JT writes "I found the staff at the front reception area not as accommodating. They did not go out of their way to make you feel satisfied with their answers, but most were European women, and the language was a barrier at times."
I just read this on JT review of the MSC Opera. (Thanks for review JT!). Everything else was fine to excellent with Jt's cruise with the exception of the "front reception". I was with a cruise agency for 3 1/2 years where I handled escalated problems that our clients had with the cruiselines. One of the most common complaints I heard about was the purser's desk was not being helpful to the point of acting like they did not care.
I have a very easy smile, slight southern accent and am very polite (up to a point). I say that to say this... people usually treat me nicely but even I have had several experiences where the crew at the purser's desk have been less than adequate. Probably 3 times or so out of 12 cruises and only one time (Summit) have they been exceptional.
What are your experiences?? Has the purser's desk ever gone way out of their way to help? Has an experience ruined your vacation?
When we were on the Carnival Fantasy in December 2004, I found the purser's desk staff to be very helpful. We had a High Seas Anniversary package in our room upon arrival. It came with a bottle of champagne but we were told when we ordered it we could exchange it for wine. The purser's desk attendant made 4 phone calls for me until she found out the correct answer. We went to purser's desk 2 or 3 more time during the cruise (this was our first cruise, lots of questions) and each time they were wonderful. Especially the day coming back to Port Canaveral and I needed motion sickness pills because of the rough seas. The young woman explained in detail all about the pills she was giving me and how to take them. (it wasn't dramamine or bonine?) I was truly thankful for all their help during our cruise.
We had a plesant experience with Royal Caribbean onthe Radiance of the seas recently. Our cabin had an odor like dead fish in it. after about an hour after boarding we had a message on the phone asking us to call the Purser's about a maintenance issue with the room. We ended up moving to a new cabin on the same deck and and then the following day a bottle of champange was left in our cabin ( on ice I might add) compliments of the Purser's desk for the inconvience.
My husband went to the pursers desk because his S&S card wouldn't open the door. They were less than friendly with him insisting it was his fault. He is a very easy going guy and wasn't passing any blame just wanting to get his card fixed. This was also on a port day and they weren't busy at the desk, maybe just grumpy over having to work.
Oh boy, 10 million cruisers interacting a couple of times each on every cruise , I'm sure you will hear lots of stories both ways.
We ghad a cabon plumbinig issue late one night on a Princess ship. Had a gusher coming out of shower drain. Pursers desk was great about getting help to come. Help wasn't very good at fixing it, but, pursers desk was persistent and we eventually got help. Assistant purser forwarded a nice gift and a personal note the next day just to make sure we were satisfied.
I have only experienced a problem one minor time and it was more of a communication error/mix up than a cutomer service failure.
The Pursers desk on RCI Splendor was rude and unhelpful when I had a problem with putting the tips on my ship account. They lost the form and by the time I found out that the tip vouchers were not made up, it was too late to do it that way. I had to get cash from the ATM on board . . . what a rip off that was.
I found the pursers on the Glory to be helpful, but not overly friendly. I suppose they must keep a somewhat business-like manner. It's just compared to some of the exuberant staff, they seemed, well.....stiff....
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
I found them to be generally polite, but I agree with Dorothy, they tend to be "stiff". Luckily, I've never had any serious problem to be addressed, just general questions, change, and postage.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
Last year on the QM2 I was assigned a roommate and they got our accounts mixed up. When I went to the Purser's desk, the woman how helped me was kinda rude. She said to me "of course that's your charge, it's your room" I said "I didn't spend $1,700 in 3 days, I only bought a shirt" I had to insist that she look up the cabin account. Sure enough they charged my roommate's charges to me. When I went on the QM2 a couple weeks ago, I remembered what happened as I also I an assigned roommate. They did the exact same thing again. But this time they were nice about it.
Just got back from Enchantment of the Seas cruise (sail date 4/16) and was very pleased with the Purser's Desk service. I was on the cruise with my mom (in her 70's), my sister and her family - including 3 kids. I had to go to the Purser's Desk to get a wheelchair for my mom and was waited on by Julian (I wish I got his last name!)...he could tell I was a bit stressed/concerned about my mom and made a point to take some extra time to talk to me about how I could make the best of the cruise for me and my mom. From that first day, he called our stateroom at least once a day to make sure everything was going well and to offer suggestions on what may be good to do with my mom each day. On the second day of the cruise, my 11 year old neice and I ran into Julian and as my neice was pouting a bit, he inquired why she was not happy. Julian made a point to call her every day from that point to make sure she was enjoying herself. This may not sound like a big deal, but on a cruise with some low points (crummy weather and missed port due to engine problem), it really made a difference.
On all cruise lines we've been on --- ranging all the way from Crown (now defunct) at the low end to Radisson on the high end, we have always found the Pursers' desk to be the "weakest link" in the chain of whatever quality of overall service was offered. They do extremely well when presented with routine matters, but seem to lack the authority or "chain of command" to take care of more unusual matters. This is probably why we have found them to be "the weakest link." They get all the questions and problem nobody else knows how to deal with.
Harry, we were on Mariner last week. We met a young lady in our favorite bar that had only been working on the ship for 7 months. She answered questions for us that WE should have asked at the Pursers desk. She was well spoken & always smiling & helpful. She was a joy to be around. She told me she liked reading books to help improve her English. I gave her my "Readers Digest" & my DH gave her &20.00 extra tip. I wrote on our last bar tab, "Thanks for helping to make our cruise just wonderful." She was crying & hugged us . Is there anyone at RCCI, I can write to about this young lady? She is a person we will never forget. I have her full name & e-mail address. Thanks for any help you can provide.
On my last cruise on the Golden Princess, I got overcharged for t-shirts I bought in the gift shop. I was charged $48 for 2, when in the store they were marked 2 for $40. Not that much of a difference, but hey.
I didn't notice this until the very last morning, so I made my way down there and got in line. I must have waited 10-15 minutes as the 2nd person in line, but eventually I made it there, explained the situation, showed my receipt and the woman fixed it! She gave me the difference in $ back (in cash!).
While the waiting wasn't fun (she had to confirm the prices, why take my word for it right?) but I got what I wanted and she was pleasant. So I can't complain. =)
I've found them to be very competent, and sometimes very friendly, but not always. The way I've seen some passengers treat these people, I can understand why they might be a little jaded. We had one fellow go so far out of his way to help us during a time that the desk was very busy (day before embarkation) that I was compelled to write a letter to head office. He did everything in his power to help us.
I've had good experiences with the Pursers desk for the most part. I am only 4' tall and have had some small problems that required me to ask for assistance. I usually get good information and lots of help. Only once was I really upset. I had asked at the pursers desk about tha accessibilty of a shore excursion. I explained that I can not climb up a lot of steps, could not do long periods of walking ect... I was assured that I would have no problem with the excursion I was asking about. BUT there were problems for me. The transportation they excursion used did not have steps up to get into it - it was more like a ladder, the boat we were to get on had steps up and then a jump to get on. I asked to have a cab take me back to the ship instead of finishing the excursion. When I talked to them at the pursers desk, they had the "Oh Well" attitude. I suggested that they be more informed about special needs of their passenger and they said since they didn't run the tour they couldn't be sure what to expect. That's not what they told me when I asked before I purchased. It was the one and only time I have written to a cruise line after the cruise and complained. Not only had it cost me for the excursion but also for the cab back to the ship! I was not to happy. I did get a nice letter from the cruise line and a gift certificate for a free shore excursion on my next cruise.
My last three cruises were on the Carnival Glory, Victory, and the Holiday. I always take small groups 16-30 people with me and go out of my way to take care of my groups needs. I frequently make trips to the Pursers desk. I have never had a problem with the service that I have received there. There have been a few long lines but I donít mind that. It is very important to remember one thing: they get complaints all day, every day. Now, it is their job and I do expect them to be professional but they are human.
You may be a very nice person who brings out the best in everyone around you (I have a few good friends like that) but that person standing behind the desk could have just been verbally attacked by a crazed passenger just that morning. So, when they seem a little stiff, it could be because they rarely have anyone standing in line to tell them thanks for the hard work.
On my first cruise we had people ranging in age from 6 - 75. I made a few trips to ask for special things. On the third day I stood in line for about 10 minutes. When I got up to the desk I said "I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for all your hard work in making my first cruise enjoyable for my group". I was stared at like I had a second head. The man standing there asked me if there was anything he could do for me. I said no thanks; I just wanted to say thanks. Three people behind the counter stopped talking and looked at me slack jawed. After about 2 seconds they all said thank you. The man I was talking with thanked me for taking the time to come by and say such a nice thing.
I try very hard to remember to thank people more often than I complain. It is not always easy but I try.
I am thinking about this and I honestly cannot remember any problems at the Pursers desk and many times they have been very helpful and pleasant. Maybe one or two times they may have been 'stiff' or something like that but apparently it was not that bad as I can't remember any instance that sticks out. It is a very hard job and I don't think I could take 8 hours a day with nothing but complaints. <G> I always try to be very pleasant to them and understanding when I have to bring something to their attention just to try and brighten their day.