Disappointment on Star Princess

I hadn't been on a cruise for years and never with the Princess Line, however, Patagonia was the only way to properly see this region of South America. In general, Star Princess is a great boat with very attentive staff. Others onboard, who cruise more often, however, complained about the quality of service deteriorating, in particular since Carnival now owns Princess. A number of issues stand out for me that others have voiced. The first, and it's a small one, but an important one is the "nickel & dime-ing" that goes on onboard. No bottled water is provided free of charge.Your cabin has a refrigerator, but it is empty. There is a minimum charge for bottled water of $ 2.50 US a pop - which is almost criminal. When tendering off, travellers are not allowed to take any food or drink, but they would sell you water. Some of these excursions are 3-4 hours and many are elderly. It seemed to me unsafe to send passengers ashore without even a complimentary bottle of water - cheap, in fact. The second bug bear is the tipping regimen. Princess automatically charges you, without your knowledge, $ 12.50 US per day towards tipping their crew. This is detestable. In addition, any drinks you buy on board are subject to an additional tip - gouging comes to mind. Passengers have paid a very decent price. I will also add that the art gallery, sale and auction is shameful. Most of the garish 'art' onboard is reproduction and cheesey and does not fit with the high standard Princess says it exemplifies. I also found some of the entertainment, especially that put on by the onboard Show Time cast also trite and predictable.

Tags: Princess Cruises Princess Delivers Below the Standards It Sets For Itself

10 Answers

I will agree that the "nickel and diming" that you mentioned is a turn-off, however it is standard practice on virtually all of the mainstream lines. As far as the "art" auction, that is run by a separate entity (much the same as the shops, spa and casino are not actually run by the line). Comparing Princess to other lines I have been on (actually only compared to Carnival), I found my time on Princess to be quite satisfactory.

HI OntarioCanuck,

You should share a review of your cruise here on the site: http://cruiseline.com/ship/0/review/new

More prospective cruisers will see your comments there and your feedback ratings will officially count toward the ship's score.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Good day Ontario Canuck,

Since you seem to be relatively new to cruising, or at least been away for a while, please post your review on this site. In the information that the cruiseline or your travel agent sent you, did you not see that the tips are added every day unless you prepay them? I fully expect that by the time I cruise next to Bermuda the tip out during the trip will be 18.00 per day per person. that information is posted in the contract you receive from the company.

There are valid concerns posted occasionally about the "nickel and diming" that occurs.

We are quite prepared for that now, and your travel agent should have made you aware since it may have been a while since you cruised. I budget certain dollars for pictures and gift shop purchases. but most of the stores and other venues like the spa and casino are private businesses paying a fee to the line and cannot be guaranteed to be what you believe they should be.

I hope that you don't give up on cruising as it has changed from what it used to be. I still believe it is the best bang for my travel dollar at the moment.

Yes, there are always reasons why things are as they are - excuses to gouge you when you have paid a very good dollar. I don't buy it. If I want to tip, I will, but if service is not good, I don't. Full stop. I am fully aware of what the travel agent tells you, but it doesn't always jive. As to the onboard stores, etc., the cruise experience is supposed to be an all-inclusive. I get that you buy things if you want, but don't have me believe that I'm supposed to agree to all the extra fees and costs to suit the cruise line's agenda.

The standard lines have never been "all inclusive" They have always charged for drinks and have always added a tip for bar and spa services (in the 20 years that I have been cruising). The Auto tipping is also common on all of the major lines, you can go to the desk if you want your tips reduced. It is mentioned on the web site and should have been told to you by the TA . I have never gotten free bottled water on any cruise line.

Everything you have mentioned is common to all of the major lines. I can remember back in the 1970's and 80's mom would say if they could get a cruise for $100.00 a day each it was a good deal and that was the days before balcony cabins and when $100.00 was worth a lot more then it is now. The price to get on a ship has not gone up much since then but yes they do now nickel and dime you more with specialty dining, charging for some shows and room service now has service fee on some lines.

Welcome to the world of big ships and add-on cruising. Every item of concern you mention is applicable to all the majors as far as I can determine, the big 12 to be exact. I believe one line doesn't have the art stuff, but forget which one. This is what the huge majority of cruisers want today. However, if one wants the days of yore back, book passage on one of the fine "all inclusives".

By the way, your "minimum" bottle of water quote on Princess is in error. We cruise a lot with Princess, we have a case of 12 waiting in the cabin, for .57 cents per bottle---500 ml. It is my understanding we can get the same on board, by the case, anytime for the same price, but a case is more than enough. We order a case for a two weeker and two cases for a four, these are waiting in the cabin upon embarkation.

The cruise line majors in the industry have evolved into a business model of getting guests on board for a very low initial fee which provides them a basic cabin, all you can eat in the buffets almost 24 hours a day and three squares in the MDRs, other than that, for most amenities, services, excursions, quality dining and facilities you pay extra (some lines are now charging extra for room service). Some call it the nickel and dime game.

When we began cruising 26 years ago it wasn't like that. We do an all inclusive every so often though, Regent, but man is that expensive now, not only initially but the entire overall cruise cost. When we first began cruising on Regent we found that the total expenses for us, on an equivalent itinerary, were comparable to the billings on HAL or Princess if we factored in everything. Not anymore. So now we pay a lot of extra charges including better mini-suites and specialty dining on Princess and receive almost the same quality on most aspects of the cruise as we would receive on Regent, but for about half the overall price.

Great insight into the all inclusive cruise lines like Regent.

I did since wonder if you are paid by the cruise line industry to vet negative comments.

You mean cruiseline.com? Absolutely not! We're independent and welcome any and all reviews and comments. We didn't get to over 95,000 reviews by suppressing negative opinions.

What kind of comment or question is that, we have been honest with you here, even though you are a "travel writer". I do hate cheap shots and you just uttered one.


*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency, and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners (travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on external web sites.

Back to Top