A princess with bad plumbing – but is this enough of a refund?

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It’s not as if Princess didn’t care about the conditions in Andrew White’s cabin on a recent cruise. It acknowledged the problems and it did offer him something for the trouble.

But was it enough?

Yes, my friends, this is the weekly feature where you tell me — and the whole world — if a company offered a customer enough compensation. Sometimes it’s an easy call to make; sometimes not.

Today’s is not.

White’s cruise, which happened last December, got off to a terrible start.

“The plumbing system in my suite was leaking,” he says. Specifically, it was a leak from the bathroom into the carpet of the stateroom.

He explains,

On the first 2 1/2 days of the cruise I spent most of my time trying to get the matter resolved.

I made numerous trips to the customer service desk, where I was treated politely and told that somebody would come to my cabin ‘right away.’

Normally, I would wait an hour and, after nobody arrived, I would return to the Customer Service desk to once again be assured that somebody would be there ‘right away.’

Finally, Princess moved him to a different suite and he concluded his journey with no other problems.

At issue here isn’t just the leak (which was annoying) but the way White says he was jerked around by Princess. Trying to address the faulty plumbing took him away from his hard-earned vacation, and he wants the cruise line to make him whole.

White contacted our resolutions team and we advised him to put his grievance in writing.

In response, a Princess representative contacted him and offered to refund $700 of his cruise.

Not enough, he said.

“I offered to settle for 2.5/7 times $5,200, or $1,857.14,” he added. “I prorated the time lost trying to get the problem solved versus the length of the cruise times the total cost of the cruise.”


“Since the ship’s crew was unable to get things done on a timely basis, based on the schedule they communicated to me, I spent most of the time in the stateroom waiting for people or going to customer service to ask when somebody would be in my room,” he says.

To which Princess said: no.

So what are his rights? A look at the Princess contract reveals absolutely nothing. The conditions of staterooms are not addressed at all. As I read the contract (and bear in mind, I’m not a lawyer) Princess could have leaky pipes in every cabin and still comply with its legal obligations.

Where does that leave us? Actually, a partial cash refund is fairly generous, at least in my experience. Most cruise lines only offer a cruise credit or a discount off a future cruise.

But I can also appreciate White’s point. If he really spent a portion of two days waiting in his suite, then that’s kind of affected his vacation, wouldn’t you say?

I’m reluctant to get involved in this case unless you, dear readers, push back and tell me that Princess has done this customer wrong. I can see both sides of this one.

Did Princess offer Andrew White enough compensation?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • AH

    if the plumbing from the bathroom was leaking and soaking the carpet to the point that i’d have to put on shoes in order to walk around the room, that would be highly annoying to me. and i certainly wouldn’t want to approach the bathroom door in the middle of the night and find i had wet feet!

  • Mel65

    That $5200 was almost certainly for both passengers, so HIS share of that was $2600. If he insists on pro-rating (idiotic, but whatever) then he should prorate HIS half, since apparently his companion was smart enough to enjoy the cruise instead of sitting around the stateroom fuming.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    If it were sewage, this would be an entirely different conversation :)

  • Carver Clark Farrow


    Nah. Julie

  • SierraRose 49

    Oh my gosh! He was offered $700 in CASH? That is generous. I won’t go into every mishap of the very first cruise we ever took. Problem after problem stretched out for 3 1/2 days on an 8-day cruise on HA. We planned this cruise for months, specifically taking time to choose the “perfect” cabin. We got bumped from that cabin (so it could be “treated”) to another one not as nice. And this little incident was the tip of the iceberg. Delayed boarding (norovirus outbreak on previous cruise), lost luggage, erroneous charges, dishes left all day in the cabin, a missed stop at Key West, rude employees, an on and on. And what did HA give us as compensation? A $10 bottle of wine. That was it? And yes, I wrote to HA expressing my HUGE disappointment. And what did I receive in return? NADA. ZERO. No reply whatsoever.

  • omgstfualready

    OP chose to sit and wait. They never instructed to do that or even indicated it was necessary. The value offered is fair. Had it been a requirement to wait I’d agree with the OP for sure.

  • Lindabator

    He gave HIMSELF his stress – all he had to do was report and check up, not sit around the room all day.

  • Lindabator

    It may NOT have been available the entire time, as it may have been used for the entertainer onboard, so they gave it to him later.

  • Bill___A

    Point taken, but why did it take them so long to fix it?

  • pauletteb

    He didn’t have to stay in the stateroom. I’m sure ship personnel would have been able to track him down. Besides, since he had explained the problem, he didn’t need to be in the room during repairs.

  • lvswhippets

    I have needed maintenance on a cruise also. i.e-shower wouldn’t drain & broken chair. But I sure didn’t stay & wait in my room & both taken care of effeceintly & in a timely manner. (It wasn’t Princess)

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    there was no reason to wait in his room. I would have given him a big fat $0 !!!

  • disqus_wK5MCy17IP

    If this were Holland America the obvious answer is that he stayed in the cabin because his finger was in the hole plugging the leak.

  • Silvia Cura

    I´ve worked for Princess for 7 years, though not in the Hotel department. I helped numerous times with Spanish & Portuguese speaking passengers and I´ve never heard that someone had to wait in their cabin to get a problem solved. Actually the cabin stewards have keys of the cabins assigned to them; to sort out this kind of deals. Regarding changing
    cabins sometimes Cruise Lines need a couple of days to confirm cancelations. Keep in mind that some passengers might not start the cruise at the same point but join in a couple of days later.

    Last but not least, how long was his cruise? If it was a 5 to 7 days cruise I understand he can still be annoyed but if we are talking about a 10 or more days hi still had lots of amazing days to enjoy. In the same way he was able to enjoy the rest of the amenities: food, entertainment, ports of calls and He received compensation in cash, something I´ve never heard of. So I would say No

  • http://www.inthelooptravel.com In The Loop Travel

    His logic would assume he ain’t no food on the ship and took no other amenities at all.