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How To Treat Travel Passengers

Here’s an interesting travel comparison for you to digest:

Last week, the P&O ship Oriana had to stay at sea and delay its arrival in Southampton for more than 12 hours, because of high winds. While the passengers waited, the bars stayed open, an entertainment program was resurrected, complimentary wine was served with dinner and — because the new arrival time was to be 9 p.m. — they were given the option of staying on the ship overnight.

By extension, this inconvenienced passengers who were waiting to board the Oriana, about 1,000 of them. They were given dinner and a hotel room for the night, courtesy of P&O, Oriana-SFand offered a 50 per cent discount on a future cruise. When the ship had to be moved to another terminal, passengers received a further 50 per cent discount, this on the cruise they were about to take.

Is (name your airline) listening?

The week before, we were at George Bush International Airport in Houston, waiting to catch a United Airlines flight. Because of a hydraulics problem, with the aircraft, the flight was delayed a couple of hours while United found another plane (Who would want to board a plane with hydraulics issues?).

When the flight left, our son ordered a drink. The flight attendant said it was complimentary. He then asked if his wife, seated two rows ahead of him, could have a United planeglass of complimentary wine. No, he was told, free drinks were only for people who ordered them.

Before the replacement plane was located, there was a good chance the 200 or so passengers would have required a place to sleep. By then, it was past dinnertime, so the airline would feel obliged only to provide a hotel room and a new flight reservation. And then, only because it was a mechanical problem…not an "act of God.” 

Such as high winds.

Do you think airlines could learn something from cruise lines?

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas
7 nights
May 29, 2015
Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Seward
Inside: $539
Cost per day: $77

Rockers to perform…on Cunard?

You know you’re getting old when it catches your attention that Crosby, Stills and Nash are going to be performing…because they’re getting old (Crosby 73, Stills 70, Nash 72). What really makes you feel that way is that they’re performing on ships from the fleet of Cunard, the most staid and proper cruise line of all.

Who has moved the dial the most is open to debate, but the gap between three-quarters of the rebellious and arguably most anti-establishment band of the ‘60s and the ultra-CSNestablishment ships of Sir Samuel Cunard has been bridged. By time, for sure, but also by clientele.

The Cunard customers of today remember Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from their youth, and while these rockers can still rock, they also have become mellow enough to attract a crowd that’s far more sedate than the ones they played to 45 years ago. Their last album, Looking Forward, is suitable evidence — and it’s 15 years old!

And after all, Graham is a member of the Order of the British Empire.


CSN will board the Queen Mary 2 on September 4 for her one-week cruise from Southampton to New York. The group will perform three times while crossing the Atlantic, and answer questions from and give autographs to their aging groupies. Whether the three Grammy Award-winning artists will dress in tuxes for dinner remains to be seen. Without Neil Young, there is perhaps a chance it could happen.

It is, after all, a long way from Woodstock.

Today at portsandbows.com: The Windstar expansion

Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas
7 nights
May 15, 2015
Vancouver, Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Anchorage  
Inside: $595
Cost per day: $85

Rhapsody of the Seas…is this music to its ears?

You have to wonder what Rhapsody of the Seas thinks about this: In 2015, Royal Caribbean is sending it to Turkey instead of Alaska. Did anybody ask the ship how it feels about sacrificing a summer in The Inside Passage for a summer in Istanbul?

Rhapsody of the Seas in AlaskaFurthermore….

Two lengthy cruises that were scheduled before it even reached Alaska have been changed. In April 2015, Rhapsody was scheduled to sail for 16 days from Australia to Hawaii. Not any more. Following that, it was slated to leave Honolulu on a 13-night trip to Vancouver. That's past tense…was.

How would you if somebody told you that you'd be spending a month in the (South) Pacific, and then you wouldn't?

Admittedly, leaving Sydney for Singapore on a 16-nighter isn't a bad alternative, and following it up by coupling a two-week cruise to Dubai and a 15-night sailing to Istanbul is, well, interesting or even fascinating. But skipping Hawaii is like skipping Christmas.

Rhapsody has been around for 16 years, so she's probably seen it all. There are no surprises. She's even been tucked and tweaked a couple of times (in Hollywood they're called facelifts), most recently the year before last at a cost of $16 million. 

The change in plans also affects passengers booked on Rhapsody, but Royal Caribbean is giving them a full refund or a South Pacific cruise on another ship, Radiance of the Seas.

That's probably small consolation to Rhapsody. Taking Hawaii and Alaska away from her is kind of…un-Rhapsody-like.

And without even asking.

Holland America Zuiderdam
11 nights
December 9, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Half Moon CayArubaCuracaoCartagenaPanama CanalColonPuerto Limon
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $49

Half-price…free wine…Kenny Loggins…

We don't normally devote an entire blog to touting a cruise that might interest you, but today we have one that's too good to pass up.

It's a Caribbean cruise for seven days but here are the highlights that make it unique:

• $500 per person for an inside room (double occupancy of course)
• $1,100 per person for a balcony
• Seven bottles of wine per stateroom, one each from seven "award-winning" wineries
• Nightly entertainment by Kenny Loggins, Three Dog Night and others
• Wine and culinary seminars

If you're happy with an inside room, that's $72 per day per person. It's on Radiance of the Seas and all the rooms are half-price, or 2-for-1 if you prefer. The perks are what makes it special.

How can this happen?

You won't find this cruise listed on Royal Caribbean's website. It was bought, or filled, by an agency called Flying Dutchmen Travel in Santa Rosa (wine country) and/or a reputable re-seller known as Travel Zoo.

That's where you go to book it…www.travelzoo.com.

Oh yes, there's a few other facts you'll need in making your decision…

• The departure date is November 9.
• The ship leaves from Tampa.
• The cruise has to be booked by August 17th.

And by the way, Radiance of the Seas recently underwent a $30 million upgrade.

Carnival Sensation
4 nights
October 20, 2013
Port Canaveral (return): Freeport, Nassau
Inside: $159
Cost per day: $39

Helpful Heald The Cruise Director

The world's best-known cruise director is Carnival's John Heald, who gets a kick out of shocking his readers with sometimes crude stories and borderline language, or borderline language and crude stories.

And, just like the papparazzi who keep taking and selling private pictures of public people for publication, readers keep going back for more.

Sometimes, there is good reason to go back. One such blog is a beneficial read for everyone, told in typical Healdelese, which makes it not only helpful and interesting but also entertaining. 

Let's put it this way:

If you're not intrigued by his tale of a "stunning girl from latvia with huge breasts" then skip it. If that's salacious enough to command your attention, click on John Heald's blog and you'll get the whole story.

At the very least, you'll chuckle.

Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas
7 nights
August 23, 2013
Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Hubbard Glacier, Anchorage
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57

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