The C Word

Published: June 13th 2017
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Geo: 37.7792, -122.42

Sunday 22/03/09 At Sea Temps Air 14°C Sea 13°C


Since the breakdown of the ship after leaving Sydney there's been nothing but moaning, some of it valid and understandable, for us personally missing the South Sea Islands out of the itinerary was a bitter disappointment but some things you just can't change or influence. When we left Auckland a team of Customer Relations staff boarded the ship and upon entering our cabin information had been left outlining the compensation to be paid for the missed ports and inconvenience suffered. The information provided was ambiguous to say the least so I made an appointment to see the Customer Relations staff to clarify the position, whilst she was very professional the offer as explained by her was whole unsatisfactory and I asked her to record my dissatisfaction.

As a result of that meting I emailed the ship registering my complaint and asking for the address of the Customer Relations Manager of Carnival Cruise the parent company of P&O (sounds daft I know but I wanted as record of my complaint)

Upon return to the cabin at night I received two voice mails the first telling me my email to Carnival Cruises had in fact been sent to the ship ( if they had checked and read the email correctly they would have seen I was asking for Carnivals address and the email was sent to the ship, more incompetence). The second voice mail was from the Purser responsible for passenger service, the one I had a previous run in with. He informed me the offer as indicated in my email was factually incorrect and went on to explain the details of the offer, he completely ignored the fact that as my email stated the information on the terms of the offer was that provided to me by their Customer Relations staff.

To further compound the situation a group of passengers have formed a committee in an attempt to get P&O to increase their offer to either a free cruise to cover the missing ports, or a cash equivalent so that individuals may make their own arrangements; in the event of an unfavourable response then legal action is being contemplated. The effect of this is that there's a continual underlying current of bad feeling and negativity which is having a demoralising effect on the ship and its passengers, the only conversation you hear now is about compensation. I came away expecting to have a great holiday, relax, and enjoy myself, now I despair, let me out of here!

Tuesday 24/03/09 San Francisco - USA Temps Air 18°C Sea 12°C

Up at 05:30 so that we can witness the approach to San Francisco and the passage under the Golden Gate Bridge, it didn't disappoint, a beautiful sight made all the more magical by the sea approach, it felt like a home coming, we just love this place even the Americans are sociable. We had intended to walk over the bridge on our last visit but ran out of time, so this time with our limited time in the city it became the priority. With a full breakfast on board we were away for 08:30 walking along Fisherman's Wharf to catch the local bus up to Fort Point and the GG Bridge Visitor centre. (we had to stop on route as Linda wanted to see the Sea Lions)

Despite the weather forecast predicting a sunny but cool 14°C by 09:30 it was a very warm 18°C (made even warmer due to our fleeces, so much for forecasts) and a beautiful clear sunny day, with a pleasant wind as we waked across the bridge. When we caught the bus as expected there were other tourist also making the trip across and one of them a Spanish guy by the name of Fernando who spoke reasonable English tagged along with us for the journey, he was a great companion, and we both ended up taking photos for each other which we wouldn't have been able to take otherwise.

Half way across the bridge there were a team of workmen painting the suspension cables, and of course me being me had to stop and chat with them. They attach a device similar to a collet to the suspension cable (this device has numerous cables and tubes attached) which then drives itself up to the top of the cable before descending, on the way down it applies the required coat of paint, all in all a pretty neat job. The foreman told me the bridge is totally repainted every 15 years and the job takes 2 years from start to finish, he told me the job he was doing was the most difficult, however the guys further along the bridge (yup I couldn't resist talking to them a well, Linda & Fernando had gone on without me by this time!) told me that they paint the actual main cable encasements which are some 36" across and contains 27572 individual steel cables. These run up from the road to the tops of the iconic towers, and it's from these to which the smaller vertical suspension cables hang supporting the weight of the road deck below; and yes he assured me his gang had the most difficult and dangerous job!

Eventually I managed to catch up with the others and we continued our journey, all the time watching the panorama unfolding below and to either side of us; ferries to Alcatraz & Sausalito, container ships just clearing the underneath of the bridge, the endless stream of vehicles making the crossing, and dolphins and seals playing in the bay below, what a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. Much to Linda's annoyance I stopped to talk to a policeman on his mountain bike and discovered he was extracting the data from the roadside speed cameras, same old, same old, doesn't matter where you are.

The return trip was quicker but equally as enjoyable as I had already spoken to everyone previously, ha ha. The three of us then walked down to Fort Point to get more shots of the GG Bridge from ground level before parting to go our separate ways, we exchanged contact details and fully anticipate meeting again when we travel down to Spain on our annual migration with the caravan.

Dinner at a local restaurant, a new pair of Oakleys for me, a replacement camera bag to hold everything, and that's it time to make our way back to the ship via Pier 39 with all its attractions, and of course a final stop on route to say goodbye to the sea lions. A brilliant day, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and still we've left so much to do, oh well there's always next time, perhaps.

We sailed at 18:00 to the sounds of the ships horn and waves from the crowds below, the sight of the San Francisco shoreline from the ship as we travelled out towards the bridge was memorable, as we sailed under that most iconic of bridges we said farewell to a city we love and hope to return to again, (my patience and custom formalities permitting).

Additional photos below
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30th March 2009

Glad to see... you can still have fun despite the major inconvenience of your ship breaking down! Keep up the great writing. Louise BrownTravelPod Community Manager

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