Princess: How can you be so tacky?



Just got back from my very FIRST cruise aboard the
GOLDEN Princess that sailed out of San Juan to
New York City, originally scheduled May 1-8.

Being this is my first cruise with Princess (I am
a devoted RCCL member with 5 cruises under my
belt), I would have rated Princess very high on overall

...that is, until the tackiness the cruise line showed
towards its travelers this past weekend.

On Saturday evening the Golden Princess got caught
in a rather nasty storm while heading up the Atlantic
seaboard towards New York City.

The Captain made a very brave decision not to push ahead
ahead any further. He slowed the ship and announced that
the NYC arrival would be delayed by one day.

I have to applaud the Captain's decision. He took into
consideration the safety of the travelers over meeting any
scheduling deadlines. After all, the Golden Princess was
due to leave NYC on its scheduled arrival day for a
Transcontinental sailing out towards the Mediterannian.

There is a huge nasty side-effect that comes with a decision
like this to delay arrival. We experienced those side-effects
first-hand and were sort of put off with the manner in which
Princess tried to make additional monies over distressed
passengers who were GREATLY inconvenienced by the added
day of travel.

Imagine all the people on board who had plane tickets back
home out of NYC area airports. Imagine the people who had
limousine or family rides lined up. Imagine the people that had
to be back at work on Monday and were losing a day's pay for
not being back on time.

I have never seen a ship full of discouraged passengers who
were full of panic over how they were going to get home.

The only help that we saw Princess provide these people
inconvenienced by THEIR decision was that they made a
phone available at the Purser's desk that you had to wait
on a line that was ALWAYS a two-three hours wait to use at
any given point of the day.

Princess also offered to help reschedule airline itineraries
for those who booked airfare through Princess but claimed
they could help no-one that scheduled a flight on their own.

This is where it gets real tacky....

There are phones avalailable in every room aboard the ship.
Princess should have provided ONE free phone call out of
room for any passenger that was put out by the rescheduling
decision. Instead, they made oodles of money from passengers
who called from their rooms rather than wait on a 3-hour line
for a free phone call. The call from a room? A standard $4.95
per minute with NO discount offered.

Furthermore, Princess had the audacity to charge everyone
an extra $10 on their bill for gratuity on a day that ultimately
inconvenienced a huge portion of people who were traveling
that week.

Before anyone slams me for making complaints about all
these extra charges, let me make something clear....

I realize that the Captain made a decision that I agreed with
all in the name of providing passengers with the utmost safety.


There are people who were greatly inconvenienced and lost a
lot of money because of that decision. People missed flights.
People had Broadway show tickets and sightseeing plans
that were abruptly cancelled. People missed work and probably
lost pay.

Why does Princess feel they have to further profit off of these
people? Couldn't they offer a free phone call from the room or
perhaps at the very least, a reduced rate? Did Princess really
feel it necessary to tack on an extra $10 gratuity for a day that
wasn't scheduled? I am all for taking care of the staff through
tips, but I am certain the staff can understand this sort of
inconvenience affects EVERYONE.

And couldn't Princess have gone the extra mile to help those
that did not book their airfare through the parent company?

I'm really saddened how a wonderful cruise that was so much
better than any RCCL cruise I have ever been on had gone
suddenly sour because Princess wanted to scrape a couple
extra dollars from inconvenienced travelers.

And you know what? Before you flame me for making these
points, I'd like to hear the opinions of those that were on the
same cruise we were on. I'd like to hear their stories and how
they feel about the manner in which Princess handled some of
these extra charges.



It seems that both Princess and RCCL have a lot to learn from NCL (money back and discounted rates on another cruise) about taking care of passengers after incidents. I know 3 different families that were on the Grandeur when she struck the dock and they enjoyed the cruise up to that point, but were greatly disappointed in how RCCL handled the passengers after the incident. It sounds like Princess is being penny wise dollar foolish. It seems like these two lines do not know how to deal with passengers when things unavoidably go wrong.


The ironic thing is that they probably would not have made this decision if not for the 70 foot wave incident creating exactly the opposite complaints (and tons of bad PR) a month ago.

> And couldn't Princess have gone the extra mile to help those
> that did not book their airfare through the parent company?

The short story is that this is the reason for purchasing the "insurance" of air fare through Princess (or the other lines). With Princess air, they can rebook whatever flights they want to. With someone else's air, they have no right to do so and would have to get the person on the line, select a specific flight, etc. Essentially they'd be providing a higher level of service to people who took the risk of booking directly. It's not nice, but this is simple business. If they did it otherwise, the people who booked air through Princess would (understandably) be rather upset.

I agree with you about the tip. They may have needed to do this to get the staff paid, but should have offset it with a $10 credit per pax.

I agree with you on the phone call too. Other lines have given a few minutes for free, so maybe just give a $15 or $20 credit per cabin. Those who didn't panic or who wanted to send email instead would get equal consideration that way.

I am curious what the people on the next voyage got for losing a day. I'm guessing they got some cabin credit, but I don't think we'll hear for awhile.

Princess Pat

I am a long-time "Princess Air Sucks" member but, from your post, I'm feeling a bit better about sitting in airports for hours and hours and hours (and then, on US Airways, being asked to give up my seat), flying over my home at one of the nation's busiest airports to take a 45 minute flight back, and many more abuses (like, last row offset seats and rarely being seated with your spouse). I do have to say the going part is a bit better nowadays than the coming-home part.

Cruiseaholic did report that Email access was provided free of charge, so that may have helped a bit.

Sorry for the inconvenience but glad y'all were safe. Thanks for the post we'll add your experience to our things to consider list when scheduling a cruise.


Lady Jag

I agree that the $10 pp gratuity should've been waived, along with internet fees. They should've also allotted one free phone call from each stateroom. It's really not a lot to ask. With that one phone call, those that booked their own air could've rearranged their plans.

It was a good decision, it's just the stuff that happened afterwards that should've been handled better.


Something else I'd like to add....

Nobody likes to have the cruise lines arrange your flights.

You may save a little money, but more than often you get
assigned connecting flights or flights that are badly scheduled.

For most of the people that have experienced cruise-arranged
airfare, you know just how bad a deal it can be.

That cruise line inconvenienced everyone. They should have
better taken care of everyone regardless of their cruise arranged
flight status.

While Internet access was made available, try to get into that cafe
with a line just as long as the one at the purser's desk. I was using
wireless internet and I certainly got no credit for its use after the delay
announcement was made.

I really hope Princess learns from this.

You think the important execs from the cruise line read these forums?


Lady Jag Wrote:
> They should've
> also allotted one free phone call from each
> stateroom. It's really not a lot to ask.

Well, actually it might be. Anybody out there know what kind of capacity they have for phone calls?

Assuming a 15 minute call for 1000 cabins, that is 250 *hours* of phone time. I wouldn't be surprised if they only have capacity for a dozen phone calls simultanously. (Why would they? How many people pay $5 a minute for calls routinely?) With 12 lines this would be 21 hours straight, which realistically means most of 2 days. They would have the same problem Ronbo mentioned about the internet cafe. I'd bet those that did get a computer experienced really slow service too.

So then the question becomes should they have *on every ship* the equipment to handle a 100 calls simultaneously? 200 calls? Plus a contract for dynamic satellite bandwidth, or capacity on demand? And of course, there are the potential problems with satellite communications when you're in or right next to a storm.

It can be done... but how much extra are you willing to pay on every cruise just in case you're on the one that gets delayed? $5? $10? $50? For my money, I'll just tell my boss to call 1800-princess if I don't show up on Monday. ;)

They really should have refunded the wireless access though... you should write them about that. I'm guessing you paid up front and so the time you used after the announcement was part of a package. Still pretty cheap of them.

I have to wonder if they couldn't have come up to the coast and let people use their cell phones. Probably too dangerous in the storm, but if they could get within a few miles and still in deep water...

Perhaps what they should offer is for each cruiser to submit email addresses before the cruise, and if the return is delayed they send a generic message to all those people. You could add your boss, your pickup from the airport, etc. That would cost them almost nothing... when their web presence gets beyond a 1995 level of technology anyway...


Hi, I was on this ship, also. I agree with your logic about the number of lines available for phone calls being the reason that the purser's desk was the only option that Princess probably had..... although I think if they announced that fact, it would have been easier for passengers to understand.

I did wait in line for internet service and found out that it was free while in line for a while ( I am Platinum so it is free for me anyways. ) Since I live within car service of NYC, I was able to send two emails, one to a family member who rearranged the car service, extended the dogs stay at the vet, and the other to work to explain my delay. Again, Princess did not announce that the internet was free, either. And, it was slow . Strangely, the computers on the right side as you enter the room are slower than on the left. And, on the last two days, the system was just clogged. On the bright side, passengers were very polite to each other and used minimal time.

All in all we were just a victim of life's circumstances. Had we plunged on through the storm on Saturday there could have been nastier side effects of the storm. The captain did announce that since the storm was traveling north, we would not be able to outrun it and more than likely would have spent longer in the middle of it.. I am not so sure that I expect princess to compensate me for something beyond their control. To me, that is why you buy insurance.

That said, I think they need to work on a backup plan to be more efficient about giving assistance to their passengers when something causes the delays. Weather appears to be a consistant possiblitliy year round. There didn't appear to be any organization about offering assistance - I never got the impression that they wanted the inconvenience to be minimized for the passengers. The attitude appeared to be, hey you are on the ship an extra day anyway,. Please note that I did not actually speak to the purser's desk and I say that appeared to be their attiude. perhaps someone who actually used their services can correct my impression.

I do have one question, though. Each time I have been buying insurance, I end it the day I expect to be back. Next time I will extend it for a couple of days, because had I needed to use it for the trip back, I don't think I would have been covered because the trip was extended past my originally planned last day. Any thoughts on this??

So, yes Princess could have been a little more accomodating, maybe given some thought to organizing the free phone calls. I did feel sorry for those who needed to stand in the line because it lasted all day and into the nite. On the last day, I saw that they put out water for those on line, and also seemed to have more staff members with clipboards, going up and down the line speaking with passengers. However I don't know what they were doing.

I guess, that the extra $10 per person did not bother me because I did use all of the normal staff services and received the same great service I received all week.

I will still cruise Princess and just chalk it up to uncontrollable events.


marye Wrote:
> I do have one question, though. Each time I have
> been buying insurance, I end it the day I expect
> to be back. Next time I will extend it for a
> couple of days, because had I needed to use it for
> the trip back, I don't think I would have been
> covered because the trip was extended past my
> originally planned last day. Any thoughts on
> this??

I would *guess* that the extra day would be covered, at least with a comprehensive policy. A comprehensive policy also covers the flights, and losses due to the flight delays, right? (I've never paid really close attention since I drive to Galveston.) If that is the case, it would have to cover some time before and after to cover the flights. I'm sure there is some limit, but surely someone can fly in or out a few days early or late and it would still be covered? Given that it is "trip insurance" I'd say an extension of the trip for reasons outside your control would have to be covered, to a reasonable extent of course.

However, you'd have to ask the company on that to know for sure.
And even then you might not know for sure. ;)


Princess customer service asked me to fax my concerns and receipts for the delay expense of our trip. I faxed them on Monday and received a postcard stating they are reviewing my letter. I think that is exceptionally fast! We'll see how much they will cover.

For us, it was parking fees, a taxi from NYC port to EWR (our friend in Elizabeth couldn't pick us up on Monday, only Sunday), the phone call from our cabin, etc.

NJRonbo, did you have delay expenses or did you just vent about the last day of the cruise?


My girlfriend and I had delay expenses including a day lost at work,
and the phone calls that we were charged.

I wrote Princess via registered mail and they have failed to respond
to date.

Not very happy.


I think a lot of these problems would be solved if people would just avoid the cruise line 's owned by Canival.They absolutely don't care. I have cruised for many years and I have seen many a good cruise line go down the tube when they get involved with carnival.The service and everything involved soon starts to suffer after carnival takes over. They own almost all the lines know so they figure they will get you one way or the other.If enough people would avoid them it would send a message enough is enough.But that is wishful thinking I geuss.


It's very sad that no-one from Princess even contacted me regarding
this matter.

Seems like they really don't care when these sort of circumstances happen
to their passengers.

Think I'll go back to Royal Caribbean.


NJR, be patient. Remember there were 2500 pax on our cruise and EVERYONE has some sort of issue, however small. Princess had phone calls to their 800#, faxes, letters, emails, and certified letters. Just sorting them will take weeks. We only got home on May 9. They also had issues with the 2500 pax who got on the ship a day late.

I am very confident that Princess will take care of us I am giving them six weeks to come to a decision. That would be on or about June 27 (I faxed them on May 16th). I will keep you informed when I receive a reply. I already got the postcard just days later.

To viet630, our cruise was GREAT, no complaints about ammenites, food, service or ship. To generalize about Carnival is premature. I used to shun Carnival, but now it is also one of my choices. I am first and foremost a Celebrity fan, but Princess really rocked. I was on the GP when it was new and this trip it was even better, in all ways.


As I stated earlier I have been cruising longer than I care to admit and have been through them all.In my opinion Carnival has ruined the cruise industry.I have seen them take over petrfectly good lines and ruin them service wise or put them out of bussiness altogether.You say your cruise was fine and I am glad for that, but we will see about the service. Keep us informed.I agree that Celebrity is fine, it is all we sail now, the service before ,during and after the cruise has been excellent.My point is that there are to many people that are willing to acept Carnival's way of doing thing's and that it will probably never change.Unless we have another 9-11 type disaster to get the cruise industry back in focus it will continue.They have more bussiness than they can handle right now.JMHO.


NJRonbo and Viet, you are not going to be happy with this because neither am I:

I just got a letter from Princess and they WILL pay for our 2-minute in-room phone call and our extra day of parking. They will NOT pay for the taxi from NYC to Newark airport because I could not get a receipt ($75). They are refunding a check for $21.

Now, I happen to have the taxi driver's address because he sent me the bag that was left in his trunk. I will call him and send s SASE with a receipt that he can fill out. I'll forward that to Princess because according to the letter, they would have paid if I'd sent a receipt!

What happened was that my husband's friend who lives in Hoboken was going to pick us up on SUNDAY in NYC and take us to our car at EWR. Of course, on Monday, he had to work so we were stuck with the cab ride.

I received the answer exactly one week from faxing it. I thought the response was fast. How 'bout you?



I received a postcard the other day from Princess stating
simply that it will take a few weeks before they can address
my concerns.

Judging from the response you received, I am not optimistic.

I doubt they will do anything about gratuities that should never
have been imposed or about those people (including myself) that
lost a day's pay at work.

I'm not looking for a huge reimbursement. That's not my point. I do
think, however, that Princess should offer some sort of credit towards
a future cruise.

We shall see, but as I stated, I am not optomistic.


Yes, again, I did request the gratuities be removed and they refused to do that stating in their letter that we received the same services. I had told them we didn't gain an extra day at sea, but lost one along the way in the way of services. The disco was closed, juggler show cancelled, and we were asked to remain in our beds!

I sent a separate fax about lost wages and I can wager that won't be coming. I also asked for cruise credit since I did a ghost booking on board. That shouldn't cost them much. What more can we do?

I know those that were to get on the ship in NY got compensated very, very nicely.