Princess Cruises Cancels Port Disclaimer: Yes, this whole issue screams of “first world problems” but why did Princess Cruises cancel the Apia, Samoa stop on the March 30, 2018 cruise after the final payment date and not provide any compensation to passengers that already booked?
Why was Princess not aware of the Apia port closure? Let’s look at some facts that were discovered with a few minutes of internet search…
Fact #1… look at this post on the Samoa Ports Authority facebook page. It clearly shows that the cruise port would be under construction until June 2018.
Fact #2 Princess Cruises runs this same itinerary every Fall and Spring. The October 2017 also cancelled their Apia stop 45 days before departure so how did Princess not know it was closed? I truly think they should have known Samoa was impossible and changed their itinerary then or at least warned those with reservations and potential buyers that the port was in jeopardy.
Fact #3 Residents and tour operators of Apia were surprised when passengers of our ship were trying to make reservations for cars and tours. Some even called Princess to ask about it, but were told Apia was still on the itinerary.
Fact #4 The major Samoan newspaper reported it would not be finished until June 2018 in this article from November which no longer appears to be available…
If anyone from Princess is reading …Were alternatives considered? Why can’t we tender in Apia? Why did we extend the time in Bora Bora? I know it’s a beautiful place from pictures, but now we’re spending 37 hours there and the longest shore excursion offered is 3 hours long and costs $129.95. My 8 hour tour in Samoa was $30. I’ve also been told that the little town of Bora Bora completely shuts down at 5pm so there’s no use spending the night there.
Another alternative… if the port was in limbo, perhaps disclose this when booking? A simple “Apia, Samoa is under construction until June, 2018. There is a possibility that we will be unable to dock there and we will replace that with an additional date at one of the other port of calls.” I know if I had seen something like this, I never would have booked, nor complained.
Yes, again this is total first world problems but it seems Princess should have done more to avoid this Princess Cruises Cancels Port situation. I know I’m very fortunate to have the time and money to do things like this but I feel like I’m spending much more on a cruise I wouldn’t have selected in the first place if the current itinerary was the one on offer.
Update: Other Problems
I only booked this cruise 1.5 months ago, and only 3 months before cruise departure, but there have been several other incidents showing lack of pre-planning on the part of Princess Cruises:
- The order of ports was changed in Hawaii due to “congestion at ports”. Three of the four port days were changed. Fortunately none of these stops were cancelled. This cruise, and others visiting Hawaii have been planned for a couple years, how is it possible that this congestion was only discovered a couple months before departure? This caused passengers to scramble to re-book tours, rental cars, plans with Hawaiian friends, etc.
- Those who had pre-booked tours through Princess for Hawaii had all of their tours cancelled, and not automatically re-booked for the correct port days. I’m not sure if this caused people to lose a spot in a now fully booked tour…I hope not.
- The Bora Bora stop was previously scheduled for Monday only and tours were available on that day. As of 12 days ago when the Apia port was cancelled, we are now scheduled to be there on Sunday and Monday. Since passengers were booked for tours through the ship and elsewhere for Monday, they started booking activities for Sunday. And now just the last couple days, ALL of the tours have been moved from Monday to Sunday.
- Princess is showing a circle Bora Bora tour that stops at the world famous Bloody Mary bar on Sunday. Sorry to tell you Princess, but Bloody Mary’s is CLOSED ON SUNDAYS. Princess, maybe you convinced them to open on Sunday since a ship with 3,000 pax is in town but this seems unlikely with all of the info found online?
- NONE of these changes have been communicated very well. Most people are finding out by logging into their booking or from others on Cruise Critic. Princess… why can’t you send a notification e-mail when you change something in a booking?
Those of us booked, and now without ability to cancel without losing 1,000’s of dollars, certainly hope this is the end of the changes. Certainly forced changes due to unforeseen events, such as bad weather, is a given possibility but these changes so close to departure are very disappointing.
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