Princess Offered an Upgrade that Instead was Major Downgrade

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Dec 1, 2019
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Missouri
On November7, 2019 I boarded Caribbean Princess for a 14 day cruise. We normally travel with another couple. A few days before this cruise I had received a phone call from a Princess Rep offering both couples an upgrade to a two bedroom suite. We had booked and paid for two deluxe mini-suites. I asked if the balconies were obstructed and told no. We have a travel agent who said normal procedure would be to contact her. When we boarded there were two bedrooms with shared common area and a balcony connected to the other room. Our room was a small inside room with small children beds. There was a walkway between the two beds but no room for a small table or nightstand. We had a door to the common area but our friend’s bedroom just opened into it. We couldn’t use it because they were on full view-if you know what I mean. The balcony was off this room but was so windy that furniture was constantly thrown against door. Ship personnel told us not to use because it was unsafe. We immediately requested the customer service personnel see this room. It took a couple hours to get them up there. All agreed that my room was an inside child’s room. The bunk beds hung low over our beds, closet had bunk ladders, bathroom was smallest you can imagine, and my husband’s cpap machine had to sleep in his bed with him. Everyone said I’m sorry, all said we were owed compensation, and that it would be referred to corporate. If offered the Carnival guarantee I would have gotten off. Every time I rolled over in bed I hit my arm on the low hanging bed. Every day we called down to see what corporate said. The day before the end of the cruise we were offered $1000 and we could cancel our upcoming Jan cruise and be made whole. I told them the $1000 isn’t even the difference between the deluxe mini suite and the basic inside room. I am VIP Casino so I get a discounted price but they took discounted price and subtracted full price for inside. I found on a cruise review site that though my room doesn’t show on deck plans that it is an inside room. At this point I just want to be made whole-all my money back from Jan as promised but most of all the difference of what I paid and what I actually received. My travel agent hasn’t been able to get straight answers so she suggested we cancel Jan on the last day for smallest penalty. I did receive my credit money for future cruises-the $100 per person that you use as a down payment for future cruises. I will be happy to be made whole and go.
 
May 30, 2019
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Some thoughts here, hopefully constructive:
  • What written or email communications have you made / received before, during or after the cruise about your situation?
  • Do you want to cancel your January cruise? Why? Perhaps you could instead position your situation as a one-off and request more credit towards that January cruise?
  • When you communicate with Princess from here on in, do you best to stick to the facts most relevant to your request for compensation and put it in writing. For example, that you had to wait a couple hours for a customer service person to review your room is not related your reason to request compensation -- it's just an added hassle.
  • Did your TA approve or facilitate the so-called upgrade?
  • How is the 'Carnival' guarantee relevant? Weren't you on Princess Cruises?
Some lessons, likely not helpful to the OP now, but for others who have similar situations:
  • When offered an 'upgrade', ask for the specific stateroom number before accepting. Look it up on cruisecritic.com & do a google search. Many so-called suites have pictures on that site or videos posted on YouTube by prior passengers. Do not accept an upgrade where you are given the stateroom number at embarkation, because it will likely be an obstructed view or have issues similar to the OP such that no one would choose it.
  • Cruise lines often offer 'free' cabins (pay only port taxes & possibly a reservation fee) to casino customers then try to upsell an upgrade at a much higher cost. That appears to the case here.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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Princess is owned by Carnival but the Carnival guarantee is only for Carnival ships, not Princess. It’s to try to change peoples perception about Carnival being the “party” ships. Princess is two steps above Carnival in both experience and price and they don’t need to prove to people they will enjoy the cruise.

Folks need to really look at what they are “upgrading” to before they do it. First- many of those “upgrades” end up costing more than if a new person simply went into the website and booked the same category. We stopped sending them to clients when we saw that the customer could do a new booking in that same category for less then our clients actually paid for the downgraded cabin they were in! It opens a can of worms where travelers realize that it’s not a deal after all.

Second- you need to look at the actual cabin before upgrading. If the OP had looked at the configuration. they would have seen that the second bedroom on some of these ships is no larger than a closet and are really meant for two children, not adults.
 
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justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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So the problem you will face is that it was an upgrade. A mini-suite to a suite is an upgrade no matter how you slice it. I see it all the time on Cruise Critic - people are excited about an upgrade but then decide it's not an upgrade because it's not a better cabin according to them. All cruise lines have very strict cabin categories and hierarchies and it's very easy to see what the cruiseline considers an upgrade - and unfortunately it's the cruiseline's definition that matters. If you go on Princess' website it's very clear what a two-bedroom suite is on Caribbean Princess -- it's exactly as you described. https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/ships/cb-caribbean-princess/ You should have looked up the room before you accepted it - in the description of the cabin the first bullet says "Mini-Suite stateroom connected to an inside cabin via a shared lounge ".

Regarding the wind issue - it's something that could always happen with a balcony. Based on the winds and the direction the ship is traveling it's always possible that your balcony could be too windy to use.


I'm not familiar with Princess pricing so I'm not sure on how much $1000 was of the total price you paid to upgrade, but considering the room was exactly as advertised (you just failed to check the room description on the website before accepting) I would say $1000 is a pretty good deal.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
I have to agree with the others that suggest taking the $1,000. I wouldn’t have changed from having my own mini suite for two to having to share a 2 bedroom suite- one of you had to get stuck in the small bedroom- how did you decide which couple was going to get it?

Also- was the mini suite on the same side of the ship as the two bedroom? The wind would have affected many cabins on one side of the ship. But when you were returning, the ship would have been facing the opposite direction - were you able to use the balcony on the return?