought we would come on board and be treated like royalty, or at least like a Princess/Prince. I thought we had chosen the best cruise in the industry. For this to have been our first family cruise together it was a horror show! I felt like I was being punked! I felt disrespected, humiliated and taken advantage of. I thought we would have the time of our life and leave talking highly of Princess and not be able to wait until the next cruise on Princess. All we heard from other guests at the ports were how happy they were with Royal Caribbean and how they loved it and wouldn’t dare try another cruise line because they were so happy with their cruise. I wish I could say the same. On my Princess cruise,… Princess Cruise Lines failed in all aspects of Courtesy, Respect, Understanding, Service Excellence

johnthed0g February 4th, 2011 03:37 PM

Sorry you did not enjoy your cruise.
I will try to reply...
Princess are a mid range cruise line not a premier line.
Cabin I think I would have got it changed before boarding or even just swapped cabins with the other family member. As for the name being wrong does it matter?
Dining times, you should have been asked, but as I see it anytime dining is meant as dine within certain times at a specified restaurant, not anywhere.
Luggage, they should have taken it to the right cabin but to be honest they would only take it to where it said on the tag.
No cruise line does anything much for birthdays, maybe a few balloons & embarrassing singing waiters.
Anything fragile should be kept in hand baggage common sense I think.
I feel that you may have not done enough research & relied on word of mouth from fans of cruising, people often have a higher than realistic idea of what they are getting. You may have revealed what you were expecting in hoping to be treated like royalty.

Trip February 4th, 2011 04:12 PM

It sounds like you had one thing after another here sorry for that...I am going to play devils advocate. When making the reservation on the phone with Princess cruise agent, the Balcony suite was given to another family member instead of my husband and when he addressed this with the agent she told him that the change could be completed on board with no problem. Wrong ! We were giving a dining time without knowledge. Why ?

If the reservation was made for the suite in anothers name,wouldn't that mean, the other person was billed for the more $ cabin? Once you noticed it, the agent said, to wait till you board, that was an error for the agent...who is really only an order taker.

Did you at any time ask for a dining time?


This part sounds like a like a who's on first gag:( it seems you got the cabin straightened out with the other couple ? I am confused here. Temporaray keys to where?

When we get on board the drama unfolds, we explain the cabin mix up to the Purser's and was given the run around and was told to come back later. Couple hours later we went back to the desk and was given a TEMPORARY CABIN KEY and was told to come back the next day for a permanent key. (CRAZY) The temporary key didn't work, so we go back to the Purser’s office. The next morning we go back once again to the Purser's desk to pick up the permanent keys only to find my name is then mispelled on the key . In order to get that changed they need to see my passport. So back up to the room to get the passport to get it changed.

It really is unfortunate when, you can't enjoy the dining experience, you wanted to have. This cruise may have had many people keeping their reservations they had made when booking, thus leaving less wiggle room for people like you, who wished to switch. That is unusual though.

The dining plan was set for 6:00 pm by the agent which was way to early and so we tried to get that changed to 8:00pm with the head chef or Matre D who told us the only thing available was the Anytime dining. They promoted it as being the best plan on board you can eat anywhere at anytime. But we later found out that dining plan has limitations… you cannot eat at the Palm Restaurant onboard the Caribbean Princess. Therefore making us feel like we missed out on everything Princess had to offer like we were short changed. How is that the best plan if you cannot eat at all of the restaurants?

No Courtesy!

Getting back to our room, we still had the wrong luggage. So I asked the cabin attendant could he take this luggage to the right room because we initially had the wrong room. He told me no he would not Just Disrespectful.
This would have made me a tad upset as well...he could have arranged it, since he clearly didn't want to do it himself.

My sister and aunt get to their room and their view is obstructed and all they can see out the window is a boat that they paid an upgraded fee for. They go down to the Purser’s office only to be rudely told by the lady manager on board that there was nothing that could be done. No apology, no I am sorry for your inconvenience, let me check and see what can be done, let us move you to a different room, upgrade you, downgrade you, refund your upgrade , give you a ships credit for shopping, spa treatments, dinner, pictures .. NOTHING!!!!. They even asked to be upgraded to a balcony suite and was denied to even pay the difference. I was shocked and appalled that this being , so we thought, one of the best of the best in the industry and simple elementary managerial skills were not even exercised!. We were all so disgusted at this point that we all were ready to get off the ship and we hadn’t even left the port yet. So my husband I went back to the Purser’s office again to speak to the manager who still did not make it right. The only thing she told us was that she would call us in the morning when something came available in which she did not. We never heard from that manager again throughout the whole entire seven days. Failing in Service Excellence!

This to me is a breakdown in comminications..did you all book seperately, or one speaking for all? Clearly though there was a lack of customer service all along the booking and it continued forward.

As far as, the birthdays go nothing extra special was done for the three guests in our party. This booking should have been marked with the birthdays..the order taker dropped the ball it seems..Did you mention anything to your waiter? A cake and singing is the usual.

On the last day of the cruise, we went to pick up our luggage on the Port in San Juan and a box that my brother had packed was busted and broken into. Souvenirs from all of the 6 ports that we had just visited were broken and cracked. It took forever for the Princess port agents to resolve the matter. We are still waiting for compensation for sentimental souvenirs that were inscribed. It was so embarrassing to have to experience this in front of everyone as we were leaving the port.


This box should have been carried off the ship. Did you send it with your baggage outside on the last night? I am very surprised if this was the case they would do anything.


Overall, my expectations and image of Princess Cruises has changed. I thought we would come on board and be treated like royalty, or at least like a Princess/Prince. I thought we had chosen the best cruise in the industry. For this to have been our first family cruise together it was a horror show! I felt like I was being punked! I felt disrespected, humiliated and taken advantage of. I thought we would have the time of our life and leave talking highly of Princess and not be able to wait until the next cruise on Princess. All we heard from other guests at the ports were how happy they were with Royal Caribbean and how they loved it and wouldn’t dare try another cruise line because they were so happy with their cruise. I wish I could say the same. On my Princess cruise,… Princess Cruise Lines failed in all aspects of Courtesy, Respect, Understanding, Service Excellence

I am really sorry about the the things that went wrong...This is not the norm, honest. I urge you next time you book, to go with a cruise specialist travle agency. They would have held your hand as a first timer, and walked you through the entire process, till you were satisfied. Not that there could never be an error, but not to the extent that you had. I hope you cruise again, to experience a great cruise..My 1st was not what I excpected, but my 2nd was divine! let us know how you make out...



Donna February 4th, 2011 06:17 PM

Wow, so many things gone wrong, so sorry to hear all of this....Don't really know if it would of made any difference, but may-be dealing with a cruise travel agent may have prevented most most of these errors, except for the staff you had to deal with, no reason for that....

Other than that, how were the ports, excursions, food, entertainment, etc? Hopefully there were still lots of things you did enjoy on your cruise?

Snoozeman February 4th, 2011 06:34 PM

I agree with Trip and Donna. It would have been better using a Travel Agent who perhaps could have explained in more detail what to expect on a first cruise. Sounds like a lot of confusion on your part to be honest. Maybe it will go better next time.;)

ruthlessboss February 4th, 2011 06:49 PM

I'm confused:confused: Upgrade to obstructed view, possible if upgraded from regular cabin. A few dollars more would have given unobstructed. If YOU paid for the balcony suite, why didn't the relative give it back? The luggage cannot be moved from it's assigned place to be delivered on a person's wishes. He would not know if it was really yours or if it was a set of luggage belonging to someone else. Anytime dining does not mean anywhere dining, it's just an area set aside in the main dining room where you may sit anywhere and not an assigned table each night.
I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but you set your own expectations that could have been resolved when the reservations were made...starting with the correction of the name and who was being charged for that balcony. There must be some reason you were denied it by the relative, that's not the ship's fault.
Next cruise have all your ducks in a row before you even leave home. I guarantee a perfect cruise.:D

Donna February 4th, 2011 08:00 PM

I know in the past I requested traditional dinning at 6:30, did't get it, but I knew I was on a waitlist and way down on it, so we just settled for the anytime and made the best of it. You know that before the cruise. I didn't quite understand the mix-up with cabins, that again, is always assigned before you leave...I'm thinking that the upgrade to an obstructed view should of been explained and always look at the ship layout when you do get a cabin number, those cabins are always noted as such, so they may have been upgraded from an inside, in that case, its still nicer IMHO.

There are always things that happen on any cruise, and expecially a first cruise when you don't know all the ins and outs, so next time they will know what to expect and be more prepared...

worthew8 February 5th, 2011 09:22 AM

It would have helped you to join Cruisemates BEFORE your cruise, not after.

There are so many people here that would have helped you with almost every expectation you had.

I agree with the others, a travel agent could have helped you understand how cruising works.

Hope your next cruise is better!

Snoozeman February 5th, 2011 09:53 AM

MrsBrunson is just another 'drive by' poster.:rolleyes:

Michelle19 February 5th, 2011 03:20 PM

Wow. I have had "things" go wrong on a vacation before, but all that in 1 week? I have to believe it's not All Princess fault. Except the bad attitude of the staff of course

MercedMike February 5th, 2011 04:46 PM

Can't Please Some Folks
 
Well, there are some people in this world who understand that "When you travel, stuff happens." There are others who let one mistake get them off to a bad start, and consider anybody who refuses to answer their unreasonable demands to have a bad attitude.

Most of the Drive By Poster's complaints have been addressed above. The one that baffles me is why she is says,
Quote:

"But we later found out that dining plan has limitations… you cannot eat at the Palm Restaurant onboard the Caribbean Princess. Therefore making us feel like we missed out on everything Princess had to offer like we were short changed. How is that the best plan if you cannot eat at all of the restaurants?"
But here is what Princess website says about dining on Caribbean Princess:

"Princess Cruises offers passengers onboard the Caribbean Princess a choice of 3 main dining rooms (Coral, Island and Palm). The Coral and Palm offer flexible Anytime Dining, while the Island offers Traditional Dining (early seating 6 pm, late seating 8.15 pm). "

So how did she miss anything in the Palm Restaurant? It is simply another Main Dining Room.

Obviously, this is a case of somebody who failed to get good advice from their Travel Agent. It would be wise for them to vote with their feet and go to a good full service TA who is a CLIA Master Cruise Counselor.

Donna February 5th, 2011 06:45 PM

Mike,
I thought the OP just booked directly with the cruiseline and didn't use a travel agent. If that is the case, and especially for a first cruise, a good T/A is essential and most helpful. I would think a lot of the problems they had wouldn't have happened.

johnthed0g February 5th, 2011 06:52 PM

I think that these days people just don't read brochures/websites & therefore just don't know. The dress code issues that arise (not this thread) are odd because when ever you see any pictures of a cruise people always look so smart & glam.

ruthlessboss February 5th, 2011 07:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snoozeman (Post 1349793)
MrsBrunson is just another 'drive by' poster.:rolleyes:

It appears so. rofl

ejb February 5th, 2011 10:54 PM

Every time I see a post like this I think the same thing.
The cruise was doomed from the start. The cruise line just makes it possible for you to make your own fun. I have never understood the desire for someone to require the cruise line to treat them like royalty.
Sometimes you have to learn to roll with the punches so it does not ruin the whole trip, for you and all that are with you.

I have now stepped down off my soap box.
EB

MercedMike February 6th, 2011 12:47 PM

Mea culpa
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Donna (Post 1349968)
Mike,
I thought the OP just booked directly with the cruiseline and didn't use a travel agent. If that is the case, and especially for a first cruise, a good T/A is essential and most helpful. I would think a lot of the problems they had wouldn't have happened.

You are right, you are right, on all counts!

Ignorance, in this case, was not bliss but confusion!

And yes, we do observe that it was a typical drive by. One and only post, never come back to the board for any other comments, just bash and go.

I will say, however, that I am grateful the title was not in all capitals and they restricted themselves to only one exclamation point :D

Ron February 6th, 2011 01:06 PM

Having read the OP's complaint a couple times, it seems like ( to me--just my opinion ) that they basically left everything up to the Princess agent.
If I wanted a balcony and was told it was put in someone else's name I would immediately tell them there was a mistake and it would either be corrected then and there or I would call off the deal, make sure I had all my ducks in a row and call another agent and go over everything in detail to be sure it was correct. I wonder too if this was a last minute booking and as they left everything up to the Princess agent, they could only do so much regarding dining times, cabins,etc. I don't get the part about a temporary key--who paid for the balcony, etc. That in itself could create a problem, as the person booked into the cabin would be responsible, most generally, for the on-board account, etc. regarding that cabin and would require quite a bit of work on the purser to get that straightened out when all they have is what is sent to them from the home office as to which person is in what cabin, etc. Regarding luggage, if the wrong luggage was delivered to the wrong cabin and the right cabin was within a reasonable distance, and especially belonged to someone in the group, I would have simply changed it myself in a matter of 2 minutes or so and avoided any complaint to the steward, who seemed to be as confused as the OP as to who was on first. ;)
Also, it appears that they probably booked guarantees, or at least some of the group did and may have been " upgraded " to a cabin that had an obstructed view. People should take a lesson--moving up a deck or 2 doesn't always mean you're getting an upgrade but there's always that human emotion that to some, if they hear that word " upgrade " they automatically think they're getting a better deal than they paid for. Some folks think that if you get to move up a deck, you get a better cabin-you could,and many times do, end up being "upgraded" to something you wish you didn't have.
Seems like there wasn't a lot of thought or pre-planning that went into this cruise. Just to call up and book a cruise without being specific in what you want and expect , such as cabin, meal times,any special occasions, etc. sometimes doesn't pan out the way you want it to.
When I book a cruise, I use a T.A.and I know before I call the deck and the cabin I want, the dining times, the type table ( large or a table for 2 ) etc. and then when I call, I go over everything in detail, then when we get it finalized, I re-cap again just to be sure we're on the same page and when I get my confirmation, I carefully go over it to be sure all's well. So far, I've never had a problem.
Bottom line, do some homework, look at the layout of the ship, understand what a guarantee is vs. booking a specific cabin, understand the dining times and etc.and then when you do call, you have at least some info to depart to the booking agent as to exactly what you're looking for.
Just my opinion that means nothing to anyone but me ! ;) ;)

Mike M February 6th, 2011 01:16 PM

I don't look upon this as a classic "Drive By". It's a posting from someone where their cruise didn't meet their expectations. I also don't like labeling someone less than 24 hours after the posting is made. Unlike many of us, most people don't check the boards every hour or two. If I did make a negative post and came back the next day and four or five people had labeled me a "Drive By" or "Troll", I don't think I would respond.

The main thing with this post is that it is an excellent learning tool for new cruisers. It shows how expectations can be set too high and there is much more to know about taking a cruise than how much it costs.

I feel bad for people who book a cruise with an "order taker" and do not receive the accurate information they need or even directed to where to find it.

I love cruising but I do feel bad that you often have to get a Bachelors degree in Cruising before you can take a cruise. :) At least Cruisemates can help new cruisers earn that degree. :D

Take care,
Mike

Donna February 6th, 2011 03:20 PM

Ron,
I thought possible the same, may have booked a guarantee balcony catagory and may have not understood exactly what that meant. I've never heard of someone having a cabin and then it was given to someone else, sounds fishy.

Trip February 6th, 2011 03:30 PM

Mike you are spot on....we were all freshman cruisers in the beginning, with many of us sailing, before the internet came to be. It takes time and effort, to pour through all the mega info out there ,and sites like Cruisemates, make it a bit easier for someone to graduate, summa cum cruiser.....:rolleyes:

Pop quiz...what should you always do when booking? Answer... Book with a travel agent...

MercedMike February 8th, 2011 11:33 AM

Names
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Donna (Post 1350182)
Ron,
I thought possible the same, may have booked a guarantee balcony catagory and may have not understood exactly what that meant. I've never heard of someone having a cabin and then it was given to someone else, sounds fishy.

What the OP said was, "the Balcony suite was given to another family member instead of my husband " so it sounds as if it was a matter of names on linked bookings. I appreciate her frustration, but honestly it sounds as if the onboard N0-Service Desk did all they could and finally got it straightened out, so their performance was actually above average. Anything that can be done before boarding should be done by your TA, because the N0-Service Desk is the last place you want to be on a ship.;)

ruthlessboss February 8th, 2011 06:33 PM

If it was just a name mixup, the hubby as well as the receiver knew it. So why did the receiver keep it?:confused:

MercedMike February 9th, 2011 11:02 AM

Resolution of issue
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ruthlessboss (Post 1350687)
If it was just a name mixup, the hubby as well as the receiver knew it. So why did the receiver keep it?:confused:

Well, that is the crux of the issue, isn't it? The OP says

Quote:

when he addressed this with the agent she told him that the change could be completed on board with no problem.
That was the big mistake. Dealing with issues before you board can be a lot of trouble for the agent, but it is far superior to trying to get resolution from the Customer No-Service Desk aboard!

As has been said several times, dealing with an online order taker is what leads to these situations. A good Travel Agent would have gone to the trouble to get things right.

Donna February 9th, 2011 01:03 PM

Hi Mike,
It seems we harp on this subject all the time and look at the results when you don't use a good travel agent? For some reason, people think they are saving $, but in most cases they are not, and at what price?

I had a newbie in chat last night and she also thought it better to just book with an order taker at the cruiseline that it would cost her more to use an agent...Had to do some explaining....

ruthlessboss February 9th, 2011 01:10 PM

[QUOTE=MercedMike;1350844]Well, that is the crux of the issue, isn't it? The OP says



I misunderstood, thought they didn't wind up in the correct room, but I see they did. The fuss was about the name,

MercedMike February 10th, 2011 11:38 AM

More of my opinions
 
You know, I think I will elaborate on this a bit more. Remember this all JMAO (Just My Arrogant Opinion ... I don't have Humble opinions ...)

The Customer Service Desk aboard the ship is manned by the very most junior members of the Purser's Staff. If you look at their insignia you will see they are lucky to have half a stripe! They are trained to do the most minor things such as sell stamps and answer questions about the daily program. In most cases they are totally unempowered to deal with any significant issue.

To do something even as simple as issue a replacement for a key card that doesn't work, they usually have to call a supervisor (one striper) to enter a code in the computer. This almost always involves a delay. A pleasant and cooperative Junior Purser, of which there are a few, will go ahead and do it and chat with you while you wait. One who is not thoroughly customer oriented will try to put you off and make excuses to save themselves the trouble. Sadly there are too many of this kind.

Any real change, such as a change in cabin assignments, requires even more clout, usually a Senior Purser (two striper) of which there are only a few on the ship. This is why it is NOT going to happen on the spot and they will say that someone will contact you. Yes, that might happen, IF the desk agent remembers to leave a message, and IF the Sr. Purser is not overwhelmed with work, and IF they decide they can do something for you.

For some reason, the cruise line does not seem to give the Purser's staff (the "Customer Service Staff" on some ships) the same training they give the rest of their staff, insisting that they take a personal interest in every customer request and do their very best to see that it is filled right away and with a smile. It is much easier, for instance, to change a dining room reservation than it is to deal with the Customer No-Service Desk.

Whenever I find a Purser, or Customer Service Agent, or whatever they are called, who will really listen to me and try to help me, I remember them for all the rest of the cruise, come back to them when I need service, and (this is VERY important) see to it that their name is mentioned on my comment card!

If we, as passengers, begin demanding service from the Customer No-Service Desk as good as we get on the rest of the ship, and PUT THAT on our comment cards, perhaps it will start to get some attention!


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