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kgn

Major disappointment with the Coral

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We just returned from the Coral's Xmas/New Year's cruise. This was our first time on Princess and unfortunetly will not be returning! The cruise through Panama was great. All the ports we stopped at were wonderful. The food was good (very light on the chocolate desserts!) but not amazing. The service was fine and the little things people complain about like the pool towels, chairs at the pool, and charging for ice cream were minor in comparison to my biggest complaint (which almost ruined our entire vacation)!

 

Now I will start by telling you we like our kids and like to hang out with them, ages 8, 11, 12 & 15. We send the three youngest to the kids program only in the evening, after dinner from 8 - 10pm. This gives us the opportunity to gamble or see an "adult" event like the pg-13 comic etc.

 

We received the kids programming schedule as soon as we got into our room. We went the welcome orientation for the program and signed the kids up and met the staff. Who, for the most part, were very nice. We then reviewed the schedule, 9 out of 11 evenings was a movie! I could not believe it, if I wanted to put my kids in front of the tv I could have left them in the room (or at home for that matter). I thought this just might be an option and there would be other activities. I was wrong!!!!!!

 

After the third evening my kids started to complain about going and sitting and watching movies. They basically refused to go and I did not blame them. It was their vacation too. I decided to talk to the "person in charge" I was told that I should talk to Kara in the kids club and was told she should be up there right now. So off we went. She was not there but we left a message. Night three passed and day four passed. The evening of Day four I went back to the passenger service desk and told them I left a message and have not heard back and wanted to know who her boss was. I was told that Lee the Cruise Director was the one responsible for Kara and that he was hard to get a hold of. I suggested I leave a message for him to call me. Day five came and I received a message from Lee saying that he was not avalaible to talk with but I could page his Assistant Director, Susan. Which I did and I got a return call immediately. I explained the situation to Susan and told her how disappointed I was in the program and instead of grubbling about it to other passangers as othe parents were doing I decided to do something about while there was still time to fix the situation. She thanked me and told me she would check into and possible come up with an amended schedule. She would get back to me.

 

Two hours later I recieved a call from an angry Kara who basically said she did the program this way because this itinarary has a lot of port days so the kids were tired. I explained to her that it was her job to entertain my kids and it was my job as a parent to decide when they are tired and if that is the case I would put them to bed and not send them to the kids programing. I also mentioned that on Saturday and Sunday mornings she had cartoon watching scheduled on sea days (because it has been a long cruise I was told)! I said I was speaking for a number of parents that are unhappy and wanted to try to fix the problem while there was still time! She responded that the schedule was the schedule and that she had not heard any other complaints! I asked her how many children were in the 8 - 12 age group on this cruise and she said there were 80. I then asked how many were coming to the programing and she responded 10. (WOW that is about 12%....pretty pathetic if you ask me but she did not see there was a problem) In the end she told me that if I ever had a problem I should not go to her boss and that I should deal with her directly. Which I responded I tried and you did not get back to me after receiving my message. Her response was she was getting back to me now!

 

We ended up taking the kids swimming most nights and taking them to some shows or playing games with them in the game room. Overall I was shocked and amazed at how poorly the situation was handled and now I understand why there are kids roaming the ship as young as six!

 

Princess has lost the eight of us and many other "potential" returns based on this problem and this cruise.:mad:

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Two hours later I recieved a call from an angry Kara who basically said she did the program this way because this itinarary has a lot of port days so the kids were tired. I explained to her that it was her job to entertain my kids and it was my job as a parent to decide when they are tired and if that is the case I would put them to bed and not send them to the kids programing.

 

I am going to disagree with you.

 

Princess programs their children/teen program how they see fit. If you do not agree with it, you can choose for your kids not to attend. I don't think you should dictate the activities the kids program does or when they do it. There is no way they can make every child and parent happy.

 

Knowing that they were showing movies at night time, maybe you should have structured your day differently if you wanted your kids to attend the kids program and do something differently then watch movies.

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Speaking as a Mom who sails alone with a child I would expect the evening activities to be low key... kids get tired after a busy day, hell I get tired after a busy day. :D

 

I would have thought movies etc... would be the norm for night.

 

The staff member should have returned your call promptly though, nothing worse than leaving a message and being ignored until you have to go above them.

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While I sympathize with an unhappy cruiser, I have to think that the whole "kid" issue on Princess is indicative of one of Princess's great dilemmas.

One one hand, they need to fill staterooms on all of these huge ships;

on the other, their marketing and the layout of the ships is simply not kid friendly. I suspect that many of their big fans, of which I am one, prefer things this way.

The Coral, one of my favorites, is a great example of this dilemma: a jazz club, an Asian themed pool area, the prominently designed casino, martini bars - shall I continue? Frankly, why Princess doesn't make ships like the Coral, Sea, Island, and the old "R" ships adults only is beyond me. The "promise" of a sophisticated, adult experience (albeit G rated!) is what brings us back - just look at any Princess brochure.

I don't discourage the practice of some families cruising together if that's what they want to do. I do often wonder though just how many children onboard would rather be elsewhere - especially after the first two or three days.

I believe Princess should be proactive on this matter and strongly reconsider their fleet vs. their target market. There would undoubtably be less complaints from both sides of this issue by giving the people what they truly want.

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Having to spend time with your children...priceless. :rolleyes:
:D

I don’t have kids and can only imagine how a parent might want to have some alone time from them while on vacation, but if that were the case, wouldn’t leaving them at home be the answer? Seems to me a family vacation would include family time together…my unethical parents (see the alcohol thread) never put me in a kid program when we were on vacation together and I turned out just fine. :eek: I kind of wonder what happened to the 15 year old that wasn't going to the movies.

I believe Princess should be proactive on this matter and strongly reconsider their fleet vs. their target market. There would undoubtably be less complaints from both sides of this issue by giving the people what they truly want.
You’ve got my vote. Princess should start by going back to limiting the number of kids on board to 10% of the passenger population. It seems their children’s programs were built for that number…

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Coral:

Not sure how I could structure our day differently. Unfortunetly there are not a lot of option for kids evening activities. And as my kids have cruised before they expected kids activities at night ie structured games, arts and crafts, dancing parties etc. These are not babies they do not start to wind down normally until 9 or 10pm especially if there is no school to have to wake up for. You are right Princess can not satisfy everyone and all the kids but they are not satisfying over 75% of the population. THAT IS A PROBLEM

 

Spongerob:

I agree spending time with my kids is priceless but lets be honest after spending a whole day together a two hour break is usually needed not only on the parent side but the kids side as well!

 

loge23:

I believe that even the people with kids want a top notch vacation like some lines offer. We have traveled on most of the lines and numerous times on celebrity. Who IMHO has it done right. On school vacations, Xmas, Feb, April they bring in extra staff to run activities to keep the kids interested and excited. It was just a huge shame that Princess looked at it as babysitting! Stick them in front of the tv and be done with it. It shows no imagination or thought and I think people with kids should be warned. I also think that if Princess wanted to solve the "kids" problem then they would take an evaluation of the program less then 15% participated! YIKES. If the program was more interesting then you would not have kids WONDERING the ship which is very unnerving to those who are not traveling with children.

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Coral:

Not sure how I could structure our day differently. Unfortunetly there are not a lot of option for kids evening activities. And as my kids have cruised before they expected kids activities at night ie structured games, arts and crafts, dancing parties etc. These are not babies they do not start to wind down normally until 9 or 10pm especially if there is no school to have to wake up for. You are right Princess can not satisfy everyone and all the kids but they are not satisfying over 75% of the population. THAT IS A PROBLEM

 

Truthfully, I rarely hear problems about Princess's kids program. I just read a review from another posted about the Caribbean Princess where the poster said that Princess's kids program was just as good as on a Disney ship....

 

Here is the post where I read that comment:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=274427

 

Most of my friends rave about the kids programs and the kids counselors. Maybe you caught an off week or maybe another line is better for you.

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SInce you were so satisfied with Celebrity, maybe you should go back to them.

There are thousands of us who are VERY satisfied with Princess.

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I love Princess, and I really loved the Coral. Kara handled your complaint horribly and seemed to take it personally. It sounds to me like all you were really trying to do is let them know that not everyone is happy with the program for kids 8-12. This was a gift taken as an insult. Constructive feedback from passengers is a gift.

 

I can understand that it is hard to please everybody and must be frustrating at times, but Kara really needs to hone her customer service skills. She could have handled the conversaion with you without being confrontational and chaging you from dissappointed to angry.

 

You know.....I love movies too, but I would not want to watch them every night of the cruise. I can't blame you or your kids for being unhappy with that program. Princess is great when you are an adult though.

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luvocean9:

 

Thank you! That was exactly what I was trying to do! Some of the other posters may be right that it could have been an off week. Overall we had a great vacation and we liked the cruise but after being treated the way we were treated when we were trying to give some feedback we will not be returning which disappoints me but oh well.

 

Cruising is a great family vacation and I would suggest it for everyone. I have also heard that the Grand class does a much better job with the kids.....maybe Coral should learn something from the other ships in the fleet:)

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I think part of the problem was that you took your children at exactly the same time every evening. If you had wanted them to do games or arts & crafts, I believe those are done during the morning or afternoon sessions. I've heard they also have a wonderful Science at Sea program, but I doubt if they conduct that at night. As to dance parties, again I think that's usually during the early evening. By 8:00 PM I would imagine most parents want their kids to settle down and relax. ;)

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I counted 4 kids....how does that make 8 of you?

 

My little guy was not so crazy about the kids program on NCL but I just thought it must not have been his cup of tea. I never once thought it was the fault of NCL....maybe I ought to write a letter? :rolleyes:

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I imagine it is tough for any line to be able to meet all child and parental expectations. I've seen some parents just *dump* their kids and then expect them to be entertained 24 hours a day.

 

I would agree that you received poor service from Kara.

 

A good solution would be what one other poster mentionned - make certain ships 'Adults only'. As a kid-free couple, we would LOVE that. This would allow other ships to focus on being more kid friendly and perhaps offer more options.

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A good solution would be what one other poster mentionned - make certain ships 'Adults only'. As a kid-free couple, we would LOVE that. This would allow other ships to focus on being more kid friendly and perhaps offer more options.

 

Although we've never had too many kids on our cruises, I would love to eliminate the possibility of ANY.

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I was on the same cruise and must say that our experience was quite different. In fairness, our son is 16 and was therefore in a different (teen) program. He loved it -- we received a comprehensive schedule for the entire cruise and he picked and chose his events. The activities were varied and did not repeat much. We also insisted that he spend a fair bit of time with us -- it was a family vacation after all and he did not object. Not at all the same as 8-12 year olds, I understand, but just wanted everyone to know that there were others that had a different experience.

 

Will be posting a lengthy review on this cruise when I get the chance (within the next few days, I hope).

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Numbers:

You are correct the teen program was great and there was a lot to do in the evening. Some great pool parties, dance nights, pizza nights etc. The 15 year old loved it (for all of you that wondered what happened to the 15 yr old)

 

cruznliz:

Unfortunetly, the creativeness did not over flow into the 8 - 12 yr old program. Yes they had arts and crafts and science at sea during the days (if you noticed we wanted to spend time with our kids) so during they day they were with us either off the ship in port or at the events during sea days (bingo, tour of the kitchen, pool, watching the ice scuplture etc). The most creative events were during the days we were in port. Maybe that was the problem....they were catering to the parents that had the dump and go philosphy and did not want their kids around LOL

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I explained to her that it was her job to entertain my kids and it was my job as a parent to decide when they are tired

 

Interesting comment... :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

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Having cruised twice on the Coral (both 10-days) we found very few children - probably because of the length of the cruise. I agree with the previous poster - there should be certain cruises that are "adult-only". We have cruised on Princess with all four of our children and the kids loved the program, even though we did not feel is was the cruise ship's obligation to entertain our children.

 

There are ships, i.e., Disney, which offer, as well as advertise, a strong kids' program. Having sailed on one of these cruises - our expectations were high, and fulfilled.

 

Final thought - getting as much information as possible ahead of time will help ensure everyone's satisfaction and help to meet your expectations.

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Interesting comment... :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

 

 

This is my favorite Largin post...for sure :D

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That is a real bummer - thanks for your opinion on the kids program. We travel with two children ages 5 and 8. They are going on their 2nd RC cruise next month and can't wait to go back to the kid's program. On that line every night was a different theme (in the 3-5 and 6-8 age groups). We couldn't (and more importantly, they couldn't) have been more thrilled with the program. We also let them go there after enjoying dinner as a family, and then my husband and I enjoyed the show or casino. Unfortunately, I think many people who don't want to have kids around them on vacation have seen one too many misbehaved children. And I can't blame them - we've seen our share as well.

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Interesting comment... :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

 

If the parents expect the kids to be entertained, and if the kids expect to be entertained.......I don't think Princess is the venue, Disney is.

 

What happened to Kids entertaining themselves........;)

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That is a real bummer - thanks for your opinion on the kids program.

 

As I just suggested in another thread, Coral Princess itineraries and the ship itself are not necessarily designed for most family vacationers. Comparing Coral Princess to a Voyager OTS megaship is no more valid than comparing her to Caribbean Princess, which like Voyager is much larger, higher density, and does shorter itineraries.

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Well having sailed on the Grand over March Break with 900 kids and a whole lot of them had little to no supervision....I sort of wish the parents were forced to watch their kids more....most of these were most likely signed up for the program but get to sign themselves out....We even had a security patrol just for the kids....My son who was 9 at the time got to watch the uncontrolled kids jump off the top of the Hot Tub into the pool, throwing stuff overboard, urinating in corners....

 

Also saw a mom too busy with her pina calota...to watch her kid drowning.... thankfully another kid in the pool pushed her out...

 

My son did go to the Program, and enjoyed it on some nights but was bored on others, so I planned my evening around his needs...when you travel on the major breaks...expect issues with LARGE groups...I can well imagine Disney would be the same issue...

 

I believe Princess caps the number of minors on board...but I think it should even be lower than its current levels..Cause we have had far to many uncontrolled kids and unattentive parents of late...

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