Sea Princess Cruise Review to South Pacific

Contributor Level: Purser

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

2 out of 5

Cruise Director appalling performance

Sail Date: April 17, 2015

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Oceanview

The following is the description of the unsatisfatory incident initiated by the Cruise Director on the Sea Princess on Voyage C510  Sydney to Hawaii and return (35 days) -17th April to 22nd May, 2015.


The following outcomes are sought:

1. Disciplinary action to be taken against the Cruise Director for his actions in this matter and communicated to the veterans on this voyage;

                 2. ​A written apology to all veterans who sailed on this voyage;

                 3.​ An apology from Princess Cruises to the Australian Returned Services League for the hurt and embarrassment experienced by the veterans on          this cruise, particularly toward their history and ​heritage  


What follows are the facts of the ANZAC Day incident, the role of the Cruise Director, culminating in his untruthfulness to the Captain Martin Stenzle, and to the veterans on more than one occasion!


On Monday, 20th April, 2015,  via the Princess Patter, by the Cruise Director, of all veterans on board to discuss the arrangements for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings of the ANZAC forces. This is a highly significant event, especially the 100 year anniversary to Australian and New Zealand military personnel and veterans. 


This meeting was scheduled for 11am, Tuesday 21st April, in the Premier Cruise Lounge, with approximately 40 veterans attending. Unfortunately, the Cruise Director was some 40 minutes late with no apology and the group, feeling confused  elected an ex merchant mariner to fill in for about 40 minutes until the Cruise Director arrived.


The Cruise Director's opening statement was that as he was British and didn't know what the history re Anzac Day was all about, he was at a loss for the fuss. He also stated that he had received a load of paperwork from head office, but didn't understand what to do with it. 


His next statement was that we, the veterans, should form a small working committee and come up with an order of service, inserting the names of those that wished to participate in the service, and get back to him as soon as practicable. He then left after a total attendance time of approximately 10 minutes.


The disappointed, shocked and stunned veterans then formed a committee of eight, myself ex RAN, Mr Barry Neal, ex RNZAC Chaplain (Rank) Major, an ex RAN Lieutenant, an ex SAS Major, an ex RNZAC Staff Sergeant, master mariner, and the two who would cast the wreath over the side.


We decided to continue our meeting given the short time frame as Wednesday 22 April and Friday 24 April were both shore days, and the 25th being a Saturday, the day we crossed the International Dateline at 4pm. Therefore we would be the first Australians/New Zealanders' to celebrate this momentous occassion of the 100th year anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign.


We mapped out a rough service and went to the Internet Cafe and logged on the AWM site to check that we had it correct. The AWM had published a special Commemorative Anzac Address for the 100th anniversary, so we inserted same.


After cutting and pasting we came up with a service format, together with inserting veterans names to carry out readings and wreath "laying" interspersed with Captain Martin Stenzles' contribution re readings and in particular, the Commemorative Address.


The next task was to try and communicate with the Cruise Director. This proved to be difficult so we contacted the Customer Services Director, James Eaton, who said he would pass our proposed service on to the Cruise Director and instruct him to ring us. This was Tuesday afternoon, the 21st April.


At approximately 1830 that evening I received a telephone call from the Cruise Director saying that he couldn't meet that night but would ring the next day - Wednesday 22. April at 1600 hours and arrange a place meet, to which I agreed, even though it was a shore day. I agreed to return onboard early for this important meeting. 


The next day - Wednesday 22 April I was in my stateroom by 1515 awaiting the phone call from the Cruise Director. No phone call was made by the Cruise Director to me. I waited until 1730 the went back to report this to the Customer Services Director, James Eaton . He  assured me the Cruise Director would be in touch within the hour, and this occurred at 1810.


Extraordinarily he stated that he did not make such an appointment but upon being challenged by myself he experienced recall and confessed he had forgotten his commitment to call.  He then promised to call a meeting for the next day, Thursday, 23rd April, in the Razmatazz nightclub at 1600.  At the same time Chaplain, ex RNAC Staff Sergeant and ex RAN Lieuteant attempted to find him but were unsuccessful.


Taking into consideration that Friday, 24th was another shore day, Apia, and the inability of any passengers to contact the Cruise Director, the group was rapidly losing confidence in the Cruise Director.


This feeling was justified when we met with the Cruise Director, as when he walked in, on time, he threw three printed copies of the order of service, on a table and stated that the Captain did not want any input from the veterans in the service at all. I asked him to repeat that statement, which he did then stated that the order of service, as printed, would be the official one and no corresponded would be entered into. After a minute or so of stunned silence he was asked why we had been asked to partake in the process, and he replied that they had to be seen as co-operating with the veterans. I then stated to him that he had to insert the Commemorative Anzac Address which had been given to him and he graciously agreed to insert same. 


The only two participants in the conducting of the service were therefore, the Cruise Director and the Captain. He also conceded that a veteran could march the wreath from deck 12 up to deck 14 and cast it over the side. He was also asked about a traditional 'gunfire breakfast' including coffee with a tot of rum and said that if we wanted that we could go up to the Horizon Buffet, but there would be no rum in the coffee as the company could not afford it.


At 0600 on the 25th April, I was among the first people arrived for the service commencing at 0630. The Cruise Director was asked if he could reserve the front 3 rows of seats for the veterans but he refused, saying it was too difficult. 

The musicians organised by the Cruise Director played the wrong music to the hymn 'Abide with Me', causing much consternation with those trying to sing, and the trumpeter did not know what the Reveille was so it was deleted altogether.


At the conclusion of the Dawn Service I approached the Captain and informed him that he had a lot of disgruntled veterans as we were told by the Cruise Director that he, the Captain, had stated that no veterans were to participate in the service. To say Captain Stenzle was shocked would be an understatement, as he said that the Cruise Director had reported to him that the veterans did not want to participate in the service, save transporting the wreath and casting it over the side!


I looked Captain Stenzle squarely in the eye and said that the Cruise Director was an out and out liar and I do not say that lightly, but he has been lying to both parties. To say that Captain Stenzle was shocked at this revelation would be an understatement, together with the look of shock on the face of the Hotel General Manager, Ricardo Capraro, who did not say anything but immediately went to the Cruise Director and started talking to him.


The Captain was appalled with this situation and immediately asked me if I would partake in the 1100 service, reading the Ode, to which I accepted.





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