Thursday 15 August 2019

Be careful what you wish for

This is nothing to do with UK politics, but as I have given them a mention I might as well add that a blond Billy Bunter would not be my choice for prime minister. Anyway I did not have a vote. Boris Johnson now has the job, and we shall have to see what sort of a fist he makes of it.

This is a follow up to my previous post -  Bucket List. The Greek islands cruise that I mentioned at the end of it had been on our bucket list for some time. We had seen a suitable cruise which sailed last year, but had dithered about booking it and had missed out when it got booked up quite early. So when we saw a Greek islands cruise for June 2019, back in the Spring of 2018, we did not hang around. It was with a cruise line that we had sailed with before and we were happy to cruise with them again. We booked it and we had been looking forward to it for over a year. Husband and I met on a Greek island thirty years ago and it would be our wedding anniversary during the cruise. So for us the Greek islands are a special place, even though the cruise was not visiting the island where we met.

This cruise line has three identical ships. We have now cruised with them three times - once on each ship. On our previous cruise with this company we had been woken up one morning by a loud clattering from the pool deck above our cabin.We complained and the staff were very apologetic about it. They volunteered that they had a policy of no noise before 8 am and it would not happen again, and it didn't. This time we were in the adjacent cabin. Unbelievably on our first morning we were woken at 6.15 am by crew clattering around on the deck above our cabin. Greece is two hours ahead of the UK, so to us that was 4.15 am. Of course we complained, but the staff did not seem interested or to take us seriously and the early morning manoeuvres above our cabin continued. After a few mornings of this I was waking up at the crack of dawn anyway. We complained again, but we were still plagued by early morning noises. Out of nine mornings only two were quiet. Long before we were even half way through the cruise I was counting down the days that we had left as I was desperate to come home for a decent nights' sleep. I just do not function, if I do not have enough sleep and sight seeing is hard work if you are tired. The route that the cruise took was good and the weather was great, but for me the whole thing was spoilt by a lack of sleep. By the time we got home I was like a zombie.

I thought that once we were home and I was sleeping in my own little bed, that the sleep issue would be a thing of the past. Strangely the first night home I slept well, but then the early morning curse kicked in and I was waking just after 6 am, even though we do not have a pool on the roof of our cottage. I was desperate for sleep, but kept waking up early. I felt like I needed a holiday. I did not feel as if I had had a holiday, but hey where had all that dirty washing come from? It was a weird few days before my normal sleep pattern re-established itself. Of course, in the mean time, dog tired and worn out through lack of sleep I had picked up a bug. Not your standard English cold, but I suspect a souvenir from someone else's foreign holiday. Seven days later and husband had it too. It was a holiday not to be forgotten and for the wrong reasons.

Having had nothing more than a cursory apology from the staff on the ship, we wrote to the UK managing director about our experiences. From him we received a very casually written letter with an off hand and flippant tone, which essentially said that noise was a fact if life. No apology and no assurance that it would not happen again. As a consequence, we have cancelled a cruise that we had booked with them for Christmas and New Year, and they have lost us. Cruising is big business and some sectors of the cruise industry are receiving a bad press and rightly so.