Would bad weather and canceled ports ruin your Asia cruise?

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Poll: If this were my cruise, I'd have expected:
Poll Results
If this were my cruise, I'd have expected:

More -- the trip was ruined!

About what was offered; it was a fair gesture.

Nothing -- Princess isn't obligated to make up for situations out of their control.

Voters: 600.  You may not vote on this poll.

867 Posts
Joined May 2004
Cruise Critic Editor Carolyn Spencer Brown was onboard Sapphire Princess last week when due to two typhoons, the ship's captain was forced to cancel first the calls at both Vietnam ports and then at Taipei and Okinawa. After passengers began to revolt, Princess offered compensation in the manner of $250 per person onboard credit and a 50 percent discount on a future cruise.

In this week's From the Bridge, Spencer Brown examines both sides of the coin. We want to know: If this were your cruise, what would you have expected from Princess? Please vote -- and be sure to post your opinion below.
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Director, Product Development
Cruise Critic
Sequim, Washington, USA
3,498 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Although I would have been disappointed, and do agree Princess should have acted pre-emptively more quickly, it IS in the contract and things do happen beyond anyone's control, especially weather which should have been considered before booking. It WAS the Pacific typhoon season.

I fear the diehards were influenced by a Cunard "mutiny" a year ago when a damaged pod forced the 1st section of a world cruise (I think) to miss 2 ports to catch up to Rio on schedule. The captain/line first offered OBC and future cruise credit but the voyage had the misfortune to have several lawyers on board who held the line hostage and eventually won free cruises which I thought was the typical American false right of entitlement kicking in and, as you say, greed.

We have been weathered out of ports and although disappointed, we still get the best vacation per diem out there by being on a cruise ship. We look forward to them but that's not the only reason we cruise. After all, most cruise port days are overviews and for in depth culture immersion you need to get off the surface viewed via cruise ship and stay longer than 7AM to 5PM.

just my opinion
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I do get tired of whining, even when I'm the whiner. I think most circumstances can be improved by clear and honest communication - something often missing during transportation problems (airlines, anyone?). We missed a port in Denmark on our cruise in 2004, and the captain's explanation (if we could get in, we couldn't get out) made sense to me. We had the same captain on a cruise this year, and he remembered the missed port, and said that some passengers had asked him why he hadn't "gone for it."

It would help if the crew had some onboard activities planned for situations like these, although I'm pretty happy with a good book and a sea to watch. Oh, and food.

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68 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
I agree that Princess should have acted sooner. In addition, I believe it is incumbent on every cruise line to have indoor activities available on short notice in the event of bad weather. Bad weather is something that every cruise line must experience from time to time and therefore, plans for indoor activities should always be established by each cruise line. I myself have experienced this problem on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Sea where 2 ports were cancelled out of 4 and the crew and cruise line failed to come up with any alternative activities. In my situation, the cruise line offered no OBC or future cruise discount/credit to the passengers at all.
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Tampa, Florida area
12,055 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
We were on a 14 day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Sea Princess in February of this year.We were scheduled to go to 9 ports, plus Princess Cays.
We ended up not being able to dock at Princess Cays, Dominica, Coracao, and Aruba (which was added when we couldn't dock in Curacao, and when we arrived there we could not dock there either). We were told that all the missed ports were due to sea conditions that the captain felt made it too risky to dock. The PAX did not observe evidence of rough sea conditions and the weather was great on all those days.
A large contingent of PAX met and decided that there should be compensation in the form of free cruises. Of course that did not come to pass, despite threats of suits against Princess. We did get shipboard credit, but nothing was offered in terms of a percentage off on a future cruise. And the onboard credit was nowhere near what was given to the Sapphire PAX.
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Completed cruises: (354 days on Princess ... so far!)
2004 Coral Princess (Panama Canal & W. Caribbean)
2005 Sun Princess (Eastern Caribbean)
2006 Island Princess (Hawai'i)
2007 Sea Princess (Southern Caribbean)
2007 Golden Princess (Mexican Riviera)
2008 Diamond Princess (Hawai'i)
2008 Tahitian Princess (Tahiti & FP)
2009 Star Princess (Alaska Inside Passage)
2010 Golden Princess (Hawai'i)
2011 Emerald Princess (Eastern Caribbean)
2011 Sapphire Princess (Alaska Inside Passage)
2011 Sapphire Princess (28 day r/t LA-HI-Samoa-French Polynesia-LA)
2011 Saphire Princess (Mexican Riviera), done as B2B with the 28 day above
2012 Star Princess (r/t SF-Hawaii)
2012 Ruby Princess (19 day T/A Venice to FLL)
2013 Emerald Princess (Southern Caribbean)
2013 Pacific Princess (12 day Venice to Athens)
2013 Crown Princess (26 day B2B Southampton to the Canaries, and T/A)
2014 Crown Princess Andes & So America (16 days Valpariso to LA)
2014 Carnival Paradise - First ever non-Princess cruise - just a quickie with family!
2014 Caribbean Princess (9 day B2B with friends)
2015 Ruby Princess So America (32 days FLL to Valpariso)
2015 Emerald Princess (T/A Barcelona to FLL)
2016 Caribbean Princess (30 day EB T/A including British Isles itinerary)
2016 Pacific Princess (17 day T/A Rome to FLL)


2 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Princess is certainly not responsible for weather problems but they do a poor job in providing details to passengers as to why a port is missed. I recently took a 19 day Panama Canal/Mexico cruise and we did not pull into Nicaragua and it took calling passenger services to find out why we did not and then they gave us a 50.00 credit for the missed port but we paid that much in port taxes so we did not really get a credit whatsoever. My experience with them is that the staff is generally great but their corporate office is a nightmare and they do treat passengers problems as if we are just a commodity. Corporate really needs to step up and stop treating passengers so poorly, I have taken 9 cruises with Princess and enjoy them but if there is an issue that needs corporate to resolve it suffice it to say that you might as well not ask because you will not get it. My husband and I have learned to enjoy the cruises and not complain because when you get in that frame of mind it ruins your trip and corporate will not help you out, I am not talking about needing extra towels or a problem in the cabin but rather compensating for missed ports, refunding port fees and the like. The crew is generally great to deal with.
1,277 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
we're on this same itinerary next year and I'd be very very unhappy if we missed so many ports. However, I can certainly understand the need to avoid a typhoon! 50% off a future cruise and the onboard credit sounds pretty good and is obviously more than Princess is legally obligated to do, but based on the news article about passengers "mutinying" I suspect that a little more sympathy and show of concern might have helped. The staff and crew are frustrated too and their inability to do something sometimes comes across as a "too bad" attitude.
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HAL, Princess, and Celebrity, and now Oceania
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The Villages, FL
1,313 Posts
Joined May 2006
We were on the 11/2 sailing of the Sapphire and had Nagasaki cancelled due to a medical emergency our first night out of Beijing. I was very disappointed but I tried to put myself in the shoes of the people who had to leave the ship for medical reasons. How disappointed they must have been!

That being said, I know how much money and time we spent planning our trip. If the weather had caused us to miss so many ports, I would have been wishing we had planned another time to travel and my frustratation might come out in a differnt way. However, since I was not on the cruise, I don't know if the passengers were kept informed as they should be and whether something was provided in place of what they missed. If Princess offered some type of compensation, I hope I would be gracious enough to accept it and realize that the natural elements weren't in their control.

I really don't know if I would have considered my Asian cruise ruined. I would hope there were enough other good things to make it worthwhile.

I see now that we were quite lucky with our weather. Perhaps Princess should plan these cruises at a differnt time of year.
95 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I can understand the passengers' disappointment when so many ports were cancelled. When we plan a trip, we try to include as many places to see and things to do as possible. But sometimes an alternate name for "weather" is "capricious". And if it's nastily capricious we sometimes feel cheated. That leads to frustration and anger which causes us to strike out at "discerned PTB", in this case Princess.

But that hurts us much more than it hurts those we're angry at. I'd be very reluctant to darken the memories I could still build on my dream cruise by concentrating on what I missed instead of what I experienced. IMHO, it's a case of a cup being half empty or half full.


Colville, Wa. USA
133 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
having experienced the same on Carnival's Conquests Cruise from Hell a few years ago with the same passenger mutiny, as sorry and sympathetic as I can be, I'm not , the whiners had a miserable time and my whole group kept things in perspective and had a great time, if you can't find something enjoyable on board you have problems worse than missing some ports and bad weather. Carnival it seems has always come thru with some form of compensation, they did with us. so fair winds and following seas. John
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383 Posts
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We were on a Celebrity Galaxy Alaska Cruise a number of years ago. It was awful and we had perfect weather. The employees were mad at Corporate RCI and took it out on the passengers. We even got things like paper plates and napkins in the main dining room at breakfast. We got nothing from Celebrity. Not even a we are sorry. Even a form letter would have been better than nothing. I totally will avoid Celebrity forever....

But we were on RCCL Western Carib cruise that had bad weather. RCCL was great to keep us informed. We skipped the ports that were the reason I booked the cruise and did some like Key West instead. We wound up having a blast in Key West even though I used to live at Miami and Key West was old stuff to me.

It is all in how the company respects the passengers and whether they treat you like a guest or a bother. Unfortunately, Celebrity was just being bothered by our group of 400. RCCL wanted us to have a nice trip even if it was totally changed.

It boils down to the same thing: communication. There would be less unhappiness (divorce, fights, wars, etc.) if we just communicate better.

We learned that you can enjoy yourselves and the companies can help you have a good time, and "no one" is at fault and no one has to lose money over it.

Great website. Thanks for keeping us informed!
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6 Posts
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Unfortunately, another "ostrich approach" (if we bury our heads in the sand, we won't see and have to acknowledge the problem) by a cruise line operator While I don't agree fully with the rowdy passengers, I still hold the management of Princess at fault for initially doing "nothing." Bad news does not get better with time.
1,855 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
You knew before you cruised that you were cruising during a bad weather potential month(s).

You are the one that selected the cruise.

No on forced you to cruise in a bad weather month.

Why should the cruise line be at fault?

You are the one that selected the cruise and the month of the cruise.
373 Posts
Joined May 2000
My wife and I were on the Princess Sapphire from 9/16-10/18 and the second part of the cruise visited the same ports as this one. We had some bad sea days, but never missed a port. BUT...
During our cruise we did experience what I'd call "LOI" on the part of senior staff of the Sapphire(Lack Of Information). During the cruise extremely long lines and very long waits ensued any time that passengers were going on the ship's excursions. Lines snaked around the ship, up and down stairs, with no organization of any sort. Many times there were dangerous situations on stairways, open decks(yes, the lines were that long), and again with no information or any type of organization to prevent these problems. The senior staff just gave excuses, blamed someone else, or many times just walked away from the situation. The senior staff was uncaring and unhelpful. This went on the entire cruise.
A simple solution would have been to give out as much information as possible to the passengers on these lines to avoid these dangerous conditions brought on because of lack of organization and planning.
Stockton, CA
5,498 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
We did the SE Asia cruise on board the PP. We hit Typoon Kimy and ended up missing Korea, the only port I was really, really exicted about. The others were great, but I relaly wanted to see Korea. Guess which port we missed? Endd up staying two days in Hong Kong and some people really groused about that, much less having to deal with four missed ports and two typhoons.

I don't think that Princess should have to do anything except keep its passengers safe. Certainly that's more important than sailing into bad situations. If they want to offer compensations of some fashion, that's fine with me, but I neither expect or demand it.

Northern WI
93 Posts
Joined May 2007
The 50% off your next cruise was a nice gesture but what if you decide never to cruise Princess again? There should have been a choice.
When it comes to the onboard credits they gave of $250 pp, some countries charge the cruise line a fee per person. My question would be if the cruise line refunded the entire amount plus a little extra? I think a 20% refund would have made more sense.
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Tony and Diane

July 1997 - Alaska - Noordam
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144 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
People grow up everybody always think they are intilted to more for nothing.
Read your contract for cruise ships and airlines,They are set up in favor of the carriers not you.However the Captain is responsible for the crew and passengers, to not put them in harms way,and not to dock with ruff seas
banging their multi million dollar ship into the docks.Maybe next trip you should speak to Mother Nature before you go,Or pay more and go on your
trip during the good seasons.You took the chance and lost.Stop crying
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Cruises Taken
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New Jersey
3,611 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Actually, officers were quite amazed at our bad luck with weather. Typhoon season runs roughly about the same time as our hurricane season in the Atlantic (June - November with the prime months falling in the August/September timeframe). A November typhoon is a totally rare occurence, one port official in Shanghai told me; two is fairly unprecedented. But yeah, "season is season" and you do take a risk.


Carolyn Spencer Brown
Cruise Critic

Originally posted by Steamboatin
You knew before you cruised that you were cruising during a bad weather potential month(s).

You are the one that selected the cruise.

No on forced you to cruise in a bad weather month.

Why should the cruise line be at fault?

You are the one that selected the cruise and the month of the cruise.
178 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
I'm not a mariner, so I don't question it when the Captain of a ship says that it is too dangerous to go ashore. The last thing that I want is to spend the last moments of my cruise wishing that we had all observed the muster drill instructions a little more closely!

I also understand that the cruise contract says that missed ports aren't the ship's fault when it is due to weather or "Acts of God". So in this case I wouldn't have expected any compensation, but I would have wished for it.

What would have killed me would be if the staff didn't layer in extra activities. We have sailed on Princess before and personally thought that the activities onboard were boring. That was o.k. though because at least we could go to the pool. Well if the pool was closed (as it was on Sapphire Princess), then I would be quite irritated without a bit more effort on the part of the staff to spice up the experience. Wonder if the Cruise Director took any flack afterwards?

Who knows...maybe if they had offered more to keep people active on those port-less and pool-less days then those seeds of "mutiny" would never have sprouted in so many people in the first place.

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