Norwegian Fjords/a queueing holiday
Joy Smith | September 26, 2022 | P&O Cruises | Iona
We were driving down to Southampton the day before our cruise and had a call, which we thought was going to be a cruise cancellation (our first cruise after Covid). We were asked to downgrade our cabin for a partial refund as P&O had overbooked, and as it was only a week, we said yes.
The next day, P&O had not updated the manifest, so embarkation was a nightmare (although apparently it was much worse for the couple who had our original cabin, as the system thought they had already checked in). This is where the queues began. Staff at the port constantly told us we’d been upgraded (which my OH kept getting excited at) only to then confirm we’d been downgraded as per the call. They told us when you downgrade, you get a free drinks package, and after a lot of queuing when we were aboard, we abandoned this as we’d spent loads of time queueing and we’re not big drinkers so it was more hassle than it would have been worth.
Iona was nice, but too big. Queues for everything, and lots of things completely booked out. The “app” is just a website, and is irritating to use as you have to remove airplane mode, so calls and texts get through and you incur the eyewatering maritime charges. I also really like not being contactable when I’m ‘on the high seas’ but using the site makes it impossible.
When we were in ports, some of them also had other cruise ships in, so once again, the queues were completely out of control. I know that may seem beyond P&Os control, but it’s surely something to consider when designing these mega ships. Maybe other ports are better set up to deal with them than Norway, but we just spent way too much time queuing for what was supposed to be a nice holiday. Very frustrating when the days in port aren’t particularly long.
The disorganisation continued when we disembarked. We were told the partial refund would be processed within 3-5 days, so expected it to be waiting for us on our return. Had to chase it as P&O hadn’t even amended the account in a week. Definitely won’t be swapping cabins again.
The Fjords are breathtaking though. Glad I went, but I probably won’t book on Iona, Arvia or Britannia again. Lesson learned.
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