Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Paris Catacombs

The Catacombs Of Paris is a great offbeat tourist attraction. Its an old ossuary which part of an underground labyrinth cemetery dating back to the 1800's when the poor couldnt afford a proper burial. Many have died back then from various diseases & plagues that haunted and hung over the villages and towns all over Europe during that time. SO they took the bones of the remains and stored them underground as their final resting place and their final closure.

Its a wonderful but eerie thing to see upclose & personal but you'll have to get there early as the lines get long and they allow 200 people at a time for crowd control purposes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thats how they treat Loyality?

I have been cruising for the past 20+ years with friends & family and now with my fiancĂ©/current wife for the past 8 years, in 2010 we got married on a Mediterranean cruise and have decided to celebrate each year of marriage with a cruise. This is our 3rd wedding anniversary and 3rd cruise together as a married couple, and as avid cruisers we decided to celebrate it on the Grand Princess sailing out of San Fransisco on a coastal cruise since we’ve never been on Princess cruise line (or San Fransisco) and wanted to see the comparison from the others we’ve cruised with. The embarkation process in San Fran was quick, easy & painless as most are even not being an Elite or Suite member.
.I’d truly have to say this has been the WORST cruise experience either us as had to date. Our issues started when we arrived at our 2nd port of Long Beach on October 22nd. the issue was that the limited amount of tours offered and the they booked extremely quick, but once we got ashore there was no one around the gangway, dock area or anywhere for that matter to guide and assist us (except to take our photos to view onboard) on attractions, transportation and destinations close by or how they can be attained access to.. In Santa Barbara they were people to greet and help us out with sites to see & things to do.

We were fortunate enough to find a shuttle drivers talking over a coffee break around the parking area (a service we’ve used for airport transport many times) that I recognized there uniforms. They went into the parking structure to get their van and pick us up and take us to Hollywood Strip, once in the van I asked why they don’t show their presence so people know they have options to get around to other local areas other than Long Beach area or to Los Angeles. They said the cruise lines don’t want them known as they “take away business from the onboard tours offered (in other words: “DON’T MUSCLE IN ON OUR RACKET!!) Now that’s outright wrong one sided and I’d call that monopolizing on the controlled situation. I understand the $$ issue on Princess’s part but c’mon now! We are the paying passengers past, present & (hopefully) future and beyond. Upon our return back onboard, we spoke to a purser named Jeff O’Donnell from Canada, and when my wife spoke with him about some issues we had and questions about the above issue, he was pretty clueless. After we were back on ship at dinner, we spoke with other passengers about their day, and found out that with our folio card we could have complimentary toured the Queen Mary. This is something my wife would have loved, and again, we knew nothing about it. No one from Princess ever mentioned that tours were available (and was free) for Princess Passengers.

We were very disappointed about the dining options as well, especially the buffet as there was a very small choice and never any variety as it was the same daily & nightly. Our experience in the main dining room (Botticelli) was also disappointing. Our servers were ok in their service, but he had an attitude problem, the first night he rolled his eyes and acted as if it were an inconvience to wait on our table.. He has been a bit nicer since our first night, but nothing like servers we have had on other ships. My wife always has a soda with dinner and on other ships after the first night, the servers automatically bring the soda to the table, here he asks every night.
There have been some good moments on the ship, and the girls at the customer service counter, Corina Woehrl & Ilva Vezzaro (both customer service agents) have been very helpful, nice and accommodating during our interactions with that desk. The entertainment was also good and very enjoyable