Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
berlingo

Where have all the Porters gone?

Recommended Posts

22 hours ago, majortom10 said:

We recently cruised onboard Britannia from the Ocean Terminal and when we arrived because of the CPS lane outside the terminal was full was directed across the road to where there was a overflow queue of 3 lanes of cars waiting and they were directed across by staff when there was space back by the terminal. My thoughts are that with the introduction of Iona and the number of people then this procedure will not be good enough and the overflow lanes will not be big enough so they are straight away on your arrival directing you to this "new" area where you unload your luggage yourself and load them onto an airport style trolley and push them yourself to the "hole in the wall" at the terminal and CPS drive away your car as normal. This I am afraid is a sign of the times of building bigger ships without the thought of good enough infrastructure at the terminals/ports.

 

This happened to us with Britannia back in 2015 (over 1 hour wait for handover) and again on the same ship in 2017 (45 minutes wait). Since then we no longer use CPS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Further Update

 

I have spoken to my very helpful contact at P&O who has read me the communication that they have received from CPS. It was as vague as the communication CPS had with me, but added some extra detail to my last update (posted on this thread yesterday).

 

The ‘new’ CPS vehicle drop procedure is currently being trialled on 4 Britannia cruises, but the assumption is that it will become standard practice at Ocean Terminal (only) for all Britannia and Iona cruises. 

 

In the email, CPS have a section that’s titled ‘what will customers notice that is different?’ which goes on to state;

 

1) The new car drop facility is approx 30 metres from the terminal (Note - they had told me 20 metres but I don’t believe that either can be true, as you walk further than that in the current drop off lanes! I suspect that it’s 30 metres outside the perimeter of the defined terminal area, so the walking distance will be much further).

 

2) The stacking lanes (that can currently cause prolonged waits before you are even called forward to the drop off lanes) will no longer be used. Drivers will be directed to the new drop off area upon arrival (Note - how that will result in shorter wait times I fail to understand, unless they have significantly more staff to check in and remove cars - which I doubt). 

 

3) Passengers will then be expected to take their own luggage to the terminal building. Trolleys will be provided, but not porters.

 

4) Assistance should be available for disabled passengers.    

 

This new procedure means that CPS loses its unique point of difference over all the other cruise parking operators (i.e. checking in the car immediately in front of the terminal building) at Ocean Terminal. I have a booking with them from Mayflower cruise terminal in November and will keep that one (as the process should be unchanged) but I have cancelled my booking for next years cruise from Ocean Terminal and re-booked with another company. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if the statement means that CPS will operate as before from the Mayflower Terminal as the one above refers only to the Ocean Terminal.  We are going from Mayflower at the beginning of September - we are not using CPS as it's a month cruise so we won't be leaving our car but arriving by taxi.  I'll have a look to see what's going on with CPS and porters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may be wrong but the new drop off area may well be the area where coaches wait for disembarking passengers at the end of cruises.  This is only a short walk from the cruise terminal.  I think the hold up in dropping your car off is due to the lack of CPS drivers to remove the cars to an holding area and then return on a mini bus. By driving to a larger area first this will allow more cars to be booked in by CPS in a shorter time. CPS are obviously trying to implement a system before the larger Iona ship arrives. Unless the Port is going to reduce the number of porters I do not see why they can not still be at the new drop off zone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Cruising Nomads said:

I may be wrong but the new drop off area may well be the area where coaches wait for disembarking passengers at the end of cruises.  This is only a short walk from the cruise terminal.  I think the hold up in dropping your car off is due to the lack of CPS drivers to remove the cars to an holding area and then return on a mini bus. By driving to a larger area first this will allow more cars to be booked in by CPS in a shorter time. CPS are obviously trying to implement a system before the larger Iona ship arrives. Unless the Port is going to reduce the number of porters I do not see why they can not still be at the new drop off zone.

 

Apparently the new CPS drop off area is covered, if that helps. I agree that there is no reason why porters should not be available, but CPS will not commit to it and are suggesting that they won’t. They say that porters are not employed by them and are suggesting that assistance will be provided to disabled passengers only, other passengers being expected to take their luggage (presumably on trolleys) ‘the short distance to the terminal’. For some that won’t be an issue. For others it will be. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, annieuk said:

I wonder if the statement means that CPS will operate as before from the Mayflower Terminal as the one above refers only to the Ocean Terminal.  We are going from Mayflower at the beginning of September - we are not using CPS as it's a month cruise so we won't be leaving our car but arriving by taxi.  I'll have a look to see what's going on with CPS and porters.

 

I am assured that there is no change to drop off arrangements at Mayflower. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Selbourne said:

 

Apparently the new CPS drop off area is covered, if that helps. I agree that there is no reason why porters should not be available, but CPS will not commit to it and are suggesting that they won’t. They say that porters are not employed by them and are suggesting that assistance will be provided to disabled passengers only, other passengers being expected to take their luggage (presumably on trolleys) ‘the short distance to the terminal’. For some that won’t be an issue. For others it will be. 

Just a thought Selbourne, when you get off the ship very few people use the porters to help them to the CPS car park most use the self help trollies so most people should not be that inconvenienced. They do need to sort out the help for disabled people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, daiB said:

Just a thought Selbourne, when you get off the ship very few people use the porters to help them to the CPS car park most use the self help trollies so most people should not be that inconvenienced. They do need to sort out the help for disabled people.

And that's the thing I dread on the last day; really would not want to do it at the beginning as well as the end.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It appears that the service provided by CPS will be almost identical to the service provided by another company. I wonder if they will equalise the prices and it might not be downwards. 

 

Carnival UK is the handling agent for P&O at Southampton. They arrange the portering either directly or indirectly.  If more porter are required and porters are required in a drop off area, then I am sure this could be arranged, if there is a will. 

 

CPS will continue to do business at Southampton as long as they have the contract for parking inclusive cruise bookings. Many passengers will just select that perk and put up with whatever level of service is provided. Personally I have never had to wait more than thirty seconds for my car to be dealt with but some people seem to have had bad experiences. 

 

Other ports with car car parks I have seen, have big trailers in the car parks.  You pull up near a trailer. Porters will carry luggage you from your car to the trailer. You can do it yourself but they prefer to professionally load the trailers. They do not need many porters for all that. When the trailer is full it is driven to the terminal. Perhaps golf buggies could take passengers who need assistance to the terminal entrance. I have seen such vehicles at railway stations. 

 

P and O, CPS and the port just need to engage their collective brains on this. 

 

If I wanted a poor level of service and to queue I would fly. Southampton was my favourite port but the way it is going I prefer some of the smaller ports now. Cardiff might be a tent but they got me on my ship immediately. 

 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

Edited by stephen@stoneyard.co.uk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, happy v said:

I thought they were building a new terminal for Iona.

 

There has been talk of another terminal at Southampton. It has been going on for years. The Ocean Terminal has been extended and or reconfigured to handle Iona. I feel Ocean is always going to be constrained by space. I wonder if in the long term the Mayflower will be rebuilt substantially bigger. The Oasis class use two adjacent terminal at Barcelona. One for forward cabins and one for aft cabins. This spreads the load and means they can alternatively handle two smaller ships. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, daiB said:

Just a thought Selbourne, when you get off the ship very few people use the porters to help them to the CPS car park most use the self help trollies so most people should not be that inconvenienced. They do need to sort out the help for disabled people.

 

Very good point Dai and you are of course correct. I guess that the biggest issue is that for cruises of 14 nights or more CPS can be twice the price of the other operators and the only thing that they offer that can justify a higher price is the ability to drop the car directly in front of the terminal and have porters take the luggage from you at your car. Of course, most passengers probably just accept ‘free parking’, unaware that if they opted for additional OBC they could book parking themselves for a much cheaper cost than the extra OBC they have been given. That fact, along with CPS being in partnership with P&O, will no doubt provide them with no incentive to lower their prices. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Selbourne said:

Further Update

 

I have spoken to my very helpful contact at P&O who has read me the communication that they have received from CPS. It was as vague as the communication CPS had with me, but added some extra detail to my last update (posted on this thread yesterday).

 

The ‘new’ CPS vehicle drop procedure is currently being trialled on 4 Britannia cruises, but the assumption is that it will become standard practice at Ocean Terminal (only) for all Britannia and Iona cruises. 

 

In the email, CPS have a section that’s titled ‘what will customers notice that is different?’ which goes on to state;

 

1) The new car drop facility is approx 30 metres from the terminal (Note - they had told me 20 metres but I don’t believe that either can be true, as you walk further than that in the current drop off lanes! I suspect that it’s 30 metres outside the perimeter of the defined terminal area, so the walking distance will be much further).

 

2) The stacking lanes (that can currently cause prolonged waits before you are even called forward to the drop off lanes) will no longer be used. Drivers will be directed to the new drop off area upon arrival (Note - how that will result in shorter wait times I fail to understand, unless they have significantly more staff to check in and remove cars - which I doubt). 

 

3) Passengers will then be expected to take their own luggage to the terminal building. Trolleys will be provided, but not porters.

 

4) Assistance should be available for disabled passengers.    

 

This new procedure means that CPS loses its unique point of difference over all the other cruise parking operators (i.e. checking in the car immediately in front of the terminal building) at Ocean Terminal. I have a booking with them from Mayflower cruise terminal in November and will keep that one (as the process should be unchanged) but I have cancelled my booking for next years cruise from Ocean Terminal and re-booked with another company. 

 

 

 

Hi OP here

 

Just had some new information from my source on Britannia.

 

Apparently when the new CPS system was operating on Saturday if passengers expressed dissatisfaction they were told that the change was down to P&O not CPS and any complaints should therefore be made inside the terminal.

 

Interesting don’t you think?

 

Julia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, berlingo said:

 

 

Hi OP here

 

Just had some new information from my source on Britannia.

 

Apparently when the new CPS system was operating on Saturday if passengers expressed dissatisfaction they were told that the change was down to P&O not CPS and any complaints should therefore be made inside the terminal.

 

Interesting don’t you think?

 

Julia

 

For what they charge I would expect complaints to treated with more concern. 

 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, berlingo said:

 

 

Hi OP here

 

Just had some new information from my source on Britannia.

 

Apparently when the new CPS system was operating on Saturday if passengers expressed dissatisfaction they were told that the change was down to P&O not CPS and any complaints should therefore be made inside the terminal.

 

Interesting don’t you think?

 

Julia

 

Interesting, but having now had dialogue with both CPS and P&O about this issue, I believe that CPS are being somewhat disingenuous here. 

 

The change in drop off arrangement has come from CPS. It has been a source of some frustration to many cruisers that if you arrive at Ocean Terminal at certain times you can be held in stacking lanes for some time prior to be called forward to the drop off / vehicle checking lanes. This was a source of irritation to us when we had arrived at the terminal prior to midday (in order to be checked in and take advantage of early boarding privileges that we were entitled to), only to lose much of this time advantage through CPS delays. Friends of ours on another Britannia cruise arrived just before their dedicated embarkation time slot and were queuing for over an hour to drop their car with CPS, which really annoyed them. CPS (in the communication that they sent to P&O explaining the changes) believe that the new arrangement will avoid this stacking problem (which they don’t need at Mayflower with the smaller ships). We shall see. 

 

I strongly suspect that the ‘blame P&O’ line is in reference to the lack of porters in the new area, as they tried that one on me. However, it is important to note that neither the terminal nor the porters are under the control of P&O. The terminal, as with all of Southampton Docks, is owned by Associated British Ports. I don’t know for sure (so this bit is pure speculation on my part), but I strongly suspect that the porters operate within a unionised environment and will have expressed some dissatisfaction at having to convey luggage over much greater distances, a dissatisfaction that may of course ease if they received a pay rise (i.e. typical trade union modus operandi). If CPS hadn’t thought this through, or haven’t been able to negotiate porter service from the new drop off area yet, it is very easy (as, to be fair, the porters are not within their control) to say ‘you need to speak to P&O about that’, as they said to me. Of course, it’s not within P&O’s control either so, as is often the case in such situations, the customer is stuck in the middle. 

 

Of course, DaiB makes a very good point, which could undermine my theory, that most passengers are quite content when returning from their cruise to push their luggage to their car - a distance that is further than the distance required to push their luggage into the terminal from the new drop off area when they embark - and CPS may have just decided that if it’s not an issue when passengers disembark then it shouldn’t be an issue when they embark (and ‘new to cruising’ passengers, of which many using Iona and Britannia will be, will know no different). Then, all they have to do when those of us who know differently complain about the loss of porters, is say ‘speak to P&O’! 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally don't have a problem walking a further distance to drop off the car but my husband is a wheelchair user and although he can push himself it is difficult. I would have to load the trolley with luggage and a shower/commode and push it to the hole in the wall. Going may not be a mega problem but returning would be even worse as I would also have the luggage to collect that I send down with Baggage Handling Company to contend with. I certainly hope there are porters in the baggage hall to help me or I am in an impossible situation. Thankfully I only have Iona and Azura next year so only one cruise is going to cause problems unless they then implement the procedure on Azura as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, stocktonmackem said:

I personally don't have a problem walking a further distance to drop off the car but my husband is a wheelchair user and although he can push himself it is difficult. I would have to load the trolley with luggage and a shower/commode and push it to the hole in the wall. Going may not be a mega problem but returning would be even worse as I would also have the luggage to collect that I send down with Baggage Handling Company to contend with. I certainly hope there are porters in the baggage hall to help me or I am in an impossible situation. Thankfully I only have Iona and Azura next year so only one cruise is going to cause problems unless they then implement the procedure on Azura as well.

Pat, I don’t think anyone has said that the porters who are there at disembarkation will not be there if a new system is used. They need the porters to unload the baggage in the first place. Neither has it been said that the porters will not be there for people being dropped off by car or taxi. If the porters were not there the turnaround would not work.

Edited by daiB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Selbourne is saying CPS is a bit naughty saying blame P&O.  After all CPS are the company taking my money. They advertise a special level of service.  I am sure CPS, P&O, ABP and Carnival UK (Handling Agents) work together and they should do better. 

 

I am beginning to think off port parking is the best option.  At a hotel or even the long stay at the airport which can be quite cheap. If a taxi drops you off at the port there is no  delay. 

 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

 

PS. Regarding the comments about the unions somebody made. I had assumed the porters were on zero hours contracts for Group 4 who are contracted to Carnival UK. In those environments do unions still have representation. I thought it was pretty much take it or leave it for an employee in that situation. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, stephen@stoneyard.co.uk said:

As Selbourne is saying CPS is a bit naughty saying blame P&O.  After all CPS are the company taking my money. They advertise a special level of service.  I am sure CPS, P&O, ABP and Carnival UK (Handling Agents) work together and they should do better. 

 

I am beginning to think off port parking is the best option.  At a hotel or even the long stay at the airport which can be quite cheap. If a taxi drops you off at the port there is no  delay. 

 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

 

PS. Regarding the comments about the unions somebody made. I had assumed the porters were on zero hours contracts for Group 4 who are contracted to Carnival UK. In those environments do unions still have representation. I thought it was pretty much take it or leave it for an employee in that situation. 

 

As far as I know the porters are classed as dockers and work for the Port Authorities. Not P&O or CPS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, daiB said:

Pat, I don’t think anyone has said that the porters who are there at disembarkation will not be there if a new system is used. They need the porters to unload the baggage in the first place. Neither has it been said that the porters will not be there for people being dropped off by car or taxi. If the porters were not there the turnaround would not work.

Just panicking as usual haha x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, daiB said:

As far as I know the porters are classed as dockers and work for the Port Authorities. Not P&O or CPS.

 

Thank you for that information. . I had assumed it would be subcontracted to subcontractor to subcontractor who uses zero hours contracts like so much of modern employment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is complete and uninformed speculation on my part....

 

There were a couple of incidences recently where Britannia was delayed when arriving in to Southampton.  For whatever reason, this seemed to put a lot of pressure on the logistics of embarking new passengers, presumably because the window for loading was reduced or too many people arrived at the same time or whatever.  Gridlock and chaos appeared to be the result.  

 

Is it possible that the increased numbers for Iona cannot be processed in the current way simply because there isn't enough room to physically accommodate all the cars in the timescale?

 

I am neither supporting or criticising P&O or CPS, just wondering if recent events have forced this change by showing that they can't process the required numbers using the old (current) methods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We use an out of town car park that buses us into the terminal (about 20 minutes) which we have found to be very good

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Out of pure interest, we make sure for a 19 night cruise that we have one suitcase each and I have a carry on bag as well.  Both cases have wheels, so apart from getting them out of the back of the estate car, we don't carry them anywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, crompton21 said:

This is complete and uninformed speculation on my part....

 

There were a couple of incidences recently where Britannia was delayed when arriving in to Southampton.  For whatever reason, this seemed to put a lot of pressure on the logistics of embarking new passengers, presumably because the window for loading was reduced or too many people arrived at the same time or whatever.  Gridlock and chaos appeared to be the result.  

 

Is it possible that the increased numbers for Iona cannot be processed in the current way simply because there isn't enough room to physically accommodate all the cars in the timescale?

 

I am neither supporting or criticising P&O or CPS, just wondering if recent events have forced this change by showing that they can't process the required numbers using the old (current) methods.

 

Hi OP here

 

As I mentioned in my original post my brother was told that the change was “necessary because of Iona”.

 

I agree that it is likely by this they meant the size of Iona made embarking passengers more challenging. 

 

However to my mind the solution they propose is far from ideal. Inconveniencing ones clientele and reducing customer service whilst continuing to charge a premium price is not the best business practice.

 

Secondly ensuring disabled individuals have equal access to a service is not optional. To say assistance for people with a disability “should” be available is outrageous and potentially illegal.

 

Finally to make a major reduction to the service provided without notice or compensation as my brother and many others endured last week is sharp practice to say the least.

 

Julia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...