This ship is just not "crisp". Other than our International Dining Room wait staff and our Housekeeper, the service and attitude of many of the personnel with whom we interacted was lackadaisical. Passing a worker/crewmember in the hallway was the same as passing another passenger. You might get a "hello", you might not. People were putting in their time but not many were "going the extra mile". Very few upbeat, positive, happy camper types on that ship.
Examples: The first time I went to the grill and requested a hamburger, the crewmember handed me one without comment. I took it and went towards the left where the condiments were. I wanted onions and when I realized there were none at that location, I returned to the back of the line. At the head of the line, I realized to the right of the grill behind glass were onions, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. Even Burger King asks people what they want on their burgers if it isn't available at the condiment area.
In the buffet area, after getting food one sat at a table. Only twice in perhaps l0 trips to the buffet did anyone ask if I wanted something to drink. Passengers had to leave their food on the table to get cold, walk to the end of the buffet room and get in a line to be served coffee, tea or a glass of water.
And, so many little things, like the weatherboard having the previous weeks weather on it until Day two of the cruise, or the casino board not being updated to the current week until Day 4. In fairness to Princess workers and crewmembers, many of them appeared totally exhausted. If the reason for this is that Princess is forcing them too work many hours, shame on the cruise line.
Cabin on the Diamond Princess
The Diamond is a relatively new ship owned by the same company as Carnival. Why when they had some of the best bathroom configurations available (the Carnival Paradise for example with its reasonably sized shower) would they configure the cabin bathrooms so poorly, particularly the shower, clearly designed only for small people. I'm 5'3", ll9 pounds, and even I kept banging my elbow on the support handle. There were some huge people on the ship. How (or if) they showered is beyond my comprehension. Also, while the towel/bathrobe knobs on the door were very pretty, they unfortunately are knobs not hooks. Everything landed on the floor.
To us, "Privacy Please" cards mean the same as "Do Not Disturb". At least twice during our cruise, the phone rang to see if we were all right. When you're taking a nap, a phone ringing can be more unpleasant than a knock on the door. If the reason for this is that some people forget to take the Privacy Please card out of the door when they leave, I suggest you put another card in the room that says "No Service Today". If you can figure out a way to keep the towels from falling off the knob type holders, I'm sure there would be a number of people willing to use their towel twice and make their own bed in order to have a full day of privacy. Except for this situation, our housekeeper was very efficient and pleasant.
For medical reasons, my sister must use a CPAP breathing machine at night. A second room plug between the beds would have been so much easier than one plug near the desk.
After an over 4 hour embarkation process, we were annoyed that the one bottle of water in our cabin had a price tag of $2.75. The Princess brochure says that alcoholic beverages, soda and certain specialty drinks incur a charge. If they are going to charge for WATER - they should let the passengers know it is considered a specialty drink!
On the plus side, the closet was more than ample, even for two women, and there were plenty of coat hangers. Adding a digital clock to each cabin sure would be a plus.
Formal Night(s) on the Diamond Princess
The Princess brochure states "On formal nights, appropriate attire includes evening gowns and cocktail dresses for ladies, and tuxedos, slacks with dinner jackets, or suits for men".
Assuming this to be the case, I packed two formal outfits. What a waste of suitcase space. How I wish I had my camera there to capture the look on the faces of one beautifully dressed couple (tux and evening gown), when one of the guys at their table arrived in jeans. Other than another profitable cruise line photo shoot, there were no differences between formal nights and informal nights.
Suggestion for Princess Cruises:
- Enforce the dress code. It is both an expense and an insult to people who are compliant to be surrounded by those who are not.
- The Princess photographers should politely ask if people want to have their picture taken. By formal night, people know whether or not they are not going to pay $20 for another photo.
- Present a reason for formal dress. Have a ship's officer visit each table, provide live music - a pianist or small combo, offer a glass of champagne, have the waiters wear a boutonnière, something, anything to make the evening different than any other evening.
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