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Azura passengers stranded?

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43 minutes ago, vsgnorwich said:

Re Tring's question of the steptest what was meant to happen I have attached the relevant P&O document, which seems perfectly appropriate, but was not adhered to. 

IMG_20191013_125548.jpg

 

Thank you very much for sharing that document.  It does seem P&O have a lot of reviewing to do regards their procedures.  I have never seen the provision of that previously on any cruise line, but it is obviously needed now a lot of new cruisers are travelling on some P&O ships.

 

Thank you again for all the information you have provided here and good luck with your dealings with P&O.  If people do not fight for some decent treatment after that sort of event, then P&O will continue to just bungle their way along rather than improve their methods for the benefit of us all.

Edited by tring

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15 hours ago, tring said:

The big hotels in Rovinj are out of town but within walking distance and other tourist resorts are nearby as well.  There will also be oodles of hotels on Guernsey not that far away.

But the hotels are not available in the ports I mentioned, Kirkwall, Stornaway etc. I do not believe the information about that part of contingency planning is true for P&O or any cruise line.

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DaiB: the Azura Captain told us directly that sourcing hotel accomodation is step one of the contingency plan and that is why 3 years ago he advised P&O / Carnival to not tender at Monaco during the yacht show (as I have already detailed in the review)

https://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=667425&et_cid=3214772&et_rid=118174872&et_referrer=Boards

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5 hours ago, vsgnorwich said:

At the Q&A session with some of the affected passengers and in the letter that was placed in the cabin of those affected, the Captain "wished to apologise for the disruption you suffered during our call in Monte Carlo". At the meeting they defended the decision to anchor and tender, by the weather and sea forecast being good. As detailed in the review, the Captain also volunteered that 3 years ago he had warned P&O / Carnival not to tender during the yacht show and also 2 weeks before, they had tried to secure tender facilities at Villefranche, but were unable to do so. 

The tone on the ship following the event was mixed, there were many passengers who were extremely angry and tearful (some reporting recurrent nightmares and extreme emotional distress); others who were very accepting; some a mixture of both; there were many unaffected passengers who had no idea of what we had gone through and were horrified at the stories and photo evidence; others that were cross at the press coverage, either thinking it was exaggerated and others thinking it was underplayed. There were also a large number of affected passengers who took many days to recover from the ordeal either due to sleep deprivation, fatigue, musculoskeletal problems or emotional distress, so had most of the 2nd week of their cruise wiped out.

Our evaluation of these varied reactions leads us to believe that it depended on: 

1. The physical condition of passengers prior to the event

2. Whether this was your first cruise or not

3. The exact individual experience e.g. if you had been one of the excursion returners at 5pm who had been told by the Intercontinental man not to join the queue, but to seek shelter and facilities in the commercial centre, or if you had queued from 1.30; if you been one of the unlucky people in the 2 horrendous priority tenders and suffered a traumatic hour being thrown around in a tender in the pitch black, with  those around you screaming, vomiting and having panic attacks, whilst being trapped by all the wheelchairs, scooters and buggies in the exits; if you had managed to get a blanket, stretcher, camp bed, food or had to lay on the cold, concrete floor on top of a flattened biscuit box etc etc.

 

Re back home, as detailed in the review we received a hamper, with a compliments slip stating "a warm welcome home from all to enjoy from P&O cruises". There was no accompanying apology. The response to date to our complaint letter thanked us for our email and "I have taken note of your comments and have passed them on to our guest relations team, who will respond within 28 days.....I would also like to thank you for taking the time to share your feedback". I personally feel, that given the severe nature of this event and the hundreds of affected passengers, that P&O would already have allocated dedicated staff to address the complaints that would be coming in on an urgent basis, rather than the standard acknowledgement and response time.

 


Very lacklustre response from the shore office considering the situation in your complaint. I suppose you have to give the 28 days for a full response but it does not bode well. 
 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

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3 hours ago, vsgnorwich said:

Completely agree with CarlaMarie.  Every cabin was given the clear P&O statement regarding tendering, including "you must have independent mobility. By that we mean you must be able to negotiate the steps, the gap and height difference unaided.....and demonstrate this ability via a mobility test.....over a distance of 45cm/18 inches......there will be crew members there to guide and steady you as you embark, but they cannot support, carry or lift guests....."

There was a lot more pertinent detail on the statement, which both passengers, crew and officers ignored.  This put all the other passengers and crew at severe risk.  I am disabled myself and a part time wheelchair user, but would never selfishly put other peoples' health and lives at risk. I was extremely offended by terrierjohn's post #114 "in P&O's case I might be biased because as a wheelchair using couple we can never use a tender on a P&O ship, but on RCI and Celebrity we would also have been ashore if the weather had changed, because they do go the extra mile to provide a good experience to all their passengers"

especially as these comments were made after admitting that they had not read the review, which detailed the issues of the non compliance of the steptest by passengers that could not stand / walk unaided being carried onto / off tenders and tender exits blocked by wheelchairs and scooters etc.

Personally I think it is unreasonable to expect any staff from any cruise line to risk their own health, spine and safety by lifting passengers onto tenders. Lastly P&O do not prevent wheelchair users boarding the tender "providing you have enough independent mobility to be able to get out of your wheelchair / mobility scooter and embark on foot.......you or your travelling companion are responsible for assembling and disassembling your wheelchair / mobility scooter".   

I am sorry you took offence at the above post but obviously you have never experienced the high customer service standards that the RCI cruise group provide to their wheelchair passengers, which was why I made the comparison.

At Villefranche ( I know this is not Monte Carlo) RCI and Celebrity use shore based tenders with a roll on/off capability, and Independence of the seas has a ramp facility down to the tender platform to enable wheelchair bound passengers to go ashore.

I would never expect cruise line crew to lift my wife aboard a tender, unless we were abandoning ship, and since my wife cannot pass the step over test we would have had to remain on board.

I have no idea how the RCI group would have handled the situation you and Azura were in, but possibly their overriding "can do" attitude to customer service might have produced better results, who knows!

But I can say that we would have been very annoyed to have missed Ajaccio which is one of our favourite ports.

 

I have now read the full review, as well as several other reviews which are far more complimentary to P&O, which do I believe, I have no idea since I was not there, but I do know that I would have sought out somewhere more comfortable for my wheelchair using wife to relax and await the decision as to whether the tender operation would resume, rather than stand in line for 2-3 hours whether in sun or shade.

Edited by terrierjohn

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50 minutes ago, vsgnorwich said:

DaiB: the Azura Captain told us directly that sourcing hotel accomodation is step one of the contingency plan and that is why 3 years ago he advised P&O / Carnival to not tender at Monaco during the yacht show (as I have already detailed in the review)

https://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=667425&et_cid=3214772&et_rid=118174872&et_referrer=Boards

Well it cannot be step one for all tender ports. It’s impossible Geiranger for example has one small hotel. Kirkwall has not got the hotels either. 

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15 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

I am sorry you took offence at the above post but obviously you have never experienced the high customer service standards that the RCI cruise group provide to their wheelchair passengers, which was why I made the comparison.

At Villefranche ( I know this is not Monte Carlo) RCI and Celebrity use shore based tenders with a roll on/off capability, and Independence of the seas has a ramp facility down to the tender platform to enable wheelchair bound passengers to go ashore.

I would never expect cruise line crew to lift my wife aboard a tender, unless we were abandoning ship, and since my wife cannot pass the step over test we would have had to remain on board.

I have no idea how the RCI group would have handled the situation you and Azura were in, but possibly their overriding "can do" attitude to customer service might have produced better results, who knows!

But I can say that we would have been very annoyed to have missed Ajaccio which is one of our favourite ports.

 

I have now read the full review, as well as several other reviews which are far more complimentary to P&O, which do I believe, I have no idea since I was not there, but I do know that I would have sought out somewhere more comfortable for my wheelchair using wife to relax and await the decision as to whether the tender operation would resume, rather than stand in line for 2-3 hours whether in sun or shade.

I am not sure why people were not directed up to the old town which is easily reached by lifts in the car park about 10 minutes from the landing dock. I agree with the situation facing them those who left the queue and found a bar/restaurant were better off.

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7 minutes ago, daiB said:

Well it cannot be step one for all tender ports. It’s impossible Geiranger for example has one small hotel. Kirkwall has not got the hotels either. 

 

Not much chance of rip tides, confused currents or several metre high waves in Geiranger!  They could always wait until whichever ship had paid for use of the Seawalk had left and use that!

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10 minutes ago, daiB said:

Well it cannot be step one for all tender ports. It’s impossible Geiranger for example has one small hotel. Kirkwall has not got the hotels either. 

Sometimes safety considerations and risk assessments have to outweigh the desirability of tendering altogether in certain locations.  Not an ideal situation, but then neither was what happened in Monaco - there was, allegedly, almost a very serious injury to a member of the crew, quite apart from everything else.

 

After all, P&O are still telling passengers that they can't dock in Amsterdam for still unspecified 'operational reasons'  -  maybe there's a risk assessment we don't know about!  😉

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4 minutes ago, kruzseeka said:

 

Not much chance of rip tides, confused currents or several metre high waves in Geiranger!  They could always wait until whichever ship had paid for use of the Seawalk had left and use that!

Kirkwall, Stornaway, Isafyordur, and there are many others.

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DaiB: I think your directions are from Monte Carlo? We tendered in Fontvieille.

There are lots of hotels in easy drive distance of Geiranger and I have never read of a tender in Geiranger having to be cancelled due to notorious rough seas as with Monaco and agree with kruzseeka's comments too.

TerrierJohn: another incorrect assumption, as we are Diamond RCI and Elite Celebrity, so have experienced them numerous times. It is better to deal with facts. 

I am not aware from any forums that Fontvieille has been used as a tender before, so I am not convinced yet that anyone, except those on that trip, could give a valid opinion on whether it was feasible to find anywhere more "comfortable" "to relax" for all the many disabled and people with musculoskeletal or other health issues

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1 hour ago, vsgnorwich said:

DaiB: the Azura Captain told us directly that sourcing hotel accomodation is step one of the contingency plan and that is why 3 years ago he advised P&O / Carnival to not tender at Monaco during the yacht show (as I have already detailed in the review)

https://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=667425&et_cid=3214772&et_rid=118174872&et_referrer=Boards

 

Credit to the Captain for saying he'd advised against using this port during the boat show.  Whilst we may continue to split hairs I think that speaks volumes - plus his assertion that contingency planning is a priority.  Risk assessment is all about weighing up the likelihood of something going wrong then how you propose to deal with it.  If dealing with it becomes impractical or unlikely to be achieved, then it's not a risk that should be countenanced. 

Of course some ports will be more challenging than others in that respect but then you ask the question 'how problematic is tendering likely to be at this port?', 'how often do conditions change suddenly making conditions dangerous?' 'how often has tendering not been attempted at this port?' 'have we got the necessary contingency plans in place?'  I'm sure there is plenty of historical information available to answer those questions.  If the answer to all of these indicate it's unlikely to be a problem then the risk is low and a decision to tender is reasonable.  

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46 minutes ago, vsgnorwich said:

TerrierJohn: another incorrect assumption, as we are Diamond RCI and Elite Celebrity, so have experienced them numerous times. It is better to deal with facts. 

If you already knew how RCI deal with wheelchair tendering, then why were you unable to grasp the point I was making about these differences, and I had already indicated that on a P&O ship we would not have been able to go ashore, so we certainly would not have been seeking assistance boarding the tenders.

It is definitely better to deal with facts and not supposition.

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1 hour ago, kruzseeka said:

 

Credit to the Captain for saying he'd advised against using this port during the boat show.  Whilst we may continue to split hairs I think that speaks volumes - plus his assertion that contingency planning is a priority.  Risk assessment is all about weighing up the likelihood of something going wrong then how you propose to deal with it.  If dealing with it becomes impractical or unlikely to be achieved, then it's not a risk that should be countenanced. 

Of course some ports will be more challenging than others in that respect but then you ask the question 'how problematic is tendering likely to be at this port?', 'how often do conditions change suddenly making conditions dangerous?' 'how often has tendering not been attempted at this port?' 'have we got the necessary contingency plans in place?'  I'm sure there is plenty of historical information available to answer those questions.  If the answer to all of these indicate it's unlikely to be a problem then the risk is low and a decision to tender is reasonable.  

That does not get over the fact that there can not be any contingency plans which cover all ports. You cannot just dismiss that fact.

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1 hour ago, kruzseeka said:

 

Credit to the Captain for saying he'd advised against using this port during the boat show.  Whilst we may continue to split hairs I think that speaks volumes - plus his assertion that contingency planning is a priority.  Risk assessment is all about weighing up the likelihood of something going wrong then how you propose to deal with it.  If dealing with it becomes impractical or unlikely to be achieved, then it's not a risk that should be countenanced. 

Of course some ports will be more challenging than others in that respect but then you ask the question 'how problematic is tendering likely to be at this port?', 'how often do conditions change suddenly making conditions dangerous?' 'how often has tendering not been attempted at this port?' 'have we got the necessary contingency plans in place?'  I'm sure there is plenty of historical information available to answer those questions.  If the answer to all of these indicate it's unlikely to be a problem then the risk is low and a decision to tender is reasonable.  

Did he say that was the plan for this port or all ports for if the latter it does not hold water.

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13 minutes ago, daiB said:

That does not get over the fact that there can not be any contingency plans which cover all ports. You cannot just dismiss that fact.

Risk assessment and contingency plans should be in place for all ports, and all reasonably foreseeable situations.  Any company not having such plans in place, and regularly updated, is taking quite some legal gamble.

 

Most of the time it may pay off, but the risks are potentially very high.  I'm thinking, for example, of something like Herald of Free Enterprise.

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31 minutes ago, daiB said:

That does not get over the fact that there can not be any contingency plans which cover all ports. You cannot just dismiss that fact.

 

I wouldn't risk dismissing anything when it comes to people's safety - nor would any responsible Company.  Clearly risk assessments will be different for every port to take into account local and individual circumstances. That's the nature of a risk assessment.   The Captain was referring to Monaco and in that respect he felt it inappropriate to use that port during that weekend.  That should have been incorporated into the risk assessment for that port. 

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Hi all Queued from 2pm, Mixed messages all afternoon, evening from staff, When decision made to move us to stadium approx. 9PM at least then things happened . This incident lost us 3 days of our planned holiday at least. Spoilt Monaco, Slept all next day when back on board, Ajaccio missed. So not great. Back at Monaco next year will we get of the ship ????????

Staff were great overall after getting to stadium, Lowest point of the incident for us was when we arrived at Villefranche  we watched Azura arrive. Waited another hour to board tender. Enjoy pics.

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We have a few pics from that night. Note that the audience for the basketball match went up from about 50 to 1250.

Picture of the Azura taken about lunch time.

IMG_1097.JPG

IMG_1136.JPG

IMG_1137.JPG

IMG_1141.JPG

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3 hours ago, daiB said:

Did he say that was the plan for this port or all ports for if the latter it does not hold water.


I am only guessing but I would thought the port agent would have a plan for all ships that use their port. They have local knowledge, contacts and staff on the ground. 
 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

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1 hour ago, stephen@stoneyard.co.uk said:


I am only guessing but I would thought the port agent would have a plan for all ships that use their port. They have local knowledge, contacts and staff on the ground. 
 

Best wishes, Stephen. 

Perhaps I am not explaining it well enough. If the contingency plan says there should be enough hotels to cover problems like this. Well I cannot see that that is true as he ports I have mentioned before could not deal with 500 passengers let alone 1000 in hotel rooms. As with all cases like this there are many different experiences of the same event. Some dealt with it themselves in a different way. As others have said I have never experienced or heard of a similar circumstance in my 18 years of cruising. I use a mobility scooter and have tendered on a number of occasions including Monaco twice.  I suspect I may think twice or thrice before I tendered again. In my next 12 cruises here is only one tender port so missing it will be only a minor inconvenience.

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There doesn't necessarily need to be 500 beds available in a given town - we were taken on a 120 mile round trip to be accommodated when the ship was late arriving back for us to embark.

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18 hours ago, daiB said:

Perhaps I am not explaining it well enough. If the contingency plan says there should be enough hotels to cover problems like this. Well I cannot see that that is true as he ports I have mentioned before could not deal with 500 passengers let alone 1000 in hotel rooms. As with all cases like this there are many different experiences of the same event. Some dealt with it themselves in a different way. As others have said I have never experienced or heard of a similar circumstance in my 18 years of cruising. I use a mobility scooter and have tendered on a number of occasions including Monaco twice.  I suspect I may think twice or thrice before I tendered again. In my next 12 cruises here is only one tender port so missing it will be only a minor inconvenience.


I am not commenting about 500 versus 1000 rooms, the ports you mentioned or the difficulty in tendering with a scooter. I have no experience of these matters.  I will take your word on these points. There is no need to explain them further for me.  Thank you, Stephen. 

Edited by stephen@stoneyard.co.uk

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Mmm. P&O mobility requirements are you must be able to mount a 18 inch high step without help. I am not disabled but have short legs and a weak left knee so that me not being able to tender then. I suspect a LOT of passengers would not be able to mount a 18 inch high step unaided.

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