My parents booked a cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean. The itinerary was as follows:
How many people reading this think the primary reason people booked this cruise was to visit Cadiz? Of course not, it was Haifa and Ashdod. It was known as the Holy Land cruise. Most of the passengers, for whatever reason, wanted to see Israel.
This cruise was booked over a year ago, so the recent issues could not have been foreseen, let’s be fair. But passengers were told beforehand that Ashdod would be bypassed. Fair enough, some rockets landed in Ashdod in November, that doesn’t seem unreasonable.
The unreasonable bit is that AFTER BOARDING, the passengers were told that Haifa was also cancelled. Not before, which would have allowed the option to cancel, turn back or claim a refund. AFTER boarding, trapped on board, with luggage swallowed by the cabin distribution system. THAT’s shameful.
It is also unreasonable. There is no Foreign and Commonwealth Office advisory against travel to Israel. There is, obviously, an advisory against travel to Gaza and within 40 km of Gaza. Haifa is 140 km from Gaza and has not been touched by rockets or any of the recent conflict. There is no excuse for cancelling Haifa, other than cowardice or prejudice.
Whichever, the passengers are devastated and distressed, as many who are unwilling or unable to fly, saw this as their only chance to visit the Holy Land.
Today, I learned that the passengers are now being scared witless by P&O with dire warnings about their visits to Greece and Turkey also being “dangerous”. They’re still being taken there, but being intimidated nonetheless.
So they can’t go to a safe place in case it becomes dangerous, but they are being taken to places considered dangerous but which are also probably safe.
I am becoming increasingly concerned about P&O’s behaviour and in particular their attitude towards their passengers. Terrorising and imprisoning people who have paid good money for a pleasant holiday is and must not be considered acceptable behaviour.
They are still on the ship as I type.