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Dave.s

Chaos at mayflower cruise terminal

119 posts in this topic

I have to say that I've never had any problems with p&o cruises upto this point. But I now a real concern. The booking in procedure on the day of our departure was chaotic at best!

Our selves, with a lot of others on this cruise leaving on the 31st of October were not aware that there was a new booking in procedure on trial.

Not letting passengers on board until all the cabins had been cleared. So that meant that nobody could get onto the Ventura until 12.45pm.

We had booked a hotel overnight stay in Southampton before getting our tickets so we left after breakfast to the terminal arriving there at 10.45am, we were given a red ticket which, we found out latter, meant that we would not be allowed on board till 3.00pm!!! others were arriving all the time and at one point, leading upto the initial booking in time, there must have been close to 2000 people in the terminal and I could only see one fire exit.

Numerous people got to board the ship in front of us who had just arrived in the building. Even though we were one of the first 50 or so to get there, we we one of the last groups to get on the Ventura. Which was quite a disappointment. And tarnished the first day of our cruise.

We weren't the only ones to have suffered this unexpected long wait, as all the people that arrived early that we could see also had the dreaded red cards.

We have always got onto ships on a first come first served basis in the past and had a short time to wait. Which was great.

I feel that the wait till the cabins are ready before boarding is a right way going forward. But a first come first served policy must be a fairer way to do it!

Better communication of the changes should be forwarded to passengers as the time slot is given only on the e-tickets, perhaps by a post or an e-mail, quoting the reasons why ect, as quite a few passengers from the north are using hotels more often as a stop off before arriving at the terminal and this could alter people's plans

The mayflower terminal isn't big enough for that amount of passengers to be there at one time!

The fire exits at the terminal are not well signed.

Having said all this we had a terrific time when on board the Ventura.

wheels36 likes this

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I have posted the link to the P&O information on check in on another thread. I think the main problem has been sending out the link information after they have started using the procedure and not before.Allocated check in times have been on tickets for the several years but most passengers have ignored them.

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Having read this and all previous threads it seems that P&O are going ahead with a scheme that certainly does not suit their customers. This could be a disaster for the company in terms of loyalty and future bookings. For those travelling from the North they cannot arrange to arrive at a specific time and need to flex by a couple of hours due to poor road systems and delays.

This problem seems to have developed following the introduction of larger ships. So ther s,houkd either go back to smaller ones or ensure the needs of the customer are met. Is it a case that Select passengers should be given priority over those seeking best value fares?

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mixed reviews on this, some saying fine some saying not good.

One query I have is why Dave.s didnt have his ticket before hand? with p&o you can view and download the ticket a month before and we always get our from bolsover a week before

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i WOULD REPEAT WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN POSTED ON A RECENT THREAD!

As a nation we accept queuing as a norm, so a company make changes to try to help people out and they are pulled from pillar to post for doing this, It is down to the individuals to read our ticket and information supplied by our agents, if we dont then we are as gulity as the cruise company for making things worse.

WHY cant people try to give this a chance to work rather than just turning up when they feel like it?

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I have to say that I've never had any problems with p&o cruises upto this point. But I now a real concern. The booking in procedure on the day of our departure was chaotic at best!

Our selves, with a lot of others on this cruise leaving on the 31st of October were not aware that there was a new booking in procedure on trial.

Not letting passengers on board until all the cabins had been cleared. So that meant that nobody could get onto the Ventura until 12.45pm.

We had booked a hotel overnight stay in Southampton before getting our tickets so we left after breakfast to the terminal arriving there at 10.45am, we were given a red ticket which, we found out latter, meant that we would not be allowed on board till 3.00pm!!! others were arriving all the time and at one point, leading upto the initial booking in time, there must have been close to 2000 people in the terminal and I could only see one fire exit.

Numerous people got to board the ship in front of us who had just arrived in the building. Even though we were one of the first 50 or so to get there, we we one of the last groups to get on the Ventura. Which was quite a disappointment. And tarnished the first day of our cruise.

We weren't the only ones to have suffered this unexpected long wait, as all the people that arrived early that we could see also had the dreaded red cards.

We have always got onto ships on a first come first served basis in the past and had a short time to wait. Which was great.

I feel that the wait till the cabins are ready before boarding is a right way going forward. But a first come first served policy must be a fairer way to do it!

Better communication of the changes should be forwarded to passengers as the time slot is given only on the e-tickets, perhaps by a post or an e-mail, quoting the reasons why ect, as quite a few passengers from the north are using hotels more often as a stop off before arriving at the terminal and this could alter people's plans

The mayflower terminal isn't big enough for that amount of passengers to be there at one time!

The fire exits at the terminal are not well signed.

Having said all this we had a terrific time when on board the Ventura.

Additional penalty for anyone who has travelled a considerable distance to Southampton and already has an enhanced holiday cost due to travel and hotel accommodation, not to mention losing an additional holiday day travelling. P&O management soldier on with their "feet planted firmly in the air".

Captain Kidd II likes this

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It is tricky trying to arrive at a specfied time when travelling a long distance. We set off around 8.30 and have been on the ship by 12.30 however on a more recent cruise the tracfic was horendus and setting off at the same time we were on board by 3.30 so very difficult to judge. I haven't experienced the new check in system yet but i can't see why they want to keep you waiting when it makes more sense to get you on and out the way of the check in area. Will see what it's like when we are on our next cruise  New Year on Ventura ( only 43 days and counting !) but we are a small group of 27 on that and no doubt we will all have different time slots but we are all travelling together on a small coach.

wheels36 and Captain Kidd II like this

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It's clearly a new policy and as such is going to take sometime to get used too, both for check-in operation staff and for passengers themselves. I can see why they have taken these steps as so many people were arriving at once that the first come first served system became incredibly hectic in itself, thus by attempting to allocate times, it's an attempt to minimise wait times rather than last them out and also have knock on effects such as reducing port area traffic etc. 

 

I've seen examples where they are showing the check-in times on tickets and in pre-cruise documentation closer to the date of the cruise departing but clearly the issue is the further need to inform passengers of the change in policy. I don't think we should expect P&O to go any further than what they're already doing in letting people know their allocated boarding time, on the ticket and the cruise personaliser should suffice but clearly they need to be more proactive in informing all passengers of the change in policy and the new system structure they are now operating.

 

Despite the new policy, if you visit the P&O site, which another member posted a snippet from on here the other day, the line does say that if you turn up earlier than your allocated time, they will do all they can to get you on board as soon as possible but will let you know from the off that you could be required to wait a little bit in accordance to the new policy.

 

I think what they're doing is fair enough, perhaps they just need to communicate it a little better.

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It is tricky trying to arrive at a specfied time when travelling a long distance. We set off around 8.30 and have been on the ship by 12.30 however on a more recent cruise the tracfic was horendus and setting off at the same time we were on board by 3.30 so very difficult to judge. I haven't experienced the new check in system yet but i can't see why they want to keep you waiting when it makes more sense to get you on and out the way of the check in area. Will see what it's like when we are on our next cruise  New Year on Ventura ( only 43 days and counting !) but we are a small group of 27 on that and no doubt we will all have different time slots but we are all travelling together on a small coach.

As you show by the nearly doubled journey times it is not just tricky to arrive at a specified time, but impossible given that so many factors are beyond your control. Add to that the motorway risk of a severe delay and the only safe option for passengers from the Midlands and North is an overnight stop.

Captain Kidd II and Nick like this

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I would compare the introduction of this new policy to when P&O first implemented freedom dining on their ships. Originally it was hectic and described by many people I spoke to as ridiculous yet within a few months, it settled down and now it is classed as the norm on most ships, not just with P&O but within the whole cruise industry. I think the new check-in system will be the same. It will take time to settle down but once it does, it will be fine.

 

It's not as if P&O are saying "if you arrive early, we will not let you on board" or that they'll kick you out of the terminal, rather that there might be a little delay but they'll get you on board as soon as possible. It's within their interest to get passengers on board as soon as possible not just the passengers themselves. The last thing they'll want I'm sure is negative press from such a thing so I'd say give it time and it'll all come good in the end.

Little Mermaid likes this

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I thought the norm for checking in was from 12.00? So surely for anybody to be arriving earlier than this would expect to wait.

And as someone as mentioned the different check in times have been on our paperwork for years.

 

It seems that P&O have let these early passengers get onboard before they should have and now they are making people adhere to the times, some don't like it.

An overnight stay in Southampton is a safe option to ensure getting to the port in time, but doing it so they can be at the port early, to check in and get onboard early is not right. By doing this the passenger was always ignoring the given check in time for their booking.

 

I set off at approx 08.00 through choice to allow plenty of time for traffic etc and if i arrive earlier than my given check in time i would expect to wait, if i didnt have to it would be a bonus.

I do agree with Sammy Sun, its a change and many just need to get used to it.

Oldworldtraveller likes this

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Airlines have always had check-in times and people travel from all over the country to reach London and Gatwick airports so what is so different about having a check in time for a cruise ship? To me it seems a logical step forward to avoid long queues especially as they don't have the more modern methods of check in that some other cruise lines and airlines have.

Furby, Bumble Bee and sammy sun like this

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OWT - some people may travel all over the country but more use regional airports as they do not want to travel a distance before catching a plane which is a luxury that P&O passengers do not have as they can only depart from Southampton.

If you arrive at an airport early you join a que where first to arrive is first to go through the admin procedures.

There never seemed to be a problem when ships were smaller so why is there an issue now? It seems that some of the changes that have taken place since the new Director of P&O has come on the scene way not have been successful and this may be one of them.

I, for one, would like to see all passengers being treated the same at embarkation and disembarkation which would involve all loyalty tiers being treated the same. The higher tiers benefit from several benefits but priority embarkation should not be one of them. Equality would mean that all passengers could commence boarding earlier. It may just be that some people who think these latest changes to be good change their mind when they join the rest of the passengers.

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Captain Kidd ll, I experienced the new check in with P&O last month so have experienced it. I take your point on travel although when flying to many parts of the world this cannot be done from regional airports. You may join a queue at check in but you know the time the check in opens and you plan accordingly. Airlines also have priority check in for various tiers of their loyalty clubs so P&O in that respect like most cruise lines is no different. Regarding ship size, it meant boarding 700 passengers on small ships but now it can be up to 5,000 on large ones. The problem arises in that they are using the same check in facilities. As always just my opinion.

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It's all about communicating the implimentation of the booking in times, where in the past due to arrival times people were allowed to embark the ship if folk arrived early.

There's no problem with the implimentation, it's about putting it out there so we all know about the change of policy.

A fair number had little idea of the change because of the vast amount of people that were there an hour before the first check in time.

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We were given a check-in time in July for the Britannia, but nobody looked at our ticket until after we were called to the desk, so we could have arrived at any time. it took us 2 hours to get on.

The previous 3 cruises on Eclipse we were not allocated any time, other than after 11.00 and we have always been on board in less than 30 minutes.

I can't understand why it is so much worse on P&O.

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This has turned into a north/south issue. People living in the south are only marginally affected by this policy, so are being dismissive of what is a real issue. 

 

I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. I have moved around the country with work on a few occasions, so have experienced travelling to Southampton for embarkation from numerous places across the country. I am now classed as living in a northerly area and I still think that the new system needed to be introduced. Like OWT said, this is just my opinion but I don't think it's too much of an issue whether you are from the north or the south. I understand the disappointment from many that cruises departing from the north are limited but P&O have an exceptionally good base in Southampton so why would they change that unless facilities improve in the northern areas such as in Liverpool for example, where the port is beginning to attract more ships. Doing this would be equivalent to British Airways opting out of Heathrow, it wouldn't happen.

 

Anyway back on track, I think the new check-in procedures needed to be implemented to try and infuse some organisation into the process. For too long, many people have turned up at the same time and while some experiences have been good or OK, others have been hectic, leading to long queues and many fed up passengers. Clearly thinking with that in mind, P&O opted to introduce this new procedure to give guests a dedicated time slot, therefore hopefully removing the excessive queues and making it an overall swifter process. Like I said before, it will take time but it will get sorted, it's just the teething problems that are causing a few issues at present I'd imagine, probably because people are ignoring their times and just arriving early, causing delays to remain. Either that or that they have not clearly seen their check-in time on their documentation, which is an issue P&O could do with addressing as I mentioned in my previous posts.

 

The north/south issue shouldn't be a problem. If your check-in time is 12.45pm , either leave home early or stay overnight in a hotel, if it's 3pm then it's the same, it shouldn't matter. P&O have said you can drop luggage off prior to boarding so you can even just nip your luggage in then go for a bite to eat somewhere then head back for your check-in time. It seems fairly straight forward to me.

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I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. I have moved around the country with work on a few occasions, so have experienced travelling to Southampton for embarkation from numerous places across the country. I am now classed as living in a northerly area and I still think that the new system needed to be introduced. Like OWT said, this is just my opinion but I don't think it's too much of an issue whether you are from the north or the south. I understand the disappointment from many that cruises departing from the north are limited but P&O have an exceptionally good base in Southampton so why would they change that unless facilities improve in the northern areas such as in Liverpool for example, where the port is beginning to attract more ships. Doing this would be equivalent to British Airways opting out of Heathrow, it wouldn't happen.

 

Anyway back on track, I think the new check-in procedures needed to be implemented to try and infuse some organisation into the process. For too long, many people have turned up at the same time and while some experiences have been good or OK, others have been hectic, leading to long queues and many fed up passengers. Clearly thinking with that in mind, P&O opted to introduce this new procedure to give guests a dedicated time slot, therefore hopefully removing the excessive queues and making it an overall swifter process. Like I said before, it will take time but it will get sorted, it's just the teething problems that are causing a few issues at present I'd imagine, probably because people are ignoring their times and just arriving early, causing delays to remain. Either that or that they have not clearly seen their check-in time on their documentation, which is an issue P&O could do with addressing as I mentioned in my previous posts.

 

The north/south issue shouldn't be a problem. If your check-in time is 12.45pm , either leave home early or stay overnight in a hotel, if it's 3pm then it's the same, it shouldn't matter. P&O have said you can drop luggage off prior to boarding so you can even just nip your luggage in then go for a bite to eat somewhere then head back for your check-in time. It seems fairly straight forward to me.

Who wants to be turned out of their hotel room after breakfast, and then be hanging about all day?

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Who wants to be turned out of their hotel room after breakfast, and then be hanging about all day?

 

I understand what you mean, I just see it a different way. If it was on the return journey, when you just want to get home then yes it would frustrate me but it's not. It's the outbound so everyone's excited about going on holiday. Usual check-out times for hotels are around 10am, sometimes a little later, perhaps 11am. The latest time you're likely to be given for check-in is 3pm so you could go and drop your luggage off at the terminal so it's ready and waiting when you get on board, then head off for a drink and a bite to eat for lunch time then take a stroll back to the terminal or hop into a taxi, by that time, you wont be far off your allocated check-in time. I prefer to see it as a leisurely day, relaxing and the start of my holiday than just hanging around. Again, this is just my opinion.

Bumble Bee, pinky and Falmouthgirl like this

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Sorry Wheels 36, but I cannot agree on this being a north/south issue. Where does the north end and the south begin and visa versa? Correct, it depends where you live. If it is Glasgow then south begins at about Manchester, halfway between Glasgow and Southampton.

The more I read, the more I think this is about an 'I've always arrived early and will continue to do so despite what P&O say' issue.

As I said in an earlier post, airlines have check in times so why the big deal with P&O and yes it is only people travelling with P&O who seem to have an issue despite other cruise lines having check in times and people traveling from all over the country to them. This year I have travelled with 5 different cruise lines and there was only one where the boarding seemed chaotic. Guess which one!!

One way to stop all this is to adopt the system now used by RCI in that you check in, as with the airlines on line. You complete credit card details, download a photograph and download boarding card so that when you arrive the people at the check in area just check the bar code of your boarding card on their tablets and off you go to the ship as you do when boarding an aircraft.  So simple but as always just my personal opinion

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Everyone has different opinions but it is only like going to a concert it states on your tickets doors open at 6pm would anyone try to get in before hand ? I think its a very good idea and P&O have listened to peoples comments about queuing .  We need to give it a try as its in the passengers best interests and also port staff

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Can anyone let m know how long it takes to drive from Nottingham to Southampton so I can plan my arrival for embarkation? I have read what everyone has said so I must be at fault for not arriving for previous cruises at the right time.

I have, so far, tried leaving home at 05:30, 08:00, 11:30 and 14:00 on the previous day. So far I have been held up for 1.5 hours at Coventry, 2 hours on the A34, redirected all over the south coast thanks to traffic jams and satnav, etc, etc. If I fly, for the benefit of OWT, I look at what time I am required to be at the airport and then allow 30mins which is more than enough time to get to my local airport and park up.

I do not mind waiting at a terminal but there is a north south divide which means the further you are away from Southampton, the more safety time you need to ensure you reach the ship before it sails. It is not a case of wanting to be the first onboard but more of a case of preferring to drive leisurely and arrive in a good peace of mind for the holiday to start.

Unfortuneately this discussion will go on and on.

Nick likes this

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From a poin of interest can all those joining this tread give some idea of where they are travelling from. I think it woukd put the comments in perspective if everyone coukd get a feel for th distance travelled to join a cruise.

Nick likes this

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Hi Captain,

 

I sometimes get the coach to Southampton and the nearest pick up point to me is Trowell Services. Usually the coach pick up time is approx. 8.15 am, there is usually a stop somewhere around Northampton for around 45 mins and it usually gets there around 1pm. 

 

To save the hassle of a long trip to Trowell I have been known to leave home around 8am and still get there around 1pm.

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