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Cops, Airline Aid Missing Passenger

Victoria Harbour

Sometimes, it’s just nice to be able to tell a nice story. Like the one that appeared this week in The Province, one of Vancouver’s two daily newspapers, about a passenger who went missing from Jewel of the Seas.

The 65-year-old woman disembarked in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, in mid-morning earlier this month. When the ship was ready to leave for Seattle late that afternoon, the final leg of a week-long Alaska cruise, there was no sign of her. Eventually, after waiting a reasonable time as ship captains are wont to do, Jewel of the Seas had to leave.

Police in Victoria contacted the woman’s family in Buffalo and discovered she had been having symptoms of dementia. Disoriented, she showed up in a downtown hotel and police took her to a nearby hospital to be assessed.

All’s well that ends well, right?

The story gets better. 

One of the cops, Constable Andre Almeida, arranged for her to fly to Seattle in time for her scheduled flight home to New York. He paid for the flight on his own credit card with the idea that he’d be able to cover it with his “points.” And when he was asked about doing that, the constable issued this statement:

“There was no other way to ensure she would make it back home. She needed help. It could be my mom stranded somewhere and I would hope someone would help.”

There’s more.

After a night in hospital, the woman was taken to the airport by the police for her Alaska Airlines flight. The airline reimbursed Constable Almeida, and saw to it that she made her connecting flight to her family.

These days, two segments of society that seem to take a regular beating are police and airlines, so it’s also nice that they’re being recognized for doing something…nice.

Today at portsandbows.com: No more Dancing With The Stars: At Sea

Carnival Magic
7 nights
September 27, 2015
Galveston (return): Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay
Inside: $429
Cost per day: $61
www.carnival.com

The Curse Of The Lounge Chairs

Here’s a problem to which there is no solution…

Loungers.

The problem isn’t so much the loungers as the towels. People drape towels on pool-side lounge chairs like “reserved” signs, and you dare not remove a towel, in case it’s owner is watching. The problem is that the towel can sit on the lounger for hours, all day even, and hotel loungersnever be touched. It’s there, of course, because the people who make the deposits want to reserve that chaisse lounge for when they want to sit there…if they want to sit there.

What you often have is a long ling of lounge chairs covered in towels, many with no people.

People on cruise ships have long complained about this. Other than posting a sign warning people that uninhabited chairs can only remain so for an hour, as some cruise lines do, there is no solution. To hire lounge police is too costly and a waste of crew time.

But it’s not just on cruise ships. In fact, there’s a warning for the cruise industry.

During our recent visit to an all-inclusive resort — you’ll read more about that next week — we discovered the sight you see in the photo. We saw people emerging from their rooms at the crack of dawn, draping a towel on a pool-side lounge chair, and disappearing. While we didn’t keep score, in many cases it seemed the chairs were inhabited only by towels for hours on end.

And if you look carefully at the photo, you’ll see large “towel pins” being used to hold the “reservations.” When you have something that’s designed specifically for holding towels on vacant loungers, you really do have a problem.

Is there a solution to these devices of bad manners?

If you know of one, many people would like to hear it.

Today at portsandbows.com: Anthem of the Seas officially Royal Caribbean's

Golden Princess
7 nights
May 2, 2015
Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Astoria, Victoria, Vancouver
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57
www.princess.com

Cruising With Teenagers — What a Trip!

In the never-ending pursuit of attracting families to ships, cruise lines are always searching for ways to appease the teenagers because, really, that's where the problem lies. Anybody who doesn't think so hash't parented a teenager.

We love teens, of course. What parents today have to tolerate is what our own parents tolerated: that the transition from being a kid to being an adult, and all that comes with it. Rebelliousness and rejecting authority are part of developing your own voice and your own beliefs, and part of growing up, aren't they? To parents, that sometimes is a black and white issue…you say black, your teen says white. Or vice-versa.

To assist families in the midst of bridging that growth to adulthood, cruise lines have developed a long list of activities. Rock climbing. Surf-riding. Zip-lining. Video gaming. Simulated sky diving. Private "lounges" without the alcohol. Water slides. If there is something the wise people at cruise lines haven't thought of yet, they will.

It's all designed to give families with teenagers the perfect vacation together by having something for everyone, so that every family member goes home saying what a great trip it was…even the teenagers.

Let us know how that works out…

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Surprise refurbishing for Carnival Magic

Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
12 nights
November 1, 2014
Cape LibertySan JuanSt. ThomasSt. MaartenCuracaoGrand CaymanGalveston
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $74
www.royalcaribbean.com

The Things Travelers Say…

Time for a little levity.

One of the many email jokes to cross our laptops this week detailed “complaints” from travelers, allegedly courtesy of Thomas Cook Travel in Great Britain. Investigation did show TCT as the source of the complaints, although there is no evidence of them on the company’s website.

Anyway, here’s a few of them, just for laughs…

“It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England it only took the Americans three hours to get home.”

“The beach was too sandy.”

“Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women.”

“We bought’ Ray-Ban’ sunglasses for five Euros from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.”

“No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled.”

“The brochure stated:  ‘No hairdressers at the accommodation’. We’re trainee hairdressers – will we be OK staying there?”

“It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”

“My fiancé and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

And we found this one from a cruiser named Lennon Richardson:

“An angry guest came down to the front desk of a Holland America Line cruise ship demanding a different room. The attendant tried to calm him down and find out why he disliked his cabin so much. He responded: ‘I paid a lot of money for this cruise and was promised a sea view, the only thing I can see through my window is the parking lot!’ We’d not yet left the dock.”

DAILY DEAL:
Celebrity Millennium
2 nights
December 22, 2011
Miami (return): Bahamas
Inside  $199
www.celebritycruises.com

Deadly to be the 'Late Passengers'

Only once can we recall coming close to missing a cruise ship in a foreign port. Given that we’ve been at this game for a while, you’d think it would have been in the early years when we were cruise rookies.

Not so fast. It was on our most recent cruise, just a few weeks ago, but it’s taken us this long to admit it.

We’d spent a wonderful day in Normandy, driving a rental car and visiting the beaches. We ventured as far as Caen, about 90 minutes from the Celebrity Eclipse. The return trip was carefully planned and there was so much extra time we decided to take the rural route for part of the way back.

After some unexpected stoppages on one-lane country roads, we arrived in Cherbourg, where the ship was moored, at rush hour. Departure was 6 p.m. Without a GPS, or even a good map, the rental facility was something of a mystery.

When we finally found it, the ship was a 15-minute walk away, and departure was less than half an hour away.

“Go, go, go,” said the woman at National Car Rental (okay, maybe she said: “Allez! Allez! Allez!”), before adding: “Just get in the car and he will drive you.”

In the end, “he” drove us and we had time to spare. This was a pleasant surprise. We were already wondering how we’d find a way to catch up with the Eclipse on the other side of the English Channel, the next morning. It would be docked. With our belongings. Unpacked.

The photo? You don’t really think we had time for it, do you? We found this one on the web. It was the least we could do.

And just so you know, cruise ships don’t wait when you’re late.

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