Emerald Princess Shipboard Problems

The following letter speaks for itself. It was only after their receipt of the second copy (return receipt included) that we heard from an underling offering a substantial discount on a future cruise. More about that and our rationale for accepting it is described here.

October 26, 2009

Alan Buckelew, President
Princess Cruises
24844 Avenue Rockefeller
Santa Clarita, CA, USA 91355

Dear Mr. Buckelew:

Although we have sailed many times on other cruise lines – Seabourn, Silversea, Holland America, Cunard, and NCL – the Transatlantic Crossing from Copenhagen to Fort Lauderdale, September 23 to October 11, was our first with Princess. We had read and heard favorable reviews of the Princess line and the Emerald Princess in particular, and indeed have found pluses on this cruise. The itinerary was paramount, with port stops at several countries we hadn't yet visited, including Denmark, Northern Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland – not many people can say they've been ashore at Qaqortoq, and fewer still can pronounce it. The value was particularly good, since we reserved our mini-suite in March. And, as usual, we met many interesting fellow passengers.

However, the beginning was a series of disasters, due to a combination of poor training, defects in the design of the ship and its infrastructure, and incomplete and inaccurate documentation, exacerbated by micromanagement from corporate headquarters. And although, as the cruise progressed we thought that our troubles had eventually subsided, the conclusion was equally dismal. In fact, on this cruise we have encountered more problems than on all others combined.

In the past, we have been “Secret Shoppers” evaluating a rival cruise line. On that voyage, we were directed to check all aspects of the ship’s offerings, and our ratings were sufficiently favorable that we later paid our own way to cruise the same ship. On other voyages before and after, we have been able to relax and enjoy ourselves, but the problems on this one have searched us out. As you must realize by now, if we had been scoring this cruise, there would have been a long list of unsatisfactory ratings.

Sincerely yours,

John S. Ludwick, Jr.