Sea Day

Today we are halfway. Scary.

Unbelievable. There is no “tour” t-shirt. Having waited what feels like an interminable time (five weeks?) for them to start selling the Alaska memorabilia (they refused to sell it to people who weren’t doing the Alaska sector, fair enough, but instead of selling after San Francisco, they waited til today to put them on sale), and having had to force them to bring the anoraks out early so that we could wear them IN Alaska instead of AFTER, today I find out that there is no “tour” t-shirt. You know, the one with all the ports listed on the back. They simply haven’t bothered to print one. This is the first long voyage I have ever been on where there is no t-shirt with the ports on. Granted, there are often mistakes in the lists of ports – we miss one out or the printers miss one out (and one time the two coincided) or add a few (viz Aurora last year), but the tour t-shirt is an integral part of the memories of the holiday. Yet again, I find myself with nothing to say but Shame on you, P&O. Shame on you.

What is the matter with P&O? It’s almost as if they are trying to actively repel their customers. When Carnival bought P&O, there was speculation that they intended to run the name into the ground and move the customers to their other lines. For a while we thought we were mistaken, but I am gradually coming back round to this line of thinking.

Everyone I speak to is annoyed with them. Have a random example. To get from the t-shirt sale with no t-shirts to lunch requires a trip in a lift – decks 3 to 9 (I don’t care how fit you think I should be keeping, I’m not doing six flights of stairs for anyone). In the lift are a couple I’ve never met before who are still angry about Seattle. They went on a tour and were put on a bus. Then they were put on a different bus. They changed buses four times before leaving the terminal and, if you recall we were already three hours behind by that point. Their tour ran out of time and was curtailed because they had spent so much time mucking about with coach passenger numbers – they eventually merged the contents of two buses or something. But the tour driver couldn’t complete their tour because he had to get back to pick up another tour at 6pm. So they lost even more time than we did and you remember how annoyed we were!

If I’d paid for a tour I hadn’t received in full, I’d be asking for at least part of my money back. Whether these people will, I have no idea, but I have to confess, I doubt it. There are so many people in the world, particularly in Britain, for some reason, who would rather have something to whine about than actually get a problem fixed. That’s partly why I veered towards consumer protection – most of the time the consumer needs protecting from themselves and their own apathy. If you’re unhappy, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Bitching to other passengers is less than futile. Even if one of them puts it in a blog on the internet.

I may be ranting a bit now. I’ll stop for a while and resuming watching for dolphins. Dad said at lunch that he doesn’t see what the fuss is about – you can see a dolphin in an aquarium at home any day of the week. Silly Daddy.

A quick P.S. Can someone please give Nicholas Witchell some kind of medal for his piece on the Queen’s visit to Ireland. In case you didn’t see it, it started like this. “It’s only an hour’s flying time from London to Dublin, but this was a flight that has taken literally decades to get here”. Oh bravo, Nicholas, bravo. You must have been planning that line for MONTHS! 😀


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