I went on a Princess cruise this summer. Although these problems may seem minor, what upset me most about this cruise line is they did nothing to fix them or make me feel like I was a valuable customer. When I got home, I mailed this letter to the President of Princess and two other senior level people. I mailed this over a month ago and got no response. If you plan on sailing Princess and have any issues, don't expect them to be resolved or even given consideration for your feelings. Once they have your money, they don't care if you are happy or not.
July 16, 2009
Alan Buckelew President and CEO of Princess Cruises 24844 Avenue Rockefeller Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Dear Mr. Buckelew:
My husband and I vacationed on the Princess Sapphire with the rail tour after our cruise, booking number XXXXX. We are disappointed with our experience. Despite our efforts to correct some of these issues, none of the Princess Tour employees assisted us. Then when I called to talk about it to customer relations, I spoke to Raymond, and he just told me to write an email. So once again, I felt disregarded. Prior to this cruise, we sailed with Norwegian which had superior service and activities. We were looking forward to this cruise line but it will be highly unlikely we would ever sail it again and we definitely would warn our friends and family about the poor customer service. Hopefully, we will get a response from this letter to show that someone at Princess still cares about their customers.
Problems we encountered on the cruise ship
1. The nightly entertainment repeated. On Norwegian they had a different show every night and not just the cruise ship dancers. On Princess they had “Do You Wanna Dance” by the ship dancers on Sunday and Monday and “Piano Man” by the ship dancers on Thursday and Friday. Therefore, two nights on board we did not have new entertainment.
2. We could never sit by a window at dinner. Six of the seven nights we did anytime dining, and every night I asked to sit by a window, they said they don't have two person tables by the window. We don't understand why you don't have a few since you know couples will be on board. If you do, we don't understand why we always were seated as far from a window in the restaurant as possible.
3. One night, after I asked to be seated near a window, they put us against the wall, once again. Moments after we sat down, a couple were being seated near us, when they asked to be moved closer to a window, they got a better table near one. I complained to the maître d' who just apologized. He didn't offer to sit us by a window on another night or make any kind of compensation.
4. The waiter kept trying to sell us items. At dinner one night, the waiter asked us about the breakfast on our balcony about 5 times in a row. We understand being asked once, but a no should end the conversation. At this point it became harassment. I should have said something to someone else but was so aggravated and didn't want to talk about it anymore.
5. The only sit down restaurant's breakfast ended by 9:00 and didn't open for lunch until 12:00. If we did not get there by 8:30, the buffet was our only option for three and a half hours.
6. On the morning of departure, the main dining room didn't open until most passengers disembarked.
7. One day we went to get soft serve ice cream at 6:00 and the woman serving the ice cream said they closed at 6:00. We would understand if we came at 6:10 or if the machine was being cleaned, but neither were the case.
8. All the restaurants had the same menu for dinner so if we didn't want an item on that menu; our only other choice was the buffet.
9. There was no one to talk to about land excursions on the rail portion of our trip on the cruise ship. The cruise ship could only talk about their ports. We don't understand why they couldn't help us with the land excursions of the trip since it is all the same company.
10. No special event – Norwegian had midnight chocolate buffet, Royal Caribbean had midnight buffet as well.
11. Our reserved dinner in the main dining room was supposed to be by a window and it was next to the entrance.
Problems we encountered on land portion
12. We were told it was a rail tour but the majority of our trip was by motor coach. We had rail from Whittier to Talkeetna and the rest was by motor coach (Talkeetna to McKinley, McKinley to Denali, and Denali to Fairbanks)
13. The shuttles from the hotel to town cost money and they were far away from everything. In the land excursion brochure on page 26 it says shuttle is complimentary. In addition, it is a Princess bus so we don't know why it costs extra. For McKinley it was $10 round trip per person and Fairbanks it was $5 roundtrip per person.
14. We asked if we could switch the tour we were given with a lesser priced one in Denali and they would not do it. We did not pick that tour; it was assigned to us so we don't know why we were not allowed to switch to something that we would enjoy. When we went to the park, they switched it for us so I'm confused why Princess refused to do it.
15. The hotel in McKinley had neither air conditioning nor fans in the rooms. It was in the upper 80s and was very hot in the room!
16. None of the rooms on the land portion had a safe to lock up our valuables.
17. From Fairbanks to the airport they would not change the shuttle time. It had us leaving at 6:45 when the airport is 5 minutes away for a 9:30 flight and they refused to make a second trip.
18. There was a luggage fee for the Alaskan Airlines flight that we were not told about before we booked our trip.
19. We had a long layover in Anchorage when there were flights that left sooner to go to Seattle
What upsets us the most is the lack of any Princess employee's attempt to rectify even one of these items.
Lauren and Wayne
cc: Charlie Ball Jan Swartz