P&O act more shamefully than ever

My parents booked a cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean. The itinerary was as follows:

Vigo
Lisbon
Athens
Izmir
Istanbul
Rhodes
Haifa
Ashdod
La Valletta
Cadiz

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.

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9 thoughts on “P&O act more shamefully than ever

  1. Simon says:

    Kinda reminds me of the Marriott Hotel on New Years Eve, waiting till after you’ve checked in and paid to tell you the viewing terrace is closed.

  2. John says:

    I have worked with P&O cruises for the last 4 years and the safety of our passengers is our upmost priority if the captain thinks its unsafe to go I a country then it’s his decision and no one can change his decision, they would dock at a more appropriate port of another choice! I’d you itself lives in Haifa you would be scare shitless and would want to move ASAP !!
    Rant over!!

    • emma594 says:

      Haifa is 140 km from Gaza and completely unaffected by any events, including the most recent ones. Perhaps you don’t mind having a captain with no comprehension of geography, but people on a Holy Land cruise do. And no, it is not up to the Captain to go where he pleases. If there was a Foreign Office advisory against going there, that would be one thing, but there isn’t. No one ship’s captain knows more about international politics than the entire British Foreign Office. It is pure prejudice, with no basis in fact whatsoever.

      By the way, the last bit of your message is gibberish. Even if one bothered to decipher it, Haifa is SAFE. If you can’t read a map, or a Foreign Office website, you shouldn’t be working on a ship.

  3. Simon says:

    Personally, I would say its a captains job to follow guidelines and protocols to take appropriate actions in a timely manner. The captain does not not actually make any decisions, all decisions are made by the company. The captain merely follows the rules and guidelines set out in the operations manual.

    To coin a phrase: The captain must do everything by the book.

    The Costa Concordia incident occurred because the captain deviated from the operations manual, he didn’t follow the guidelines for navigating the channel he was in. Instead the captain made his own decisions and picked his own route.

    Now we understand the captains role, it is clear that the captain does not get to choose the itinerary, that is a company decision.

    The situation in Gazza did not begin yesterday, it has been going on for a few weeks now. There was plenty of time, the passengers should have been informed of these changes to the itinerary at least a week ago.

    Quite simply, P&O failed their customers.

    Rant over :o)

  4. Betty Williams says:

    Hi Emma, we have just done a cruise with Royal Caribbean and Tunisia was taken off, because of unrest, we went to Palma instead.Admittedly we knew a week before we left, but we were not happy. My brother in law leaves in 2 weeks for a similar cruise to the one your parents are on with P & O. He has been told, no visit ti Haifa or Ashdod, he does not know where they are going.I suggested just around in circles at the eastern end of the Med!!.

  5. barrymx5 says:

    Just for completeness Emma re your comment above
    “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.”

    The cruise did not put into Cadiz either in fact. Reason given was bad storms in Atlantic heading west which necessitated non-stop Malta to Le Havre (new stop).

  6. barrymx5 says:

    Just for completeness Emma re your comment:
    “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.”

    The ship did not actually call at Cadiz eventually. Reason given was bad storms in Atlantic which resulted in a non-stop Malta to Le Havre (not originally in programme).

    • emma594 says:

      Hi Barry

      I know the ship did not stop at Cadiz. But that wasn’t really my point. It just helped, because I could ask whether that omission upset people as much. And the answer was a resounding no.

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