This note was sent to President Jan Swartz Monday and this morning we got a call from Princess basically saying the same as the Customer Service team onboard the Crown Princess. They did apologize nicely but other than that they had done everything legally required and there was nothing else. So do not feel that since you booked EZ Air with Princess they will get you to the ship this, sadly, is no longer the case as our daughter and several other parties discovered on February 25.
On February 15, 2019 my wife and I sailed on Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale. Our family of 5 were to join us on February 25 for another 10 days for our first family holiday together in a number of years.
On that day our daughter and her partner were left waving to us on the dock as we sailed away! Their air travel and transfers were booked through Princess. They arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport at approximately 15:25, almost one hour before we sailed. The airport is 3 miles from the pier where the Crown Princess was docked. They were met by Princess Personnel who told them they had missed the boat and the gangplank was closed and that there were no more shuttles to the port. This was also the message on the Princess phone line. At that point in time we were in contact with our daughter by text message and I actually witnessed people still boarding and being scanned for their cruise cards using the gangplank. I explained what was happening to the Customer Service Agent onboard the ship who, even though I was very upset at the moment, I believe, that he said as long as they get here they can board. That was not allowed to happen.
On February 27 we spoke to the Customer Service Manager, in his office on the ship. His explanation was that Customs and Border Services require a list of passengers one half hour before the ship sails. He stated that lately they do not allow any other passenger names to be added even if the ship requests. This did not answer the question of why Princess personnel submitted the list so early and did not delay when they knew they had several guests already at the airport. This is what we would expect from Princess and have witnessed it happen on more than one occasion. We have a long history with Princess Cruises and have seen them go the extra mile many times. The published log of this cruise states that “At 16:00 with all crew and passengers onboard … we were ready to sail”. This is not accurate. Princess knew at the time that our daughter and a group of other passengers were left at the airport and were told to make their own way to St Thomas. In fact the ship did not depart until 16:18. There was not even an APOLOGY from the Customer Service Manager!
They left our daughter stranded and only provided help booking flights to catch up three days later in St Thomas. On short notice they had to find land transport, hotel accommodations, etc. all at their own expense.
Note that our daughter was actually at the pier before we moved away. They waved!
All the other Princess staff on the Crown Princess were absolutely wonderful. We enjoyed our room steward for Mini-suite Dolphin 310 and our waiter and assistant waiter at table 42 in the Botticelli dining room. They worked hard and were extremely efficient and considerate. This is what we have grown accustomed to on cruises with Princess.
We have done nearly 35 cruises since 1992 on the old Dawn Princess and are saddened by the fact that this may be our last one, even though we have another one already booked for April 2020
We are deeply disappointed with the Customer Service Manager in this case and feel that refunding “unused” onboard days, a bottle of wine, and some strawberries in the cabin when our daughter’s party finally boarded is an insult as far as trying to make up for the heartbreak caused by the way our family was treated. The protocols being followed in this case have resulted in our deep disappointment and should be reconsidered so that others don’t go through the same heartbreak and disappointment. In addition, some form of formal apology seems to us to be a very reasonable request even at this date.
Thank you and good luck with Princess. We have a 35 day trip currently booked and are seriously questioning whether we want to go.