February 2014 - Emerald Princess to Caribbean - Southern
Earlier this month, I joined several friends on this cruise. It was great being with them, and, between ourselves, we had a wonderful time. Sadly, there was not one single redeeming experience on this ship. The very first day, I asked a female who was wearing what appeared to be an officers uniform, where a certain lounge was located. She ignored me and continued to walk by me. Again, I repeated my question, and she still ignored me. Finally, as she walked away I raised my voice and said, "do you speak english? She turned towards me and give me a dirty look, and, still said nothing!
The second day, we returned to our cabin to discover the towels we used earlier in the bathroom we put back up on the towel rack! The cabin attendant did not give us clean towels. We called guest services and complained. After that, our towels were fresh every day. On the last day, we were scheduled to leave the ship at 9:40 AM. They requested that we vacate the cabin by 9 AM. At 8:50, the cabin attendant knocked on the door telling us we had to leave. We told him we were in the process of getting ready and would be out in a few minutes. Less than five minutes later, he knocked on the door again! Then, less than another five minutes, he knocked a third time. This time, I told him if he knocked on the door again, I was going to throw him overboard. Yet, one night, we were in a hurry to meet our friends and my girlfriend took money out of her purse and left it on the bed. When we got back, the attendant moved it onto a table, as he had to prepare the bed for the evening. Every single dollar was there. He could have pocketed some of the money, but, he did not. I was going to give him an extra and generous tip when we left, but his attitude the morning of departure ruined it for himself.
One evening, I ordered a drink in one of the lounges, it was a Ciroc vodka. The waiter brought me what appeared to be scotch. I told him it was the wrong drink. Two minutes later he brought the drink back and said the bartender said it was the right drink. Again, I sent it back. This time, he brought the right drink and I signed for it. My girlfriend had a drink that I also signed for. Three days later, when checking my onboard account, I noticed I was charged for three drinks. I went to the pursur's office and they brought out all the receipts. They showed me three receipts saying I had signed them all. Then I showed them the one for the wrong drink had a different signature on it. Obviously, either the waiter or the bartender signed my name on the receipt. I complained about my name being forged and they said they never saw this before and would look into it. While I made an official complaint, I don't think they did a thing other than immediatley take the charge off my account.
Another bad experience we both had was at the spa. It is owned by a company named Steiner. Their therapists are only so-so. While they like to claim their therapists are the best, you need to look at this logically. I have been getting massages on a regular basis for well over 45 years. I know a good massage therapist. A good massage therapist limits the number of hours a day they work, and, the number of day a week they work. Being a massage therapist is strenuous work and they need to pace themselves. On the ship, they work these people from early morning until they close. So, no truly experienced therapist will subject themself to this life style. Besided, when they start to work on a ship, they must sign a contract that is several months long. Also, Steiner wants their therapists to sell their products, and, pays their employees a commission to do so. After my first massage, I complained that the therapist virtually ruined my massage by constantly talking about their products. Not only that, she took up over ten minutes of my seventy minute massage (which by the way cost close to $200) pitching their products. I heard similar complaints from other passengers on the ship also. I suggest that if you have any spa treatments on a ship, before you go into the room, tell the manager and therapist that you do not want to hear any sales pitches. If they do not respect your wishes, get up and walk out!
The food was horrid. The quality of just about everything was terrible. Tough and tasteless meats and fish. Everything was very heavily salted too. The quality of the produce also was not good. The color and taste of the tomato's were very bad. At the buffets, if you wanted fruit such as watermelon, cantalope, honey dew, it was cut up, but, the rinds were left on. On other cruises I have been on, it was not this way. One day, we went to a snack bar on the pool deck. I wanted a hamburger and my girlfriend wanted a grilled chicken sandwich. We were shocked to see everything was already pre-cooked! They simply took the hamburger and piece of chicken, put it on the grill to warm it up and that was it. The meat was over cooked and dry. In the speciality restaurants the food was good, but only average, like what you would get in the main dining room of other cruise lines. But, the service was excellent.
I had not been on a Princess cruise since the 1990's, and, all I can say is this company has gone drastically down hill. In my life, I have been on nearly 50 cruises, and, on many different cruise lines; Carnival; NCL; Costa; Holland America; Celebrity; Crystal; Cunard; Pearl; Seaborne and others, this experience on Princess was the absolute worst I have ever had on any cruise line.
In discussion with other passengers on the ship who were also upset with the cruise, a couple of passengers did say that you have to realize that Princess is much lower priced than other cruise lines. I didn't shop for this cruise because I wanted to be with my friends, but, if this is so, the as the saying goes...let the buyer beware; you simply will get what you paid for.