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Discussion in 'Princess Cruises' started by Conniemc, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    This takes nickle and diming to a new level of twenty's and fifty's. Shocking.
    I hope the long time cruisers are saavy enough to see these new "low fares" are nothing more than displaced income, which in the end, IMO, will net the cruise companies far more. They've already figured out people aren't drinking or gambling as much, so they go for the gold - your stomach. :kisses Pay up, or eat roast beef.

  2. Calgon1

    Calgon1 Guest

    Next thing you know, you'll be given a coupon book on check-in. Four coupons per person, per day. Maybe five coupons for the suite passengers. Exchange one coupon for one meal or one room service order.
  3. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Or a coupon to have your bed made, clean glassware, etc.

    How about a $30 surcharge if you use more than one roll of toilet paper?
  4. Cruise cutie

    Cruise cutie Guest

    *SIGH* drive you nuts!!....
    guess I will stick to my cruise line of choice..I do remember the "good ole days".. but this RCL tactic will simply continue to keep me OFF their ships!!..:(................If I would have even looked to book ..which I had not...
  5. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    According to the "jungle drums" Joanne, this trend will be the "new normal" for cruising. Celebrity is slowly sneaking it in and I'm sure the Carnival owned lines will follow suit. Just like the anytime dining thing...almost DIED when Celebrity did it after promising it would never happen. Nothing will surprise me now. So I used to figure $1K a week for on boards, now it will be $2k....no wonder the cruises got so cheap! Ha. Problem is, you will continue to draw new cruisers who will only pay for the cruise itself, smuggle booze, spend nothing on board, stiff the crew, etc. which IMO will ruin the cruise experience for everyone.

    Ah well....
    I'm just looking forward to seeing the sites in Europe and smoking on my balcony. I'm learning to be happy for what's left.
  6. fostersmith

    fostersmith Guest

    I just got back from a trip on Ruby Princess and I cannot tell you how cathartic it is to hear your comments. I was appaulled (sp) and disgusted by the marketing on this trip. The entire "opening show" was about how you could spend more $$$. They had photo shoots on formal night blocking the main passage way on the promonade deck. I walked right through several photo shoots blocking my way.

    I plan to stick with Celebrity but it sounds like they too are doing the same thing. Just charge me more for the trip up front!
  7. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Yup -
    I thought Ruby sucked too - but if you check out the Celeb board on the other cruise site - you'll read they are doing the same things or are 'in the works". They are all the same now (HAL, Celeb, Princess) in that order, but little difference, then you crawl down to RCL, Carnival, NCL etc. It's the end of an era. New way of life for us!!!

    Just think of the ship as transportation with minimal accomodations and you'll be fine! That's my plan. We've BEGGED them to raise the fares and return the quality - the CEOS didn't agree =huh
    My days of cruising to simply enjoy the cruise are gone baby! But then again, so is my youth
    Life is a process of saying goodbyes:(
  8. fostersmith

    fostersmith Guest

    Good to hear your comments. Sounds like I need to adjust my expectations. I may hold off and save $$$ till I can afford a high end cruise such as crystal cruises,
    Here is my assessment of the trip.

    About the reviewer
    I am a 49 Y/O married man with 2 kids ages 11 and 12. This was our 5th cruise and 2nd with Princess. I am a Naval Officer. I selected this cruise due to the itinerary and the brand new ship, Ruby Princess.

    Embarkation / Disembarkation
    Embarkation was flawless and fast. We arrived at the Port of Venice at 1130. From entrance to the terminal to boarding the ship, total time elapsed was 30 minutes. Disembarkation did not fare as well. Specifically, we opted for the “self disembarkation†status since we had our own arrangements to get to our hotel in Rome. We were off the ship by 0730 only to discover our luggage had been placed in an outdoor tent way too small for all the luggage in pouring rain. Upon entering the chaos in the tent, we found our luggage sitting in 4 inches of water! To add insult, everyone and their luggage was so jammed packed under the tent, I had to carry each back at waist level tippy toeing around passengers to get out. With all our clothes wet, it meant wearing the same clothes for another 2 days.


    As in the past with Sea Princess, room and restaurant service was top notch. Our steward and waiter would do anything to ensure our satisfaction. One note of difference, the servers in the buffet area were exceptional. From the moment you sat down till the moment you left, someone was always ensuring your coffee was hot and your juice glasses filled. If however, you tried to get a drink using your free refill card in any show lounge, FORGET IT, servers avoided us like the plague.

    Ruby Princess gets failing grades with the pursers’ desk, the two Brazilian individuals in particular were no less than awful, acting annoyed if your needs were not simple and quick. In addition, another area terribly concerning was the level of response to a legitimate health concern within the room. Immediately upon initial arrival in our stateroom (235 Aloha Deck) we noticed an overpowering smell of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) like varnish or paint thinner. My wife was experiencing an immediate reaction of headache, nausea and dizziness. Princess staff acted as if there was no smell. It was not until I identified myself as someone with a Masters in Occupational Health they began taking action. It took 4 hours to get a response to our concern whereby we were offered a temporary alternate cabin for the night. Needless to say, our port day in Venice was ruined.


    This particular cruise was very port intensive, calling on 10 ports in 12 days including Venice where we were docked a day and a half before leaving. Each stop was very beautiful. What was very disappointing was how early we were required to pull out each afternoon (4:30-5:30). Trips between ports of call taking 3-4 hours by regional ferries (such as Athens to Mykonos) required we take 12-14 hours, crawling at 10 knots. We can only assume Princess wanted us on board to spend money or they were too cheap to burn fuel a higher rate. With excursions getting back at 3:30 or 4:30, it left little or no time to legitimately explore on your own.

    Also of note, when 3080 passengers plus some crew descend upon quaint ports such as Mykonos or Santorini, you will find yourself dodging massive crowds and tour groups of 30- 40 people, not exactly relaxing.


    Food was hit or miss, overall I would rate is 3.5 out of five. In general, we found the food in the buffet area for dinner to be bland and lacking. I offer some details of foods not to be missed and foods better left alone.

    Foods not to be missed
    -Pizza (YUM!)
    -Fettuccini Alfredo in main dinning room (best I have ever had anywhere)
    -Chocolate cake in main piazza pastry shop
    -Pork Belly in main dining room
    -NY cheese cake

    Foods better left alone
    -Steaks (any and all) in main dining area, they were bland and tough
    -mousse –they tasted like eating grease
    -chocolate cakes in buffet area (bland)
    -Scrambled eggs in buffet, powered, YUCK.

    On board experience

    Overall Princess get high marks for keeping 3000 passengers apart using clever tactics such as two show rooms offering the same shows twice in a row so passengers can view both shows over two separate nights. One feature that really really jumped out at us was how Princess constantly marketed to us. The “Welcome Aboard Show†featured 45 minutes of Princess hocking their wares, showing all the places you could spend additional $$ such as the optional dinning rooms, very disappointing. If you are planning a cruise on Ruby, skip the opening show unless you like be shaken down to spend money. On the first formal night there were no less than six photography stations set up, two blocking main passage way. I made no apologies for waling right through a photo shoot taking place directly in the path of passenger along the main Promenade deck. Spirits, beer and wine are reasonably priced from 3.50-7.00.

    Concluding remarks

    Overall, the trip was nice, but I would caution expecting rest and relaxation. With more time in each port and less being marketing to, the experience might have been more enjoyable and relaxing.
  9. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Guess what? You took the IDENTICAL trip I'm taking in November on the Grand. I chose to avoid "high season" (I hate the heat and crowds), so with a slightly smaller ship and off season, the crowds shouldn't be an issue for me. The Grand however, is old and hasn't been dry docked in some time, so I'm expecting her to be beat up.

    However, I took this sailing for ports only. First time I've done that in 32 years of cruising (started at 16). So, I chose a great cabin location and I love the intineary, so I figured that's the best I can do. I really disliked everything about Ruby's SIZE...just waaay too big for my taste, like the new Celebrity's monsters. The only thing I enjoyed on Ruby (it was Christmas time) was the piazza was decorated beautifully and very pretty. The Ruby was my first Princess cruise. It would have been my last, but then the world changed, and now we have no more "Celebrity Treatment" to jump back to. I'm Elite with X, and have a Bermuda cruise booked in April just (again) for the port. I miss Bermuda. And I got 6132? 6136? (I think) which is A HUGE aft cc cabin for less than $2K. However, that sailing is still darn near empty, leaving me to wonder if the sailing itself will be cancelled. Time will tell.

    Yes, cruise lines always use the rule of thumb DENY DENY DENY....it's required to be employed on a ship. About 8-10 years ago, the lawyers all started getting together and deciding that employees must never make an "admission of guilt" regardless of what horrific thing you experienced. Any compensation (never an apology - again for legal reasons) is handled by their headquarters in Miami AFTER you are home. So, that part doesn't surprise me in the least.

    Heard all about the steak issues, will steer clear (pun intended). Cruise pizza though, sorry, can't stomach it. I'm used to Jersey pizza, not Pizza Hut stuff. I've also heard about the fettuccini - and will try it. My Ruby cruise I was stuck with Anytime, and since I travel alone, ate my meals at the buffet. This time around I made sure I got fixed early seating. I want the same waiter, etc.

    I too was shocked (after being so used to Celeb) that everything was powdered, from coffee to eggs to hot cocoa. Yuk is right! So, at least I know I can't get real hot cocoa on a Princess ship now. I don't mind "crawling" along on the ship, as it's such an active cruise, with so many ports, I'm sure I'll enjoy resting on the veranda at the end of each day, and watching the mediterranean coast float by.

    I'm confused by one thing - self disembarkation means you take your OWN luggage off the ship with you. They do not handle the bags. I generally take this option, however, I arranged airport transfer through them (since the port is so far from the Rome airport) so I guess I'll pray for no rain.

    So, please tell me which excursions you chose for the ports, which sucked, which were great, etc. as I will be booking my excursions next month. Also, please tell me since you board Venice and don't leave until the next afternoon, can you take excursion on embarkation day - or must they be short ones the following morning before you set sail? That confuses the heck out of me, as I've never boarding a ship that didn't go anywhere until the following afternoon.

    What was your favorite part of Santorini?

    OH, and I agree, the next time I cruise for the cruise experience, it will be with Crystal or Regent.
  10. fostersmith

    fostersmith Guest

    Great to hear back from you. :wave I have sent my comment to customer service to Princess, trying too stick to facts.
    Here are some things you need to know. All ports are at pier except Santorini Greece.

    WARNING you will be exhaused if you try and take tours at every port. Most tours required you be at the theater by 0800 or 0815. Also, WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. We and everyone else were moaning and groaning about our feet. Do not choose shoes that make a fashion statement or you will be sorry.

    We did no tours in Venice, you can easily do a tour of the Douches Palace on your own. Princess includes a boat pass to get from the port to Piazza San Marcos which takes about 20 minuites. You will be charged 15 dollars for each pass unless you return them unused to the pursers desk before Greece. We arragned a stay at the Sofitel Hotel near Piazzella Roma and walked to the ship. BTW, be sure and drop you luggage off at the tent located to your right as you enter the port, otherwise you will have to divert there after checking in. There is no luggage drop off at the terminal building.

    Disembarkation- Everyone who self disembarks is required to turn in their luggage the night before. This is new and different. There were no less than 1,000 pieces of luggage under the small tent waiting to be reclaimed by 9 disembarkation groups.
    1) Dubrovnik WOW! one of the best stops. Take a tour of the walled city (only) and allow yourself time to walk around the city after a formal tour. There are buses back to the ship for a small fee. We took an all day tour and felt rushed in the old city.

    2) Corfu - take cab into the old city for 10 Euros, then walk around, very nice and scenic. We elected to swim here at a location we found on our own. There are no sandy beaches, only ladders down the the rocks. We swam amongst fish in very clear warm water, very nice and refreshing.

    3) Katakolon - Apparently there is a train to the ancient site of Olympia, we took a tour. Doing the ancient olympia and beach combo we felt ripped off, our guide was not very informative. The site itself was very hot, the beach much cooler.

    4) Athens - Took an all day tour, very very crowded. I was stunned at how many tour groups were headed up the Acropolis. Tour was very good, great guide, did the acropolis, ancient city of athens (agora), lunch and tour of greek temple.

    5) Mykonos - Ship docks about 1 mile away from town, Princess charges $7 for R/t ticket, city bus avaiable direct for 1.4 Euros eaech way. Again, misserable experience trying to weave through all the slow walkers and tour groups in the city. Stay away from the tourist trap restaurants along the water front. There are some nice restaiurants further in for far less $$$. The town itself if beutiful, we ruinded it by decending upon it in mass.

    6) Kusadasi (Ephasis). Be AWARE, the Turkish venders treat women like garbage, don't take offense, it is a culteral thing. the tour we took was an all day affair but good. We took best of Kusadasi. I could have skipped the meal and the rug making demonstration which was nothing more than a very high pressure sales tactic. They shut you into a room then show you thier rugs. I have to believe Princess is in bed with them as this is a "formal tour". We asked the gentleman blocking the door to please move, then walked out.

    7) Rhodoes, no tour, ship docks right next to old town (walled city) and you can walk to the castle and take a self guided tour.

    9) Santorini Best port. Get off the ship early to avoid a long line to get up the gondola. Getting ashore was quick, but we waited 1 hour in line to get up the caldera. Once on top, with your back to the water head left along the rim, you will find a paved path. I found it to be great excerise, most all of it up hill. You will be rewarded with stunning views of both the area and the ship below.

    Naples - I was stationed in Italy, so I skipped the tourist stuff and went straight to Capri and Marina Picolla to swim among the cliffs and clear blue water. If you have never been there, my advice is to take a tour to Pompeii. Sorento is a cute town too. The archeological museum in downtown in one of the best in Europe housing many of the treasures from Pompeii. Regretably that will be most of your day as it is located about 45 mins away by bus. Don't waste your time downtown, Naples is a filthy.
    I was reminded of this upon our return from Capri. We had time to kill so we walked around, it is not less filthy than is was 10 years ago.

    Great to hear from you, let me know what else you need.


    Foster Smith
  11. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Funny stuff :lol and great info. Strange about the new disembarkation thing...must be a new customs problem they have. They must need more time to inspect your stuff?

    Well, I can assure you that once the Turkish men meet a Jersey Irish Aries, they will have met their match. :X

    I'm most looking forward to (and chose this sailing for) Santorini. Been to the Italian and French Riviera. I'm printing out your info to compare with the tours I have checked off. Having been on so many cruises, you get to know - never take a tour that involves "a stop to see "fill in the blank", wine making, rug making, glass blowing, etc" as it's always a forced tourist trap. I can't WAIT to get to the top of the Caldera. And I've chosen tours (again, from experience) that take less than 4-5 hours tops, as the really long ones usually involve unwanted stops and wasted time.

    I didn't intend to "do" Mykonos, as it seemed to me to be like Portifino. Like the Peggy Lee song says, "is that all there is"? I'll probably just walk around town, and yup, I've got the flat comfy shoes. I don't like to do "American" when abroad, i.e. t-shirts, belly bags and sneeks, but prefer to be comfortably stylish.

    I was going to skip Capri, because it involved an "all day" tour...which I avoid. It is a must see? There won't be any swimming in early November, but I'm sure I'll enjoy all the sights.

    Were you able to purchase Euros on board, and if so, could you put them on your on board account? I'm not terribly concerned with the exchange rate, I won't be needing that many. The ATMs are a much bigger ripoff than the exchange rate on board.

  12. fostersmith

    fostersmith Guest

    You would enjoy Capri just for its beuty. DO NOT get Euros on the ship, it is robbery. Use your ATM at any bank in Europe, they spit out Euros at a reasonable rate with no fees. You can get Euros at Banco di Roma (turn right once you exit customs) and proceed to the end of the terminal at Marco Polo Airport. Also, take the blue ACTV bus, not the water shuttle or taxi, much cheaper and fast. ACTV blue busis right out in front of the terminal, 3 Euros per person with luggage storage underneith the bus. There are persons who speak English if you need help and they give change.

  13. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    My plane gets in around noon, so I should be on board around 2pm or so.

    Will I have time to get to Verona and see the sights? Do you know if Princess offered an excursion to Verona? Since it's a 3 hour round trip drive, I'm afraid I won't get to see it.
  14. fostersmith

    fostersmith Guest

    I have posted some photos to view. This sight is weird as it requires you to sign in under two diffent accounts, one for comments, one for photos. http://www.cruise-addicts.com/photogallery/main.php

    You best use Ruby's tours to get to Verona as Italian trains are notibly unreliable. I am not sure about bus service there, unless like us, you have an overnight in Venice. I also found, arriving 2 days early allowed for much better enjoyment due to time zone adjustment. You may want to get a script for Ambien so you are refreshed when you arrive.

    best of luck

  15. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Wow...very cool pics. Thanks! Looks gorgeous.

    Princess does offer several tours of Verona, but again, who knows if they can offer them when we leave Venice early afternoon? I'll have to wait until 120 days out to find out what's definitely offered. Your pics have me very excited about the trip...thanks again!
  16. Parrot Mom

    Parrot Mom Guest

    X(This is hysterical... on another board who shall remain nameless all these complaints about Princess would have you banned for life..SERIOUS!! Even Parrot Pop who doesnt say much.. when we got back from Devils island they handed us frozen wash cloths..and being used to the Çelebrity service. he asked "if there was a charge".. no welcome back, no cold drink.. just a frozen cloth. and I think that was the only port where they did that offer one a 14 day/night cruise.. Cleanliness..well, never saw anybody cleaning railings, making sure you used hand sanitizer, etc..one bathroom the sink was broken.. but G-d forbid you complain about being nickled and dimed the Princess die hards go off on you.. Since the ship was small didn't notice the intrusive photographers, but I have to admit... we bought a wonderful picture of the two of us.. and I'm fussy.. It drives me crazy to get off the ship and have the photographer in your face as you try to leave..Talk about Pursers..I've never been on a ship where the Pursers I gave the lowest mark.. Other cruisers said there were a few who didn't understand english.. When I tried to call the cabin of a friend..I had to spell Casey..several times..each time.. Had a major problem with a lost watch which I discovered had been turned in...when I demanded to see the Security officer the Purser (same guy) told me not to raise my voice to him...Got the watch back..
  17. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Yes, some boards are heavily financed by the cruise lines and critiques are not terribly welcome...however true they may be

    MAJOR EYEROLL...it is what it is

  18. Parrot Mom

    Parrot Mom Guest

    BOY, have I been naive all these years......:girly
  19. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Well, I will say one thing. When there is a problem, I firmly state what needs to be done to retifiy it and ask to speak only to the Hotel Director. I don't yell and scream. I'm polite, but firm. 99% of the time, that works. When it doesn't, I calmly ask for the business cards of each individual who did not do their job to my satisfaction and take it up with the executive offices when I return.

    Ship happens....I try not to ever let it ruin my trip and I try to avoid situations where I know I may be disappointed (bad cabin, ship, etc.)

    My upcoming Princess cruise, I am already aware will be on old ship. I'm fine with that. I paid less than $2K for a BD, and they are now over $4K....

    I think my biggest problem was being so spoiled by the old Celebrity, that it infuriated me when that service disappeared and even more so, when I "stepped down" to Princess. But I've had 6 months to accept the death of cruising. I've went through all the stages of grief - denial, anger, etc.
    I'm now over it and look forward to getting to Europe and seeing some NEW beautiful destinations. I never want to see another Carribean Island, Panama Canal, Cartegena as long as I live....that was fine when the ship itself was my entertainment. Now it's all about the destination for me.
  20. wave runner

    wave runner Guest

    Hi Connie,

    I could not agree with you more on that one! Given what happens on that "other" board, I was not all that shocked to read about the program by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines who have formed a group called "Champions" and even rewards members who post on cruise information boards. It is a shame, but as you said .... it is what it is.

    The nickel & dime stuff is now going on all cruise lines, with Art Sales, Wine tasting sales, and now they even have started a fine crystal sales promotion on some cruise lines. I guess, I have a different take on these sales and just ignore them and go about my business of having a great time. One positive thing about all those sales is that the revenue to the cruise lines from the sales does allow the cruise lines to keep my cruise price lower!

    This May I was on the Island Princess to Alaska for a b2b and was very impressed with the service, food, entertainment and practically all aspects of the cruises.

    It was great to be back in Alaska again, especially after a simply miserable cruise to Alaska on Celebrity a couple of years ago. Got burned with those pesky propulsion problems on the Celebrity mclass ships and then to top it off Celebrity started feeding the passengers false information to cover up all the things we were going to miss because of the problem. If it was a one time thing it would be just one of those things, but since my cruise, the same problem has happened five more times with the last being on the Celebrity Millennium while cruising in Australia in March of this year. This last failure resulted in much the same thing that happened to me with two missed ports and port times shortened.

    BTW, hope you have a great cruise and it sounds fantastic. Please post and let us know what your impressions were.


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