Help! I’m being limited to 15 booze drinks per day on my Princess cruise

Joan Barrett says that she was enticed to book her next Princess cruise by the lure of an unlimited alcoholic beverages package. Now she is asking for our help because the cruise line is limiting her to “just” 15 cocktails per day.

Should anyone on a cruise ship be under the influence of 15 or more alcoholic drinks per day? Probably not. But Barrett says she was promised unlimited booze and that’s what she and her traveling companions are demanding.

“One year after paying for our two-week cruise, we found out that Princess has changed its policy and has limited alcoholic beverages to 15 per day!” Barrett lamented. “I have always thought Princess Cruise Line to be a reputable company and didn’t think we’d have to worry that they would alter the promotion one year later.”

After Barrett discovered this change in the promotion, she began a robust crusade to force Princess to uphold its end of the bargain.

Using the Princess company contacts listed on our site, Barrett pleaded her case to a variety of executives:

Myself and four friends decided to book this cruise based on the Sip ‘n Sail Promotion. Upon receiving our booking confirmation, I noticed it says all-inclusive beverage package but it doesn’t state unlimited. I called my travel agent to clarify and was told that Princess Cruises changed their policy and now there is a daily alcohol limit.

As this issue has been very upsetting to me and my friends I am reaching out to you to get a positive resolution to our problem. I am anxious to have this resolved as soon as possible so I may then concentrate on booking excursions and be able to look forward to an exciting trip of a lifetime. I would like Princess Cruise Line to do the right thing and honor the unlimited terms as advertised

The answer? No. The daily 15-alcoholic drink limit is firm.

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Barrett then threatened to never use Princess Cruises again. (You can probably guess how that turned out.)

“I told [the executive] that I would never take another Princess cruise and would advise all of my friends and family not to do so either,” Barrett recalled. “That executive just said that was my choice, but Princess would not be honoring the unlimited portion of this promotion.”

Reaching the top Princess executives, Barrett says she found nobody sympathetic to her plight. And that is when she turned to our advocates hoping that we could reach out to Princess on her behalf.

“It is that promotion that made our decision to go on a Princess Cruise rather than another cruise line,” she complained to our advocates. “I am requesting your help in getting this promotion for us.”

Although we love to reach successful resolutions for the consumers who contact us, this case had our advocacy team a bit astonished.

Fifteen adult beverages per day is a tremendous amount of alcohol for one person. And, depending on the rate at which those drinks are ingested, a person could easily end up in a state of alcohol poisoning.

I found it hard to imagine how anyone would object to such a copious daily limit.

And with the frequency of news reports of drunken passengers behaving badly on cruise ships, injuring themselves and others and even falling (or jumping) off the ship altogether, it’s easy to see why Princess would put a cap on the cocktails in this package.

But putting all that aside, our advocates did take a look at the Sip ‘n Sail package as listed on the Princess website.

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While it does indicate that the package is “all-inclusive,” it doesn’t say “unlimited.”

In the fine print of this promotion it says “A daily alcoholic drink limit will apply.” That limit is not specifically defined. But when Barrett asked, she found that on her cruise it would be 15 drinks per day.

Barrett believes that the package was changed after she and her friends signed up for the promotion. Unfortunately, for Barrett, it doesn’t matter. The terms and conditions of the beverage packages highlight that: “Princess Cruises may modify, amend or update the terms and conditions at any time with or without notice to guests.”

In the end, our advocacy team couldn’t get on board with asking Princess to make sure that Barrett and her companions can drink beyond 15 alcoholic drinks per day during their upcoming cruise. Drinking to excess isn’t wise or healthy and we can’t support that endeavor, but we hope that this group can still enjoy their “trip of a lifetime” even within these confines.

Editors note: This is one of our most visited columns of 2017. We’re republishing some of our best stories this week.

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Michelle Couch-Friedman

Michelle is the executive director of Elliott.org. She is a consumer advocate, writer and licensed clinical social worker who spends as much time as possible exploring the world with her family. Contact her at Michelle Friedman Read more of Michelle's articles here.

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