December 2014 - 20 Night Caribbean Explorer (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Royal Princess
Bigger is NOT better
I just finished to cruise of 10 days on the Royal Princess. I have a LIST of things that went wrong on this cruise. I was a solo traveler (which means I have to pay my share & plus haf more,but from the way we were treated on the cruise you would think we had the black plague or something. Princess makes so many mistakes in the treatment of solo women travelers, that I have a list.
Also much to my outrage and dissapointment, I paid for a stateroom with a balcony and ended up with a life boat or tender on my balcony. I was NOT informed of this by my travel agent or Princess (and this was supposed to be an upgrade according to princess- I guess my 1st cabin was in the galley or something?). This huge ORANGE boat made my balcony completely unusable, as you could only see over it if you stood on a chair on tip toes. My travel agent blamed Princess and Princess blamed them. I spent my entire first day fighting back and forth on the phones between them. And do you know what Princess did to appease me? The manager, Monica sent me 6 choc. covered strawberries.! As if!!!! I should have been given a ships credit for having paid for a balcony not receiving one.
As I said solo women travelers were treated as tho they were invisible. I was snubbed & ignored in the casino by the dealer and the waitress. Each time we went into dinner your "gentlemen" made such a big deal about us being "solo" we were continually embarrassed. If you don't wish Solo travelers (who pay way too much as a suppliment) then just say so. No real attempt by Pricess was made to help us connect with other solo travelers. On Oceania we were invited to a cocktail party (by invitation) and then a dinner by the ships cruise director. I never ever saw the direction my entire trip on Princess and the captain, who had just broken up with his girlfriend (or wife) tried to pick up my friend.
Since over 3500 are on board this ship trying to get on was a true nightmare and could have been handled in a much better fashion. Also, since so many people were on board, there were lines, lines and more lines no matter where you asked for help.
And then let's look at the nickel & diming aboard this ship. Water is $2.00 per bottle. they want you to buy a "soda package", a coffee package" & a "drink package". a" tip paskage" Transfers of any kind were $19.00 dollars each. The crew was so busy, no one had time to pay any attention to anyone. And "over there" with a hand gesture was their idea of directions.
They are SELLING something at all given moments. Jewelery, clothes, etc. Plus they ruined excellent spa treatments by trying to get you to buy $250.00 worth of merchandise after each treatment. They advertised 10%, 20% & 30% off on 3 treatments and tried to argue with me about that after the 3rd treatment.
I won money in the casino and it took well over an hour to get my money and that was only because other passengers went in search of a manager.
Oh and get this....the BIG DEAL SKYWALK they advertise. Well first, it's as windy and can be up there. 2nd and most important, this walk allows you to see directly into ALL balconies and into many of the higher level staterooms directly. My friend was treated to the sight of a completely naked man (elder) completely spread out nude. Delightful.
Then the picture taking, You stand in massive lines and get this....while your friend is having their picture taken you are not allowed to use your own camera at all. Oh, btw the pictures were $20-00 each or more.
My friend spent the first 4 nights of her first part of the cruise in her room crying. She must have said something off hand about throwing herself over board and 3 days later 3 men came to see her about it. If it had been a true emergency she'd be dead by then.
Oh, the movies.....first rate they say. some were over 4 years old.
It seemed NO ONE could ever give you a correct or direct answer to solve any of your problems, sending you here and there only to end up back at the Passenger service desk where you started in the first. Most of the crew are very nice (with exceptions) but have not been properly trained on how to handle passenger requests and cummunication, as most do NOt speak English.
The ship is truly beautiful, but who cares. A 4 floor attraim does not make up for bad service. shows were just so/so with a few exceptions. (last comedian was great, saw him twice in different rooms). EX beach boy reject was so bad people poured out of the showroom and all his materal was so dated, you had no idea of what he was talking about. Great casino, really hopping, but rude dealers and waitresses. Oh, you pay for your drinks there too.
All in all, bigger is NOT better.Service & satified passengers is. Just completed Oceania for the 1st time in August and it was so 1st rate, with all charges except spa & drinks included. People so kind and helpful. Has Princess gone "cattle car"? Used to be a proud name in cruising and now even Royal Carribean is better. My next cruise, I'm even looking at Regent or Oceania again. Why be treated like catttle when you can be treated like royality ....and with the free air and 2 for one free bees....the fares come out about the same.
I want to meet with the President or highset manager for Pincess in person so I can look then in the eye.Or better yet, he should send his own Mother (without any advance notice she was related) and see how shw is treated.