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Heads !!!!

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  1. Heads !!!!

    Stressing out and feeling sad

    My dad died a couple of years ago aged just 62 from asbestos-related cancer. He loved cruising. Mum still cruises and simply says "I know he's still with me and enjoying it as much as I am". Just think of your sister that way. I often think "Dad would have loved this" when I'm away but know full well he's looking down on me. It's a pity Dad never got to cruise on the same ship as me (I only started working for P&O after he died) but Mum comes on board when I am working on the relatives travel program and loves it. She even got invited to the bridge for sailaway by Captain Hutley when we were in Dominica earlier this year and was really looked after by the crew when I went down with flu and was confined to cabin for a few days. Mum and Dad used to cruise on Thomson. Now I'm not pushing the competition here as I know exactly the same thing would happen on P&O but a few months after Dad died (he was actually booked on a cruise when he passed away but wwas too ill too travel) Mum went back to their favourite ship. I got in contact with the cruise director, explained what had happened and just asked that people be a bit sensitive with Mum as Dad was the sort of passenger that staff would remember (for all the right reasons I might add) and I didn't want people asking where he was as it might upset Mum and spoil the cruise. The cruise staff went out of their way to make sure Mum had a good time and she certainly did. When I picked her up from the airport she was smiling for the first time since Dad died and regaled me with stories from the cruise all the way home. Yes, they are the competition but credit where credit is due.
  2. Heads !!!!


    [quote name='Bedruthen']We were on Aurora last year, and security works only when procedure is followed but... after spending a day ashore we returned to the ship and there was a considerable queue of elderly passengers waiting to re-board. So the staff waved some of us through up the gangway used for disembarkation, where there was no scanner and no security staff. We wer back onboard without any checks of our purchases etc.[/quote] That is worrying. If the security officer on board found out that was happening then somebody would be for the high jump, especially in today's climate. Remember though there is a marsec rating at any time (similar to the terrorist alert scale they have at airports) and last summer it would more than likely have been at the lowest level. After recent events I very much doubt that would happen now.
  3. Heads !!!!


    Cruise ships are quite a soft target, especially since the security is nowhere near as tight as with airports. Then again a bomb at sea is certainly nowhere near as serious as a bomb at 40,000 feet. Yes, some people may get hurt or killed but it is highly unlikely to sink the ship whereas in a plane things would tun out very differently. Security is a big issue with cruise companies though. Take a look at the x-ray scanner when you come on board. Quite often there is a little device either on top of it or somewhere nearby. This continually sniffs the air and will alert security if anything undesirable is being brought on board. It can detect both drugs and explosives although the latter is by far the biggest concern right now. Every bag coming on board is scanned and every entrance on to the ship is guarded. The entire crew has to undergo security training from bomb search drills to screening deliveries etc. It was quite funny to see one of the US coastguard test security on Oceana by running up the gangway trying to get past security the way a suicide bomber might try to do. Those Gurkhas are only small blokes but you really want them on your side in a fight. The poor coast guard really had seven shades of whatever beaten out of him although he came up all smiles and told the security team they were first rate. The ship also has several devices on board for security purposes such as the sonic weapon used on the Seabourn Spirit last year to fend off an attack by pirates (I used to work for Seabourn and know a lot of the people involved in that incident). All in all you are pretty safe on a cruise ship and have very little to worry about.
  4. Heads !!!!

    Extra Security on British Cruise ships

    This sexy little device has actually been on board for some time (I was working on Oceana when they got it). Pretty much all cruise ships have them these days.
  5. There is no way I am checking my laptop in to the cargo hold. We all know how bags are treated and I am not risking having it damaged as most of my life is on there (albeit backed up on to removebale hard disks on a regular basis. I have a flight out to Barbados in November to join a ship so I hope it all gets cleared up by then. One other thing for UK flyers - you can take on board drinks that have been bought in the airport departure lounges. Phil
  6. Heads !!!!

    Not looking forward to our cruise on Arcadia

    Yes, you will be in the minority age-wise but you should still have a great holiday. The pub and nightclub on board are always busy until the early hours, there is entertainment at the Globe and the Palladium and the ents staff work very hard to make sure everybody on board has a good time. Next time though, book yourself on Oceana if you really want to have fun or even Ocean Village which is very much aimed at your age group.
  7. Heads !!!!

    Jobs on P&O dance entertainer

    I don't know how P&O Australia do it but P&O UK use outside companies to put on the production shows. The Stadium Theatre Company do Oceana and Artemis, CMC do Oriana and Aurora and the American company Jean Anne Ryan do Arcadia (http://www.jeanannryanproductions.com/), basically because they stage shows on lots of other lines including the HAL ships of the same design as Arcadia so could provide a ready-made package. STC and CMC advertise in the Stage newspaper and hold auditions twice a year. Am not sure how JAR work but the website will tell you. The theatre company do not have any extra duties on the ship (they don't even have an emergency duty so are lucky enough to get out of safety drills). No idea about pay but you will end up saving a lot as there is very little to spend it on. It's probably comparable to theatres on land but you have no rent, your food is supplied, your cabin is cleaned and all you have to worry about is your bar bill (which has bankrupted several luvvies I've worked with). No idea about qualifications but obviously you need to be a good dancer. I'd also like to add that almost all the performers I've worked with have been an absolute pleasure, very professional and nice people to boot. As for guest entertainers, they are booked by P&O, probably through agencies. Anthony Radford is the guy to have your agent contact at P&O as he is head of entertainment (and a very nice man to boot). If you have any other questions feel free to ask away as I work in the entertainments team at P&O (best job in the world) and am happy to help anyone wanting to join our team. It really is a great life as long as you can deal with being away from home for so long and very good experience for someone pursuing a career in musical theatre.
  8. Heads !!!!

    formal nights

    [quote name='leah67']Hi all, I am starting to think about the formal nights clothes. How formal is too formal. Can anyone give me some tips on what is worn to these nights. I don't want to pack the evening gowns and be too over the top.Thanks.[/quote] As far as the UK ships go you can wear what you want and never be too formal. You will only look out of place if you are not formal enough. One word of advice - as soon as you get on the ship go to the spa and book your appointments for formal nights. They are normally gone within the first couple of hours after embarkation so if you want your hair done, a manicure or whatever then get in quick.
  9. Heads !!!!

    Holidays Undercover - pure scaremongering

    Ah yes, the good ship Island Mistake. Someone I know was featured quite heavily on one episode of that series which unfortunately went right to his head and swelled it out of all proportion. I do as little as possible ;-) Actually I work in the entertainments department and love it to bits. Cruising is a great life as long as you can deal with being away from home for so long and you're going to love it.
  10. Heads !!!!

    Holidays Undercover - pure scaremongering

    That or very experienced ex-police officers. P&O UK employ ex-gurkhas as well and, while they are really nice guys despite them hardly ever smiling, you do NOT want to get on the wrong side of them. I had a security officer on one ship I worked on who was ex-anti-terrorist squad complete with two bullet wounds in his shoulder. That was the obviously disgruntled ex-employee I mentioned. Did you notice how all the photos of him in uniform and on ships that they showed were at least 10 years old. Personally I thought he looked like he had a real alcohol problem going by his appearance but I could be wrong. Yes but the cruise lines will still get blamed no matter what. It's the same in everything - a passenger comes on having been worshipping the porcelain god the entire day before but feels fine now and doesn't want to miss out on the cruise so they lie on the health form they are given before they get on. They then go on to spread the virus all over the ship, ruin hundreds of people's holidays, cost the company tens of thousands in extra cleaning costs and yet the cruise line still gets the blame. Programs like this one really make me sick. The sooner P&O UK do a "fly-on-the-wall" documentary the way easyjet did so passengers get to see the truth the better. Until then the public will continue to suffer the garbage that so-called "investigative reporters" put on our screens and get a totally false impression of a great way to take a holiday. I love my job and I love working for P&O and it really makes me sick that people can get away with lying on TV and presenting it as "fact".
  11. Heads !!!!

    Pacific Star - disaster

    Just a quick point that I know holds true for P&O UK and will very likely do so for our Aussie cousins - the questionairre you are given at the end of a cruise is taken very seriously by P&O. It's not a complaint form so be sure to put on there what you have enjoyed as well as what was wrong. If someone has gone that extra mile to make your holiday special then mention them in the forms as it could mean the next promotion for them (there is also the CRUISE customer service award for that whee you can nominate staff). Do take the time to fill in the forms as it is the only way things that are wrong can be brought to the attention of the company and dealt with.
  12. Heads !!!!

    Holidays Undercover - pure scaremongering

    Yes, I'm in the UK and work for P&O UK (although I'm off at the moment following a serious illness). I know from first hand experience what a complete load of rubbish the vast majority of that show was.
  13. Saw the show on TV tonight and I have to say parts of it were complete and utter rubbish. The so-called "expert" on norovirus didn't have a clue and came out with some real howlers. Seems it was all about shock value and forget such minor details as facts as they obviously didn't consider them important. What people do not realise about norwalk is that you can clean the ship from top to bottom but all it needs is one passenger to come on board already infected and the whole thing starts all over again. Because a ship is such an exclosed enviroment the bug spreads very easily and there is very little that can be done about it other than following basic hygeine procedures and confining those already infected to their cabins. To blame the cruise company the way they did on this show is crazy but does make for good TV so they ignored the facts and showed blatant scaremongering. Truth is it is usually passengers with poor hygeine standards that spread the virus, failing to wash their hands or use the alcohol gel. It really makes me sick to see such misinformation when I know full well how seriously the companies and the crew on board the vessels take an outbreak. The virus is VERY common and most people suffer with it at least once every couple of years but you wouldn't think it when you see the media frenzy every time there is an outbreak on a cruise ship which they blow up out of all proportion. I have to admit that the report on crimes at sea, 178 sexual assaults and people vanishing from ships was worrying but having seen how they misreported the norovirus outbreak on the Sea Princess later in the program it makes me wonder how much of it was true and how much was just made up for dramatic effect. I can't speak for P&O Australia but I know that in the UK fleet the security staff are top-notch and take bad behaviour very seriously. I also know that underage drinking is a no-no and something the bar staff do not allow although this program made it sound like all the cruise ships will serve alcohol to kids. They interviewed an obviously disgruntled ex-crewmember who came out with some real rubbish which may have been true 10 years ago but certainly doesn't hold true now. The first ship they had on the program where they tested for cleanliness wasn't even a cruise ship, just a riverboat by the looks of it yet the show (and the review of it in my paper) makes it sound as though all cruise ships are dirtier than your average cesspit. I suppose I'm ranting a bit here but to see such irresponsible journalism makes my blood boil. Anyone else see the show and want to comment?
  14. Heads !!!!

    Stranger Than Fiction

    [quote name='lord of the seas']Is that good or bad?[/quote] It's a good thing I suppose. Just goes to show that Seabourn really do have some great lecturers on board. That is one thing I do really miss not working for them any more as I would really enjoy the lectures. Phil
  15. Heads !!!!

    Stranger Than Fiction

    For those in the UK who saw the "stranger than fiction" documentary about the Apollo 11 mission to the moon tonight, the Dr David Baker who was interviewed throughout the program was the same Dr David Baker who regularly lectures on Seabourn ships. Phil