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Published: June 13th 2017
Geo: 7.97501, 98.3515
Thursday 05/02/09 At Sea
10:00 Well the night wasn't too bad just like a 10hr roller coaster ride, slept quite well and enjoyed a cooked brekki so all's well with the world.
13:00 The captain announced that he had to make a wide diversion last night and that the cyclone is now behind us and heading for Madagascar with winds of 150mph + although we can expect to be buffeted for a while longer until the distance between us increases.
Friday 06-09/02/09 At Sea, Air Temp 28-29°C Sea 28°C
I've held back from expressing my opinions of my fellow passengers but it's time to reveal all, warts and all.
Let me start by saying we're extremely lucky to have good company at our evening dinner table, they are Bill, retired General Manager (used to be the GM for Invicta Plastics at Oadby), his partner Mary who is of independent means, Norman, retired accountant for a multi national company, and his wife Lillian, Barry partially retired Company Director, & Barbara his wife, retired banking manager. Both Barry & Norman have properties in Cyprus and Norman only spends the mandatory 3 months maximum in
the UK to comply with tax legislation (ever the accountant). All like minded soles that unfortunately have little time for poor service, bad manners, or worst of all being fobbed off; more on that later.
We're on P&Os MV Aurora a 75000 ton ship with approx. 1900 passengers (the number varies according to the number of people embarking & disembarking at different legs of the journey) and 850 staff; of the original 1850 passengers who boarded at Southampton 1680 are doing the full around the world cruise, and therein lies the problem.
What I had never previously considered was the profile of the passengers doing the whole trip, on our previous cruises it had never been a problem, other than an excess of loudmouthed yanks on cruises either departing from, or taking in American / Caribbean ports. I suppose I had imagined my fellow passengers on this voyage to be in the main professional, with certain standards of dress and decorum, and in the main able bodied, boy was I wrong.
The vast majority are perpetual cruisers, yesterday I over heard two women extolling the virtues of a previous ship in comparison to the Aurora, one of
which was on her 10th world cruise and the other on her 14th in addition to numerous other shorter cruises, one woman (notice they're all women, the men don't last as long, we wear out quicker) claims to have completed 258 cruises over the last 40 years. As a result there's a perception by most of these veterans that they have divine rights over certain aspects of ship life such as they think they own specific chairs, seating positions adjacent to windows, and the ability to just wander up to the front of any queue and get away with it. As you can imagine this continues to be a source of regular complaint and more recently confrontations, on a shorter cruise it may well be overlooked but on a cruise of this duration the complete lack of manners & respect exhibited by some is becoming and increasing issue.
There's a high proportion of infirm passengers not just the ones with walking sticks, but a large contingent of them with electric chairs & scooters the sheer amount of these war chariots charging around the ship is sight to behold, at night they left in communal areas outside the lifts
and central stair wells being recharged for the next days battles. I should explain that I'm in no way prejudice against them being on board but I believe the sheer number actual presents a real safety issue onboard.
On planes the number of passengers allowed to travel with restricted mobility is controlled on the grounds of the safety of ALL passengers. What we're potentially faced with is the narrow corridors being blocked by the sheer amount of passengers who are unable to make reasonable progress, and then major congestion on the central stair ways as they can only reach the different levels by lift which aren't to be used in emergences; if they have to be manhandled/ assisted down numerous flights of stairs the vast majority of passengers will never make it in the event of an emergency. There's been in increase in
underground murmuring and concern at the problem the large amount of infirm people is causing day to day and would potentially cause.
Passengers are getting so fed up with the situation that they're now jumping on the band wagon, and there's all sorts of afflictions coming to the forefront, these necessitate such things
as having to reserve the seats at the front of tour coaches as they are unable to travel in any other position due to the confining nature of a coach, Some make great play about their inability to stand for any length of time waving their walking sticks ( folding variety) to get preferential treatment and they can be seen later walking the halls of shopping malls with their stick now folded away in their bags.
We're unfortunate in that we have a large amount of passengers carrying but totally unaffected by that rare and contagious disease "quadruple elbow", whenever there's a queue this frightening disease reveals itself 65+ they may be but they're there, all 4 elbows in full flailing motion in their desperate fight for life to get to the front.
The other prevalent affliction on board is pistonarm, this can be witnessed on the prom deck every day and at anytime when the dedicated speed walkers have to slow down for slower walkers or the lame / limping, their arms start pumping away like horizontal pistons and they think nothing of nudging the slower people out of the way if they can't perform
the chicane manoeuvre, one woman even completes the days crosswords and sudoku puzzles whilst speed walking.
Thank goodness for us dedicated bar proper uppers who cause no discomfort to anyone unless they try to get their round in out of order, we're happy just to have a quite drink and watch the waves pass by majestically. Ongoing Problems
Last week after a long period of biting my tongue (I'm on holiday after all) I had to formally raise a complaint regarding a number of on going service issues, which, despite my bring it to the appropriate staff's attention weren't bring addressed. I should explain that these are issues that effected a lot of passengers who moaning about the problem daily but failed to do anything about them. I was immediately contacted by the Executive Purser who after a long discussion I discovered was the officer responsible for the "passenger experience" he went though some of the problems they were experiencing and I gave him the passengers perception which as the responsible officer he should have been proactively addressing but failed lamentably, I insisted that the officer responsible for each of the problem areas I'd raised contact
me with an explanation of what the problem was and why it wasn't either being rectified or the passengers informed of what was being done.
Within an hour of my conversation with the purser the Deputy Captain rang the cabin, Linda took the call as I was shaving and she wasn't a happy bunny having to make small chat whilst I came to the phone, anyway I was informed that having read my complaint the captain had instructed all the deck officers to carry out the recommendations I'd proposed with immediate effect, result, and sure enough the following day things were improved, and I received a round of applause from my table companions.
As yet the other two outstanding issues haven't been resolved ( I'm still waiting for one officer to contact me as promised on a voice mail left on the phone)and the Exec Purser obviously hasn't bother to either check with myself or the officers concerned that the complaints have been resolved, not good, I'll be contacting him again soon and will update later.
Tuesday 10/02/09 Phuket - Thailand Temps air 33°C Sea 28°C
Arrived Phuket 07:00 The Cruise terminal was supposed to
have been finished a month previously but was behind schedule so we would have to use tenders to get to the shore. We originally planned to just spend the day in and around the town but there was an opportunity to visit what's now know world wide as "James Bond Island" where there the Island with a pinnacle of rock jutting out of the sea, featured in the film(I can't for the life of remember which film it was) but it it's now synonymous with Phuket, so we booked. Anyway it was a sapping 33°C with very high humidity so a 2 hr boat ride around the islands was defiantly a better option than walking around the town or visiting the air conditioned malls. It was a really good tour and as glad as we were to have made the trip it was great to return to the ship and shower the remains of the day away. At dinner that night we discovered that after the first tender left (we were fortunate to be on it) the other two tenders broke down and the whole thing turned into a fiasco, as passengers with booked excursions were eventually tendered ashore the ones left doing their own thing didn't finally get off until after 11:00, meaning they lost most of the day. There were hundreds of very angry passengers at dinner that night.
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