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AndyMichelle

Azura passengers stranded?

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2 hours ago, daiB said:

Yes people do jump in before the full facts are known. We can all agree a terrible situation for all those involved. We do not know the full details we do not know how many hotels were available in in the vicinity or the availability of coaches to take them anywhere. 

We had a very similar situation on Britannia maiden cruise at Monaco and were delayed for a while at the port because it was unsafe to use tenders due to the deteriorating seas (weather was fine and sunny). When we did finally return to the ship Captain Brown came on every tender and explained what was happening and how to disembark the tender. It was a worrying scenario and Captain Brown did make an announcement later saying if the weather forecast had been given as seas deteriorating that much he would not have stopped at Monte Carlo.

I can see for future cruises that if they cannot book a berth at the dock then P&O might stop calling at Monte Carlo and using tenders. It will be a shame because Monte Carlo is a beautiful port, one of our favourites, but will understand why P&O would do it.

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1 hour ago, Harry Peterson said:

You clearly don't understand what contingency planning means - and how essential it is.  It doesn't involve having any coaches on standby, or rooms booked - just the capability to do so at short notice.

 

P&O clearly didn't have the capability, because they had no contingency plan.

Impossible plan in Monte Carlo when you are talking about cost of hotels in Monte Carlo and surrounding area being extortionate at any time and also happening when Monaco Yacht Show was on the biggest in water display of large yachts and availability of any beds in hotels not just in Monte Carlo but for miles around would have been zero.

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So the contingency plan is to have enough coaches and hotel rooms available to be able to bus all passengers and a percentage of the crew at short notice at all tender ports, after all how many might get stranded, 100, 1170 or virtually everyone.

Also better be ready even in ports where docked. After all, unexpected stormy weather may occur and the ship might have to drop its lines for safety reasons.

Seems to me there are going to be a lot of empty coaches and hotel rooms at every cruise port around the world waiting for the possible call from P&O or any other cruise line. But we must have contingency!

 

Whilst Villefrance is pretty well sheltered by the Cap Ferrat peninsular I can only assume that conditions there were too poor as well that evening/night to tender.

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14 minutes ago, NoFlyGuy said:

So the contingency plan is to have enough coaches and hotel rooms available to be able to bus all passengers and a percentage of the crew at short notice at all tender ports, after all how many might get stranded, 100, 1170 or virtually everyone.

Also better be ready even in ports where docked. After all, unexpected stormy weather may occur and the ship might have to drop its lines for safety reasons.

Seems to me there are going to be a lot of empty coaches and hotel rooms at every cruise port around the world waiting for the possible call from P&O or any other cruise line. But we must have contingency!

 

Whilst Villefrance is pretty well sheltered by the Cap Ferrat peninsular I can only assume that conditions there were too poor as well that evening/night to tender.

As far as I can ascertain one problem was that the weather forecast was for the sea to flatten enough to tender in MC. Clearly a better option. The forecasts were wrong and the decision as then taken to move. Up until that point the tenders were all in harbour. I could see them last night just before midnight. Marine Traffic. You then have to get them back on board with the sea still playing up. If the ship had left at say 5.00 and the sea had calmed, well that would have been wrong so a no win situation. 
 

We don’t know but perhaps the Handball Stadium could have been the contingency plan. 

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7 minutes ago, daiB said:

As far as I can ascertain one problem was that the weather forecast was for the sea to flatten enough to tender in MC. Clearly a better option. The forecasts were wrong and the decision as then taken to move. Up until that point the tenders were all in harbour. I could see them last night just before midnight. Marine Traffic. You then have to get them back on board with the sea still playing up. If the ship had left at say 5.00 and the sea had calmed, well that would have been wrong so a no win situation. 
 

We don’t know but perhaps the Handball Stadium could have been the contingency plan. 

As you say we don’t know but the Stadium could well have been the contingency plan. As I mentioned a page or two back Local Authorities here all have an action plans for most scenarios involving stranded people, perhaps this was Monaco’s version of it.

 

Because of the severe winters we get here where people can be stranded quickly if the snow comes down fast suitable buildings are earmarked for emergencies and can be opened up immediately for folks who are stuck. It is never the Ritz but it is out of the cold and has washrooms, kitchen facilities etc.

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I think there are two problems, assessing the probability of the wether forecast being wrong, and evaluating beforehand what you can do if the worst happens. 

 

Firstly the weather forecast and the understanding of risk. What we see as laymen on the TV is a single forecast of the most probable scenario.  Presumably this predicted acceptable seas. However a cruise ship is a different matter and it should have access to all the different scenarios, the Captain should be able to take a very informed judgement on the forecast being wrong. I would be surprised given today's technology that the probability of bad seas was zero. Bad weather doesn't come out of the blue nowadays. Clearly if the most probable forecast was for acceptable seas letting people ashore may seem like the right decision but thats only if the risk of it changing is small  Depending on the probability of the forecast being wrong  , then contingency plans should be looked at, and the consequences assessed before tendering.

 

The risk you want to take of people being stranded depends on the ability and difficulty in enacting proper contingency plans. If Monaco had 2000 empty beds, then getting people stuck ashore is a very different proposition for the passengers, compared to Monaco being full. When any port if full and the only contingency is to sleep in a sports hall, then only tender if the risk of bad seas is near zero. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

I think there are two problems, assessing the probability of the wether forecast being wrong, and evaluating beforehand what you can do if the worst happens. 

 

Firstly the weather forecast and the understanding of risk. What we see as laymen on the TV is a single forecast of the most probable scenario.  Presumably this predicted acceptable seas. However a cruise ship is a different matter and it should have access to all the different scenarios, the Captain should be able to take a very informed judgement on the forecast being wrong. I would be surprised given today's technology that the probability of bad seas was zero. Bad weather doesn't come out of the blue nowadays. Clearly if the most probable forecast was for acceptable seas letting people ashore may seem like the right decision but thats only if the risk of it changing is small  Depending on the probability of the forecast being wrong  , then contingency plans should be looked at, and the consequences assessed before tendering.

 

The risk you want to take of people being stranded depends on the ability and difficulty in enacting proper contingency plans. If Monaco had 2000 empty beds, then getting people stuck ashore is a very different proposition for the passengers, compared to Monaco being full. When any port if full and the only contingency is to sleep in a sports hall, then only tender if the risk of bad seas is near zero. 

 

 

As a passenger I would expect the Captain to consult with the port authorities/pilots, they are the experts in local weather and sea conditions. If they deemed it safe to tender and likely to remain so, then the right decision was made at the time. The fact that things went pear shaped later was, to say the least, unfortunate.

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Contingency plans are never going to be port specific, it is about the ability to take appropriate corrective action to address individual circumstances.  The actions P and O put in place appear to have been reasonable given the location and that they would not have had port based staff.  From personal experience a few years ago when many hundreds of people arrived at Southampton to embark a P and O ship that could not be boarded, due to poor weather conditions, hotel rooms were found for all of us. In these circumstances it was easier to secure rooms whereas this would not have been as easy at this port.

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1 hour ago, Windsurfboy said:

I think there are two problems, assessing the probability of the wether forecast being wrong, and evaluating beforehand what you can do if the worst happens. 

 

Firstly the weather forecast and the understanding of risk. What we see as laymen on the TV is a single forecast of the most probable scenario.  Presumably this predicted acceptable seas. However a cruise ship is a different matter and it should have access to all the different scenarios, the Captain should be able to take a very informed judgement on the forecast being wrong. I would be surprised given today's technology that the probability of bad seas was zero. Bad weather doesn't come out of the blue nowadays. Clearly if the most probable forecast was for acceptable seas letting people ashore may seem like the right decision but thats only if the risk of it changing is small  Depending on the probability of the forecast being wrong  , then contingency plans should be looked at, and the consequences assessed before tendering.

 

The risk you want to take of people being stranded depends on the ability and difficulty in enacting proper contingency plans. If Monaco had 2000 empty beds, then getting people stuck ashore is a very different proposition for the passengers, compared to Monaco being full. When any port if full and the only contingency is to sleep in a sports hall, then only tender if the risk of bad seas is near zero. 

 

 

And then all the "Know it alls" say "what was the Captain doing I could see it was flat enough to tender". Swiftly followed by "look they are saving money by not letting people tender" and "they want people to spend money on the ship".  We have all seen this rubbish churned out time after time. 

The person with the most information and knowledge should make the decision. I wonder who that could be.

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1 hour ago, Windsurfboy said:

I think there are two problems, assessing the probability of the wether forecast being wrong, and evaluating beforehand what you can do if the worst happens. 

 

Firstly the weather forecast and the understanding of risk. What we see as laymen on the TV is a single forecast of the most probable scenario.  Presumably this predicted acceptable seas. However a cruise ship is a different matter and it should have access to all the different scenarios, the Captain should be able to take a very informed judgement on the forecast being wrong. I would be surprised given today's technology that the probability of bad seas was zero. Bad weather doesn't come out of the blue nowadays. Clearly if the most probable forecast was for acceptable seas letting people ashore may seem like the right decision but thats only if the risk of it changing is small  Depending on the probability of the forecast being wrong  , then contingency plans should be looked at, and the consequences assessed before tendering.

 

The risk you want to take of people being stranded depends on the ability and difficulty in enacting proper contingency plans. If Monaco had 2000 empty beds, then getting people stuck ashore is a very different proposition for the passengers, compared to Monaco being full. When any port if full and the only contingency is to sleep in a sports hall, then only tender if the risk of bad seas is near zero. 

 

 

there are always more than one captain on a cruise ship most of whom are unqualified. In 2017 on Ventura we missed Kakatolon because of strong to gale NNE winds, as these winds were blowing offshore the sea was calm, they were however blowing almost right on the berth. Getting alongside and more importantly getting off an exposed berth in a small port which has no powerful tugs would have been difficult. However the numerous captains on board were loud in their comments ranging from saving  port fees to not capable. Winds in the Med can be very unpredictable

off the mountains with small but strong LP systems forming almost without warning.

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4 minutes ago, NoFlyGuy said:

 

I don't think customer service has much to do with Carnivals share price dropping. As the largest cruise line and truly multinational they are affected by many outside influences hence the profit warning (ever there it was only a small reduction in EPS guidance for the current year). Will be interesting to see how the price goes in the months ahead - markets often overreact both on the upside and downside to company statements.

I too am a shareholder and will be keeping my shares. Also looking to book some more P&O cruises when the new brochure comes out next month.

I assume you wont be booking as the majority of your posts makes out that you think P&O and Carnival are such poorly run companies and will be looking elsewhere.

 

29 minutes ago, Harry Peterson said:

They are indeed, and it's an indication that Carnival are getting things wrong. P&O is one of the things it's getting wrong, and customer service issues (my main complaint) are one of the problem areas.

 

Bad publicity like this will cost P&O a lot of customers - and it's time it woke up to that.

 People have short memories regarding customer services and faulty products etc.

p and o have some terrible reviews as all other big companies do.

i say every time I go on one of their cruises it will be my last but I get home and book yet again.

at least I know what to expect and with cruises getting more affordable cut backs are inevitable.

whack the prices up and keep out the riffraff lol.

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Intresting post on FB this morning. Someone who is on Azura, did get stranded, but was so horrified by what they read in the mirror/sun/mail that they felt they had to put the story straight about the situation..they tell the truth,unlike the above bits of wood pulp.

I also had a look at a map. lots of hotels in Monte Carlo  and not to far away the airport. However that was it..seemed to be very very few  once you went in land. As we have already been told all local hotels were full, and the nearest airport is relatively close for those to be full of boat show people i can see how the put them in a hotel may have fallen flat on it face.

Totally agree with how many armchair captains and lawyers go on cruises. They have every reason under the sun why this should have happened or not happened.

One ray of sunshine from this story a  crew member ,because Azura and Ventura tied up at the next port, met up with his dad, (who worked on Ventura) who he hadn't seen for 2 years. That was a very heartwarming story and tears all round from the father and son.

I guess now we wait for all the glum pictures when the ship is back in Southampton..deep joy. Hopefully for those who went to the press ,they have decided cruising is not for them, so we will not hear from them again.

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FROM A FRIEND, ON AZURA

I have just read the story about our over night stay in Monte Carlo and to say the Sun Newspaper has not let the truth get in the way of a good story is an understatement. Yes the sports arena was uncomfortable but it was not cold and some people decided to stay outside. P&O staff and crew were brilliant and looked after everyone as best they could. The elderly were given priority on beds and medical staff were on hand to care for them.
One member of the crew fell in the water while trying to get people off the tenders and avoided injury and was back at work today.
Yes were waiting a long time but the Captain and crew were trying to do the best for everyone. There were a lot of people who thought they could do it better but they did not have the safety of all those people to think about. At least no one was seriously injured and as for me and my wife, we are a little bit tired and that's all. It has not ruined our holiday.
Please share this to get the truth out there.

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The Captain makes the decision,  but he is not a weather forecaster, for wind and swell forecasts, he must call upon advice of the relevant experts. Which in this case is the French Met Office, they understand all about thermals winds , adiabatic winds off mountains and are the true experts.  He can't rely on the standard forecast which just gives the expected swell . The question he wants answered is not what the swell is likely to be, but what is the probabity the swell will be over X metres. The probability that some unusual will happen. 

 

The hotel  manager just needs to make one quick call to the local tourism authority to ascertain how many spare beds in the town. Any tendering is taking a risk , not with safety but with not being able to return and hence with the comfort of passengers. The risk a cruises line take should depends on the availability of  hotel beds . If there are plenty of beds then they are risking their money,  if there are no beds they are risking passenger comfort. It looks like they took the decision to risk passenger comfort and it went wrong.

 

Interesting to see if they have a formal risk analysis process, or just Captain's judgement 

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I’ll just comment on the press coverage. Earlier in the cruise Azura picked up some migrants near Barcelona. The press reported it was ‘ a 3 day cruise from Cadiz to Barcelona costing £2000’ Words fail me 😂😂 As if Azura did a 3 day cruise between those ports 😂 No wonder they think it’s luxury at that price!

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1 minute ago, P&O SUE said:

I’ll just comment on the press coverage. Earlier in the cruise Azura picked up some migrants near Barcelona. The press reported it was ‘ a 3 day cruise from Cadiz to Barcelona costing £2000’ Words fail me 😂😂 As if Azura did a 3 day cruise between those ports 😂 No wonder they think it’s luxury at that price!

You beat me to it!

 

Hi all by the way, first post.

 

We mustn't forget the physical and mental affect this rescue may have caused to those involved (we'll never know), so to have to deal with this situation too could have been quite stressful. If the reports from those giving excellent reviews are true, this should surely add to the praise the crew have received.

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3 hours ago, bee-ess said:

 

The newspapers that reported on this incident are the same one that always exaggerate any story to do with cruise ships. As for it affecting sales we'll see in a couple of weeks.

As an aside maybe it is time for all cruise companies to consider dropping certain problematic (or even all) tender ports from cruise schedules, it is certainly not the first time this has happened in the South of France or Guernsey and it won't be the last.

I think in this instance criticising P&O is unwarranted, it is a logistical nightmare having passengers ashore that they cannot get back to the ship.

 

 

If I've said this before, please forgive me, but in August on Celebrity EDGE (NOTE NOT P&O) we tendered to Mykonos. Other ships did not and left. We did an excursion where we sailed to a few beaches that morning. It was very windy and choppy on the way out ……….. on the way back it was scary (and I like a rough sea). Believe me, when that little boat turned side ways as the waves hit it as we turned to harbour it really felt that it was at a 45 degree angle. Scary.

 

The weather had changed and it was by the grace of God that we all got back to the EDGE safety ….. and thanks to the professionalism and expertise of the Captain and crew.

 

The weather can change so quickly and credit to the Captain of the Azura  he did not put people at risk and decided that it was better for them to stay ashore (with the criticisms from the press) than risk them coming back to the ship.

 

People who moan about things like this really do not seem to understand that 'nature' / the 'sea' can not be tamed by even the best Captain. A cruise is NOT a land holiday - do your homework people.

 

 

Edited by Presto2

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We had a similar problem on Ventura in June. Weather was fine in the morning and as the day went on the sea got rougher. In the end tendering was suspended with about 1000 people left ashore(myself , wife, brother & partner & great aunt included).

 

We're told that the captain had decided to suspend operations and was relocating to Villefranche. P&O Staff gave us the option of waiting a few hours for coaches or catching the train to Villefranche. So a few hundred of us ended up walking to the station and catching the train(very easy, ticket machine was awkward to use though). In the end we arrived in Villefranche about 45 minutes before Ventura turned up, was an interesting conversation with the cruise terminal staff.

 

Wasn't a fun experience, but completely weather related with nothing extra P&O could have done. In a moment of humour we all blamed a Viking ship for stealing the berth(can't remember the name, it was on Monaco the same day as us). 🙂

Edited by chris11256

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By taking the people to the sports arena, they kept them all together and could watch over them. Keeping an eye on passengers that might be ill or needing help with children. I am sure that anyone feeling under the weather (pardon my pun) would have appreciated the fact that they had the help they needed, by people they could trust and talk to without any language barriers. If they had been bused to a place 60 miles away the poor people that were poorly might not have made it and could have ended up having to go to hospital.

 

The two quotes on here from people that were there said that the crew were brilliant. 

 

You can't compare P&O with another cruise line by saying they would have done better, because you simply don't know that. There is a first time for everything. Yes similar things might have happened but they weren't he exact same circumstances. Norwegian stranded people just a few weeks ago, with storm Dorian in New Orleans. The headline read 

 

Hurricane Dorian Strands Cruise Ship Passengers in New Orleans: 'Everyone's Been Starving, No One Knows What's Going On'

 

I am sure they weren't starving, just the same as Azura's passengers might have been cold but would not have been freezing. Before anyone jumps on that I'm not saying it is okay to be cold just that the papers make it out to be a lot worse that it is.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, emam said:

By taking the people to the sports arena, they kept them all together and could watch over them. Keeping an eye on passengers that might be ill or needing help with children. I am sure that anyone feeling under the weather (pardon my pun) would have appreciated the fact that they had the help they needed, by people they could trust and talk to without any language barriers. If they had been bused to a place 60 miles away the poor people that were poorly might not have made it and could have ended up having to go to hospital.

 

The two quotes on here from people that were there said that the crew were brilliant. 

 

You can't compare P&O with another cruise line by saying they would have done better, because you simply don't know that. There is a first time for everything. Yes similar things might have happened but they weren't he exact same circumstances. Norwegian stranded people just a few weeks ago, with storm Dorian in New Orleans. The headline read 

 

Hurricane Dorian Strands Cruise Ship Passengers in New Orleans: 'Everyone's Been Starving, No One Knows What's Going On'

 

I am sure they weren't starving, just the same as Azura's passengers might have been cold but would not have been freezing. Before anyone jumps on that I'm not saying it is okay to be cold just that the papers make it out to be a lot worse that it is.

 

 

Agreed.

Just looked up weather statistics for that day - high 25 Degrees and low 18 degrees (usually around dawn). Hardly freezing conditions as reported by the Sun.

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10 hours ago, Windsurfboy said:

The Captain makes the decision,  but he is not a weather forecaster, for wind and swell forecasts, he must call upon advice of the relevant experts. Which in this case is the French Met Office, they understand all about thermals winds , adiabatic winds off mountains and are the true experts.  He can't rely on the standard forecast which just gives the expected swell . The question he wants answered is not what the swell is likely to be, but what is the probabity the swell will be over X metres. The probability that some unusual will happen. 

 

The hotel  manager just needs to make one quick call to the local tourism authority to ascertain how many spare beds in the town. Any tendering is taking a risk , not with safety but with not being able to return and hence with the comfort of passengers. The risk a cruises line take should depends on the availability of  hotel beds . If there are plenty of beds then they are risking their money,  if there are no beds they are risking passenger comfort. It looks like they took the decision to risk passenger comfort and it went wrong.

 

Interesting to see if they have a formal risk analysis process, or just Captain's judgement 

They do, and it includes the Safety Officer and Deputy Captain

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30 minutes ago, Host Sharon said:

They do, and it includes the Safety Officer and Deputy Captain

 

As I posted yesterday one assumes that the local experts were also consulted and a collective decision taken.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

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Like an earlier poster we were on the Britannia maiden cruise that called in Monaco.  We went ashore early when the weather was fine but decided to head back around lunch time because the weather was getting cooler and I had not taken a sweater or jacket.  We were on the last tender back to the ship before tendering was suspended.  When the tender approached the ship the tender driver was struggling to get near to the the tender dock on the ship and spent almost 1/2 hour trying to get in.  Captain Brown was standing on the tender dock with other officers obviously discussing what should be done with the tender.  In the end the tender came along side about a metre from the ship and one of the young officers leapt across onto the tender, I was sat next to the window on that side and was terrified when I realised what was happening but fortunately he managed to time his leap and land safely.  That officer got the tender in after only 2 attempts and we all got back on the ship safely though it was frightening stepping across in such rough seas even with a lot of help. 

 

We have since been into Monaco twice and on both occasions left the ship but have kept a close watch on the weather and went back to the ship as soon as the sky started to darken on one of those occasions and managed to get back before rendering stopped and the other time stayed all day with fantastic weather.  I am think that Monaco is a risky port for tendering and as we have docked there on Celebrity, Princess and Cunard I suspect that P&O perhaps choose not to pay what I suspect are very high charges to dock, preferring to take a calculated risk with the weather to keep prices low.

 

 I am just glad that everyone eventually got back to the Azura safely albeit after an uncomfortable night in the sports hall.

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52 minutes ago, Josy1953 said:

Like an earlier poster we were on the Britannia maiden cruise that called in Monaco.  We went ashore early when the weather was fine but decided to head back around lunch time because the weather was getting cooler and I had not taken a sweater or jacket.  We were on the last tender back to the ship before tendering was suspended.  When the tender approached the ship the tender driver was struggling to get near to the the tender dock on the ship and spent almost 1/2 hour trying to get in.  Captain Brown was standing on the tender dock with other officers obviously discussing what should be done with the tender.  In the end the tender came along side about a metre from the ship and one of the young officers leapt across onto the tender, I was sat next to the window on that side and was terrified when I realised what was happening but fortunately he managed to time his leap and land safely.  That officer got the tender in after only 2 attempts and we all got back on the ship safely though it was frightening stepping across in such rough seas even with a lot of help. 

 

We have since been into Monaco twice and on both occasions left the ship but have kept a close watch on the weather and went back to the ship as soon as the sky started to darken on one of those occasions and managed to get back before rendering stopped and the other time stayed all day with fantastic weather.  I am think that Monaco is a risky port for tendering and as we have docked there on Celebrity, Princess and Cunard I suspect that P&O perhaps choose not to pay what I suspect are very high charges to dock, preferring to take a calculated risk with the weather to keep prices low.

 

 I am just glad that everyone eventually got back to the Azura safely albeit after an uncomfortable night in the sports hall.

 

I was in the tender behind the one that Josy was in. We left the harbour area but turned back, presumably on the orders of the captain, until the sea state and the swell had abated enough for tendering to recommence. Even then, the crossing back to the ship about an hour later was far from comfortable and the first time we came alongside the ship, we had to abort the ‘docking’, circle and approach again. This time, thanks to the strength, courage and expertise of the ship’s crew, we tied up and disembarked in a controlled fashion thanks to the Captain. I haven’t visited Monaco since then but next time I do, I will think very carefully about whether to leave the ship on a tender. 

 

As as I said in an earlier post, Monaco is a fabulous port but I really feel that unless a berth is guaranteed, no cruise company should include it on their itineraries.

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14 hours ago, Host Sharon said:

They do, and it includes the Safety Officer and Deputy Captain

Hi Sharon

Can you tell me why my post yesterday was removed ? It doesn't seem to break any rules.

 

image.png.d30b48c3fe54cb685dc9464778aa627a.png

 

 

Edited by bee-ess

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