My wife and I have just returned from our twelfth cruise with Princess Cruises and we can honestly say it was our worst cruise to date. Followed very closely by the last time we were on the Caribbean Princess, which was in December 2017. Apart from the obvious, it was particularly disappointing because during the cruise we became members of the prestigious Elite Captain Circle having now completed 154 days cruising.
We departed Heathrow Airport flying BA at 14:15 and after a 9 hour flight we arrived at Miami International Airport. Immigration at Miami was very efficient and very quick. We were met by Princess reps as we emerged from baggage pick up and were told to take a seat and that we would be on our way to the hotel in about half an hour, transfer would take about the same time. To cut a long story short, it was 3 hours before we walked into the hotel. The main issue was that the coach sent to transfer us to the hotel could not accommodate all the luggage. It was a comedy of errors watching the guys trying to fit everything in. We could all see after 5 minutes that it wasn’t going to work and that additional taxis would be needed. However, it took Princess over an hour to realise the same. After a 9 hour flight, all we wanted to do was relax in the hotel not spend 3 hours in transit. We had similar problems last time transferring from the Airport to the hotel. The Princess representatives did not appear to have any basic organisational skills.
The ship appeared to have an engine problem that we knew about after our last cruise. Apparently, it’s not being fixed until next year. We were told the ship was running on one engine, consequently, we spent less time at some ports, we knew about this but what we didn’t realise was that it affected the stability of the ship. This was the roughest cruise we’d ever been on. Not the roughest seas but the roughest ship. We got little to no information from the Captain as to what was happening and many of the passengers suffered with sea sickness. The Captain was conspicuous by his absence for most of the cruise, not something we have previously experienced on other ships.
We went into Trinidad, as one of the stops and were advised not to travel alone as it was too dangerous. Not a good choice by Princess. Apparently, someone had been shot just outside the docks area the week before.
At St Kitts, we had to tender, which was not on the schedule and a number of the ports were just container docks. This is something that is becoming more common on Princess Cruises.
Administration on board was very poor. We experienced, along with others, mistakes on the bill. Mistakes in disembarkation tags being given for Fort Lauderdale Airport instead of Miami and visa visa.
The service staff were friendly but rushed off their feet, not having time to discuss your needs. Waiter service at the bars was slow. 15 minutes to get your drink was not unusual. Steward service was not up to standard. When we arrived we found the ice bucket, still in the fridge, half full of water, obviously from the past passengers. There was also an airline blanket thrown on the floor, goodness knows where that came from.
Much of the entertainment was organised at strange times, clashing with mealtimes. For instance, The Voice heats had been held during the afternoons. The final was arranged to coincide with the late dining.
Food quality and selection fell short of what we expect from Princess. I lost count of the number of times I sent back my steak for being overcooked.
If Princess has an evening dress code, they should enforce it. Numerous times we entered the lift with people in vest t-shirts and shorts. Perhaps we are too traditional, in which case, we will cruise with Cunard in the future.
Many, many people were complaining about this cruise. Not a good advertisement for Princess.
I am advising anyone that has booked on the Caribbean Princess to think again.
I was in customer services for thirty years, if you do have independent people who monitor service quality, they are failing.