CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Princess Cruises Coral Princess Alaska July 9, 2005

Princess Cruises really blew it with my family. Please read the following excerpts from a letter I sent them and you will see why NOT to EVER book a cruise with Princess Cruises. The bottom line is, as soon as they get your money, watch out. Because even before we got on the ship, we had problems. Here is the first letter.

Dear Mr. Ratcliff:

To say that I am upset about our recent cruise and land tour is an understatement. To begin with, this cruise was a family cruise with my elderly mother and other family members that was a once in a lifetime cruise that was a stretch to pay for financially and one that we could never, ever afford again that was ruined by Princess booking us on unrealistic flight times and connections with Alaska Airlines and the non-caring attitude I got from many of the Princess staff before and after we got off the ship.

On July 9th, we arrived at the Ontario Airport to fly to Vancouver via Seattle to pick up the Princess Ship. Well, we were informed that our flight was delayed an hour-and-a-half due to maintenance issues. Well, right there that caused us to miss our original connection to Vancouver. The flight actually left almost two hours late because of another maintenance problem and did not get into Seattle until 2:10 where we ran to try and catch the last flight to Vancouver in time to make the cruise. When we got to the gate, that flight was delayed too. Then when the flight finally arrived, they pulled that plane out of service with yet again another maintenance issue. That makes three planes all with maintenance issues. With Alaska Airlines having the absolute WORST on time flight record of the Top 20 Major Airlines (see attached article), why did Princess book us on flights that were so tight??? When I called Princess long before we ever left on our trip, I was informed by someone with an attitude that "oh Princess would never book us on flights that would make us late for our cruise, but if we wanted to change them I could pay more money." Well, I couldn't afford it, so we had to take what had already been given us. The grief that I went through and the time that I spent on the phone with Princess trying to work something out wore me out and I was so wiped out and tired I couldn't even function for two days. So, staying in Ketchikan for two days with no luggage was NO FUN.

O.K., so since we weren't going to make it to Vancouver, we were flown to Ketchikan where we were met by a Princess Representative that took us to our hotel. He was very nice and offered to stop at a store for us so we could get some travel items since Alaska Airlines lost our luggage, but we declined as we thought we would have it the next morning (we didn't get it until late that night). He assured us he would call us the next day to check in and see how we were doing. Well, we never heard from him again. We figured that the morning the cruise ship arrived in Ketchikan, we would meet downstairs around eight and call a taxi to take us to the ship. Well, just before seven that morning, we get a phone call from a Princess driver saying that they were downstairs in the lobby ready to pick us up. I had just gotten out of the shower and told them that NO ONE called us to tell us that we were going to be picked up at all. My brother, Robert Acker and his wife Kathleen were also with us and he told them that no one called us and that we would be down when we were ready. So they waited for us. When we finally made it to the ship, there was no welcome aboard from anyone, no representative of Princess to apologize to us for what happened and "is there anything we can do for you," just a here are your room keys and that's it. We didn't know where to go or anything. Fortunately, I have a good sense of direction, so we found our cabin. That day when we got on the ship, we were so tired from having to rush that morning to get downstairs, that we spent the rest of the day onboard the ship just sleeping.

Now we are up to what was suppose to be day four of the cruise(Juneau), but day two for us, my husband and son decide to go on a Princess Shore excursion and go Salmon Fishing, at $179/person. Well, the fishing went o.k., but the boat was a little late in getting back to the harbor, so the PRINCESS Van left without them. For over an hour my husband was trying to find a van, a phone number, some way to get a hold of Princess so they could get picked up. Well, he finally saw a van and soon they were on their way back to the ship, only to have the PRINCESS Van run out of gas. Well, they were over two hours late in getting back to the ship which ruined the rest of the day for me because we were suppose to go on an outing together after they got back from fishing, but we were unable to do so because it was just about time for the early seating for dinner with the rest of our family. So, so far our time spent on the cruise has not been very enjoyable.

Land Tour: While on the short bus ride to the pier, I was sitting up front with my elderly uncle in the handicapped section. I was talking to my uncle about the fast pace of the land tour and how tired I was and how I wished the two activities we were on were split into two days and not one. Well, I guess our driver "Bill" overheard me complaining to my uncle and didn't like it. When I got off the bus at the pier, he basically told me to shut up with my complaining or I would be off his bus. I was shocked. I couldn't believe a Princess employee could talk to me like that. Yes, I was complaining, but not to him. He had no right to talk to me that way and the only reason I did not respond to his comment to me was because I was with my entire family and didn't want to delay our tour any. I was ready to walk back to the hotel after that. Bill's response to my complaining was way out of line and completely unacceptable. So, when we got back to the hotel, we had a note under our door from the front desk asking us to register a credit card because there had been some room charges already signed for. The first thing I said to that was, "what room charges?" We haven't charged anything. So, I had to go downstairs and see what the problem was. Someone had signed our room number for over $41 worth of food in the restaurant the night before. When I asked what time it had been done, they told me that it was signed for at 7:41p.m. Well, I said that is ridiculous as we didn't even arrive on the train until almost 8:30 that evening. So the front desk said they would erase the charge. But you know, after dealing with everything else, I did NOT appreciate having to deal with that and I want to know how someone could sign for food using our room number and not have it verified before being allowed to leave???

The morning we flew home, we were told to be downstairs at 4:45 for a 5p.m. shuttle to the airport. Well, that was extremely difficult to get up for that, but we did, only to have to wait until almost 5:30 to get on the bus. What a joke. I am very happy that the check-in at the Fairbanks airport went so quickly or we never would have made our flight.

Just to let you readers know, when I finally did make contact with Princess, they tried to downplay everything that happened to us, calling it "a minor problem." I am more than happy to email anyone the entire text of both letters to Princess Cruises, just let me know.

Karen Husman /

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