Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Princess Introduces Sudden New Fees and their Loyal Passengers Revolt



The Regal Princess debuted last week on its inaugural sailing without much fanfare.  Until…..

“Av8tor” doing a live thread on Cruise Critic for this sailing posted the following:  
Speaking of new surprise charges, they now have a mandatory $3 delivery charge for room service (it’s not just for pizza anymore)! First, they told us it’d be $3 to have the daily fruit delivered like we normally have. The fruit order card was the same as it used to be (no mention of any charge). When they told us about it, we assumed it was just a charge for the fruit, so we told them to just forget it. Then that night we ordered a pot of hot water for tea and that’s when they told us that all room service deliveries now had a $3 charge. I believe this is just on the Regal now, even though the Princess web site still describes room service as “complimentary. Another surprise charge is a .50 charge for “mixer” if you order a cocktail. So, now my Canadian Club and 7-Up drinks are billed as $6.25 alcohol plus .50 mixer for a new price of $6.75. Then the 15% gratuity is added on. I asked about this and one of the bartenders said it’s something new they started just this season. . I think this is a sign of things to come fleet wide.

Very quickly, I mean within the hour it was going viral. People were commenting on Cruise Critic, people were posting on my fan page click here, people were posting on Princess’ Facebook page asking if this was true.  It took a while for a response from Princess.  This was Friday of a long weekend in the U.S. but that evening a response from Princess came that in fact this was true and that it was only on the Regal.

This is where social media and the mobilization of loyal fans and their feelings came out. Princess’ customer service email was posted and people started sending emails to it and posting their email message on various social media sites.  Loyal Princess fans commented everywhere about their displeasure.

For me personally when I read of these new fees I was so disappointed.  I love Princess and was concerned that this line was becoming more of a pay for items on board.  Now this isn’t new on many cruise line.  Many lines charge for things like steak in dining room, movies in the cabin, room service at certain hours, dessert/finger foods, and specialty restaurants.  Princess isn’t new to this either with added costs for specialty restaurants, Sanctuary, Gelato and room service pizza.  But it was limited.

This year we noticed that the cost of the Sanctuary doubled from $10 for half day, $20 for full day to $20 for half day and $40 for full day.  We use to love to go to the Sanctuary time to time, but had found service there had dropped considerable the last few visits.  With that and the doubled price we no longer could justify the fee. 

We also noticed costs for drinks had gone up, Sabatinis had gone up in price too from $20 to $25 but we understand that prices do need to go up time to time just like at home.  
We haven’t sailed on a ship that has Alfredos yet but we looked forward to trying it in the future.  Alfredos is free, their website says it is complimentary.  Does this mean it is busy, probably, does it mean people abuse it, sure.  Should Princess implement a fee for this, maybe but if they were to introduce a fee it shouldn’t be sprung on us with no notice and only on one ship.  My thought is $5 would be fine.

To see pictures of Alfredos check out my album Alfredos pizza album

However the introduction of a fee for room service of $3 just ticked me off to no end.  Now I don’t do room service that often, but I don’t want to be nickeled and dime for things that normally are free.  Especially since I find Princess to have a very poor room service menu with limited options.  Still think Princess should be offering a full breakfast menu.  Currently many people take advantage of the breakfast room service option, especially on port days. The thought of many that would normally order room service would now go to the already crazy Horizon Court for breakfast or to the dining room can only make things worse in those two venues which my experience in the last few sailings is they booth need improvements. See my experience on the Crown Princess for 49 days for breakfast in the dining room.  

And ultimately the final annoyance was how it was introduced.  The Regal Princess is their new baby.  This is the Regal’s first sailing with customers.  No one on board was warned of these new fees prior to sailing, nor did Princess’ website show these fees.  When we make choices of what line to sail we decide on many reasons and added fees is one of them.

Since all this transpired on a Friday of a long weekend, posts after posts on Facebook, Twitter, Cruise Critic kept coming in. People were really getting angry. For me I was disappointed and well honestly I was hurt. I felt let down by Princess on how they were treating their most loyal passengers. My honey and I discussed what and how do we go forward. Currently we have five cruises booked with Princess and was thinking of doing two more this Fall. One of the trips was 30 days on a back to back to back on the Royal in January and we started looking at other options on other lines grudgingly.  

Read part two click here



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