Embarkation Times - Recent Experiences?

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#41
Whitley Bay, North East England
6,315 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by Selbourne
Thanks. That's really useful info. I think that we will do the same as you. If we have to wait until our time, so be it. Hopefully we will be lucky!

Of course the staff always have a note of any Mackem's on board and keep any eye on them.



Sorry Pat.


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#42
UK
748 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
We had to wait about 2 hours last time for our 3 o'clock time on Aurora. We arrived before the buses but were given a different coloured card and had to wait for the previous colours to be called, also when a bus came in they took priority and were shown through a different queue. That was in November 2016.
#43
764 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
Originally posted by Cathygh
I'll let you know what happens when I get back! Also I would think they would want customers like us who live near the port onboard early so it will help stop the Southampton traffic becoming jammed especially if there is more than 1 ship in and also if it's a crew changeover day.
Cathy
Just to be a little contentious, I think those that live nearby should be some of the last to be boarded, as they can stay at home until the last minute. Those of us with a 6 hour drive will always allow a lot of slack to make sure that we are not late, and inevitably we will arrive 2 hours too early, and thus have to hang around until our designated boarding time.
(nb - please do not take my suggestion too seriously!)

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#44
Whitley Bay, North East England
6,315 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by wowzz
Just to be a little contentious, I think those that live nearby should be some of the last to be boarded, as they can stay at home until the last minute. Those of us with a 6 hour drive will always allow a lot of slack to make sure that we are not late, and inevitably we will arrive 2 hours too early, and thus have to hang around until our designated boarding time.
(nb - please do not take my suggestion too seriously!)

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Great idea, I do think those who live so close to the port should get a handicap as in horse racing. Let's have a level playing field.

. .


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#45
UK
2,371 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Ha Ha - Watch it you lot !! Seriously though, I live about 30-40 mins away from the port on a good day - but generally have to leave an hour. I am near Junction 9 on the M3 and where the A33/A34 meet just before the M3 and where just about anything can happen causing massive delays.
#46
UK
1,360 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by Scriv
Ha Ha - Watch it you lot !! Seriously though, I live about 30-40 mins away from the port on a good day - but generally have to leave an hour. I am near Junction 9 on the M3 and where the A33/A34 meet just before the M3 and where just about anything can happen causing massive delays.

We are only in Kent but I hate the M25 with a passion, I'm jealous of anyone who doesn't have to go round it!
We normally travel on the day but leave plenty of time.
However this July we're treating ourselves to a hotel just outside Southampton after I discovered there are 5 or 6 ships in port! The cruise is only 6 nights so it was easy to persuade the hubby plus we don't have to check out til 12 so we'll have a lazy morning before driving down.


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#47
UK
1,360 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by terrierjohn
Dai, that has not been my experience, on the 2 cruises we have done since it was implemented we were given the next alpha card available, and were on much quicker than our 3:30 check in time.
As a top tier cruiser you are boarded immediately anyway and therefore any info you have on this will have been second hand, which I guess my info trumps.
My wife also uses a wheelchair but as we travel with minimal hand luggage I do the pushing and we are boarded way faster than those awaiting assistance.

We were given the letters as usual back in October but a red card not a green. We were not as early as usual but still earlier than our 3pm check in. I thought the red card was because we were early. They did call the green first but then they called corresponding letter in red.
We were prepared to wait as it was our first 3pm check in. I think we got there 1.15, we did try and mooch in Southampton but I was nervous of my passports and tickets in my bag! So we decided to go along and at least be there with kindles etc, but we were walking in our cabin & cases there about 2.15! Happy with that, first time I've unpacked so early
I do appreciate if coaches got there before us we would have had to wait longer.


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#48
UK
2,371 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
I really don't get stressed up at all about my boarding times. We arrive 20 mins or so before our time and have always gone straight through, but if for some reason we arrived much earlier but had to wait or had the bad luck to arrive at the same time as a coach load, then we would just go with it. After a few experiences recently of airports, I am so appreciative of the very fast and stress free embarkation procedures sailing from Southampton in comparison.
#49
100 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Originally posted by daiB
Of course the staff always have a note of any Mackem's on board and keep any eye on them.



Sorry Pat.


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Haha They must like red and white stripes in Southampton so get us on quickly; x
#51
Badiddlyboing, Odawidaho
2,111 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
[quote=Selbourne;52693893]Question for daiB or anyone else who uses assisted boarding (wheelchair users etc).

As you are boarded by a team of dockside yellow jacketed helpers, are you still held to the fairly rigid embarkation times, or do you find that it's quicker as they don't want to be standing around waiting for assistance passengers to arrive? Reason I ask is that we aren't in a Suite on our next cruise and are still in the lowly levels of loyalty points, so don't qualify for priority embarkation for the first time in a while.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We had a nightmare last month - my mother is 102 and was left shivering at the entrance for over an hour. Pando - the least caring organisation it has ever been my displeasure to deal with (still in email contact over this disgraceful scenario) specifies priority check-in for loyalty members as do other cruise lines. However, they don't advertise that they also give loyalty members priority for wheelchairs - so you can sit and sit while newly arrived passengers just walk up and are given wheelchairs!! Also, they adhere to the check-in time you are given - we had 3.30 but have to arrive at noonish, due to her eating and rest periods. No other cruise line does these things. We cannot risk leaving at 1.30 to arrive at 3.30 as we have to use the M25 and M3. Their suggestion? Go somewhere else for two hours - like walk a lady of 102 around West Quay for hours? Idiots! What are they thinking?

They then had the audacity to say that they treat everyone equally. I resent the fact that this is Day 1 of our cruise and other people can arrive at noon for lunch, but we can't!! Funny sort of equality. I facetiously suggested that they serve our lunch at the wheelchair waiting area and/or gave us a hotel room as we have paid for that day. Unbelievably, this is the only part of the emails they actually replied to sensibly - if somewhat curtly - with a 'no'. Hehehe - the idiots didn't even recognise irony - are these 12 year-olds in so called 'customer relations'? Really, I don't think they even read the emails!!

In the US discrimination re allocation of wheelchairs is illegal - and I believe it is here too! Pando is the only cruiseline to do this. The only reason that we eventually got a wheelchair is because the lady in charge of the arrivals clipboard said that the order she was given was a disgrace and that we would be given the first available wheelchair as we had waited so long and my mother way in a bad way!! Load of jobsworths at Pando IMHO!

Hope you have better luck than we had. When we go again I am considering taking a tent to put up in the departures by the front entrance - the media would love that one I reckon!! Hehehehe!!
#52
Whitley Bay, North East England
6,315 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
BMT you have answered your own question.


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#53
764 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
While I have every sympathy with you, the fact is that not everybody can board at 12, and most of us have to negotiate the motorway network and will arrive early. Given that you had a late checkin time, would you not have been better to have booked a day room at a nearby hotel, so as to make things more comfortable for your mother?

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#54
England
662 Posts
Joined Aug 2014
Originally posted by BMT
We had a nightmare last month - my mother is 102 and was left shivering at the entrance for over an hour. Pando - the least caring organisation it has ever been my displeasure to deal with (still in email contact over this disgraceful scenario) specifies priority check-in for loyalty members as do other cruise lines. However, they don't advertise that they also give loyalty members priority for wheelchairs - so you can sit and sit while newly arrived passengers just walk up and are given wheelchairs!! Also, they adhere to the check-in time you are given - we had 3.30 but have to arrive at noonish, due to her eating and rest periods. No other cruise line does these things. We cannot risk leaving at 1.30 to arrive at 3.30 as we have to use the M25 and M3. Their suggestion? Go somewhere else for two hours - like walk a lady of 102 around West Quay for hours? Idiots! What are they thinking?

They then had the audacity to say that they treat everyone equally. I resent the fact that this is Day 1 of our cruise and other people can arrive at noon for lunch, but we can't!! Funny sort of equality. I facetiously suggested that they serve our lunch at the wheelchair waiting area and/or gave us a hotel room as we have paid for that day. Unbelievably, this is the only part of the emails they actually replied to sensibly - if somewhat curtly - with a 'no'. Hehehe - the idiots didn't even recognise irony - are these 12 year-olds in so called 'customer relations'? Really, I don't think they even read the emails!!

In the US discrimination re allocation of wheelchairs is illegal - and I believe it is here too! Pando is the only cruiseline to do this. The only reason that we eventually got a wheelchair is because the lady in charge of the arrivals clipboard said that the order she was given was a disgrace and that we would be given the first available wheelchair as we had waited so long and my mother way in a bad way!! Load of jobsworths at Pando IMHO!

Hope you have better luck than we had. When we go again I am considering taking a tent to put up in the departures by the front entrance - the media would love that one I reckon!! Hehehehe!!
Thanks, but I'm struggling to understand the issue you are raising, and perhaps P&O are too?

My wife isn't 102, but she does need a wheelchair due to disability. So, we either take one with us (if travelling alone) or book one via Mobility at Sea for the duration of our cruise if our daughters are with us and we don't have the space in the car. In the case of the latter, they are always waiting for you at the terminal and are not used for any other passengers.


P&O do not provide wheelchairs for use on board during the cruise, only to help people on and off if, for example, they are alone or their travel companion is carrying hand luggage. I can only assume from your post that you didn't bring a wheelchair or rent one in advance. In that case, how was your mother going to get around the ship during the cruise? The distances on board are every bit as long as the walk on to the ship.


I accept that I might be missing the point here and have misunderstood your situation. If so, I'd be genuinely interested to be corrected. But, as the husband of a disabled person, we take responsibility for our own mobility challenges because relying on others is just too risky.


As for priority boarding, we have often taken advantage of that having booked a suite. Next time we aren't in one, so fully understand that others will have priority over us. We look forward to reaching Caribbean tier in a few years time when we will get priority boarding automatically. People spend more for a Suite, or go on lots of cruises, partly because of the extra benefits which they become entitled to. That includes getting on board first and having a dedicated lunch venue. I do agree that PandO could do better at getting all passengers on board earlier but life isn't equal I'm afraid. If you pay more you will and should have some benefits for that.
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#56
Badiddlyboing, Odawidaho
2,111 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
OK here we go. As I say, it is Day 1 of our cruise - as is everyone else's. They say we are all treated equally - so why should we lose most of the day when its not our choice? Obviously, I can't really take a hotel room as its actually quite difficult moving the elderly around - and not only physically - one move is quite sufficient, which is why we only cruise from Soham- usually quick door-to-door. But the muppets took my requests seriously!! Trying to visualise a beautifully set-up table in the entrance, with us eating lunch and everyone arriving around us - ROTFL!!!


BTW - we have an HA balcony as its the best we can purchase - suites and deluxe balconies only have a bath - and she can't get in and out of a bath! So we can't even buy wheelchair priority even if we wanted to!

My question is: why do we only have this problem on Pando? All the other cruise lines offer priority check-in for loyalty, suites etc. - but not priority at the initial wheelchair stage. The other lines' priority is to get the disabled on board ASAP with as little difficulty as possible. Regardless of status or how much they have paid!!! This is the humane and right thing to do. Money should not come into it - we are talking disabled here!!

To answer your question: We only need a 'pusher' really, but they only do this with their own wheelchairs - insurance probably. I am also elderly and push our wheelchair loaded with medications, appliances etc. etc. to get on board - no way can I do gangways etc. with my mother sitting in it as well!! We go Soham to Soham and don't get off at all. (except once at Tenerife when we were blue-lighted to the hospital!). Can't get off as cannot cope with the wheelchair situation!!

If you read the loyalty benefits, they are the same as other cruiselines - priority check-in. But that's exactly what it says with the other lines - as I say, some muppet at Pando has interpreted that as priority wheelchair!! Cunard has never done anything like this to us - nor Celebrity - nor NCL - nor RCI - nor Regent - nor Silversea yadda yadda yadda!! And yes, we do cruise many times a year - after all, if not now, then when?

Actually, I was impressed with many of the other passengers coming up to us and apologising for having a wheelchair before my mother. Even they felt that it was a disgraceful decision. The lady with the clipboard was really upset at the order.

Frankly, not been Pando for 54 years when we did an amazing world cruise on the first Oriana. As an avid Brexiteer I believed we should start supporting British products (I do realise its a Mickey ship really) and so we went on the Ventura - love the ship as its similar to Grand and Golden Princess and we have many happy memories of TAs on these.

Oh, and that reminds me. When we finally got on board the kindly pusher said my Mum shouldn't go to the buffet as by then she was in a bit of a state and so took us to a restaurant, where we were refused entry 'cos we wern't on the loyalty scheme!! He did try to reason with them, but they didn't want to know!! So we took her to the cabin to lie down and I went up and made her a sandwich!! Not complaining about that, but just saying all in all, it wasn't the best introduction to a new ship!! Luxury of any sort, it ain't!!!!

We are booked Christmas and New Year, but I think that will be the end of our Pandos. Back to Cunard in the winter. Shame, as the cruise was spoiled by irritating little things - the basics are really quite good. Service is very much take it or leave it - no flexibility anywhere. Celebrity, Cunard etc. go out of their way to make things happen. Can't fault the room steward though - Simon was amazing - nothing too much trouble.

Nice, polite discussion on here btw - thought the flames would be rising by now by Pando afficionados.
#57
Whitley Bay, North East England
6,315 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by terrierjohn
Dai, that has not been my experience, on the 2 cruises we have done since it was implemented we were given the next alpha card available, and were on much quicker than our 3:30 check in time.
As a top tier cruiser you are boarded immediately anyway and therefore any info you have on this will have been second hand, which I guess my info trumps.
My wife also uses a wheelchair but as we travel with minimal hand luggage I do the pushing and we are boarded way faster than those awaiting assistance.

John I think the experience of BMT somewhat proves my point.


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#58
UK
2,371 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
BMT there are lots of organisations where the assistants are only allowed to push someone in their own wheelchairs - actually including a Care Home that I know. I don't know the exact reasons but thinking it is Insurance / Health and Safety related. Not just P&O. And as regards being treated equally, the rest of us would also all like to arrive earlier than our allotted time and get on and enjoy our holidays so as not to lose part of our first day. There has to be some system.
#59
Badiddlyboing, Odawidaho
2,111 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by Scriv
BMT there are lots of organisations where the assistants are only allowed to push someone in their own wheelchairs - actually including a Care Home that I know. I don't know the exact reasons but thinking it is Insurance / Health and Safety related. Not just P&O. And as regards being treated equally, the rest of us would also all like to arrive earlier than our allotted time and get on and enjoy our holidays so as not to lose part of our first day. There has to be some system.
Yes, its insurance - but the other cruiselines don't distinguish by how much you've paid as to when you get a wheelchair!! I am not complaining about needing a pusher - am grateful for the help!! But the disabled are treated as special cases by most travel companies. On buses, planes, trains etc. there is separate and speedy boarding for ramps etc. In fact, in the UK now, I believe the facilities for the disabled are much improved. We should know - we live in a Care Home!! The disabled do have special requirements and are usually treated as special cases - except by Pando!! But as I say, even on board, we found there to be rather a lot of inflexibility - one passenger, also trying Pando after many years, said "it's run for the staff and not the passengers"!! I wouldn't go quite that far but.........!!!

I have to say that everyone I have told about this has been rather shocked!! One said its our fault for going on a line with a poor rep for service. Their customer service needs shooting - ridiculous replies to emails, totally ignoring my comments - except about being served lunch in the terminal of course!! She managed to reply to that one hehehe!

I have worked in PR all my life - would never employ one of these people!! Not clue as to how to handle situations without antagonising the complainant. I am inclined to buy a cheap blow up tent and set it up in the entrance and invite the Press. Perhaps Rob Brydon would join me Great video ROTFL


Most irritating thing is that when I read the reviews, passengers turning up at any time are usually accommodated quite quickly. Only the wheelchair allocation is inflexible. Go figure. I have to say that I was rather irritated when a lady given a wheelchair immediately was later to be seen on the ship dancing most energetically, not a wheelchair in sight!! Must have some extremely mystifying illness.
#60
Whitley Bay, North East England
6,315 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Perhaps that's why you had to wait as so many people take advantage of the assistance on offer.


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