Saturday, 28 July 2012

Day 2 - Not every day is smooth sailing - July 27th

As I said yesterday, maybe I was a bit too full having eaten far too well, as I did have a bit of digestive discomfort – but who cares?  It was a much need good sleep generally and by the time we surfaced, Garry was away, already hard at work, Jo, Ros & Arnold were up and so we had a drink (plus a light breakfast) before Jo took Ros and Arnold to the bus stop, whilst we loaded the car and were chauffeured down to the quay.  We quickly dumped our two cases (both under 20kg I might add) and went into the assembly area. We were early and it wasn’t too long before Ros & Arnold arrived.  They managed to sneak up behind Megan as she was having her photograph taken and of course, Megan was more than a little surprised to see them when she turned around!
We managed cup of (lukewarm) coffee and didn’t bother with the expensive lids. (see pic)
With so many travellers now qualifying for “Preferential Boarding”, (I think we were group 6 of at least 10), means that first time cruisers had quite a wait before they could sign in and claim that coveted key card.
We carried on chatting away with our own group, plus of course, past cruisers who we bumped into.  One guy (who we didn’t know) approached Joanne saying he was a keen follower of her blog and recognised her from that.  Fame...
Sadly (for Ros, Arnold and particularly Joanne) we headed off for immigration and boarding.  Jo was just brilliant and so generous with the hospitality, so we hope we can repay them when they cruise into Auckland, just after Christmas.  So far, so good.

Princess?  Grrrrrr!  Your Head (office) is on the chopping block.

We had of course printed out our luggage tags for stateroom A714 – because that is what we had booked and that was what was on all our pre-cruise documentation.  You can then probably imagine how we felt when we  arrived at A714 (which) was open, threw our stuff through the door, fully intending to shoot upstairs for food.  Paula picked up the usual welcome letter from Princess, but was horrified to read “Welcome to Mr & Mrs *** “ – which of course, isn’t us.  (We have 5 asterisks, not three.)
I checked the door key and sure enough, it didn’t work.
We had a hiccup back in June, when I first tried to print out our luggage tags and found that it had changed from A714 to A702.  A call to Princess referred us to our Travel Agent, who in turn, called the wholesaler, who then had to contact Princess who corrected it and back came the message that it was back to A714.  Sure enough, our Cruise Personaliser (on line) was back to A714 and a few days later, I printed out the luggage tags and our travel agent passed over the trip documentation, all with A714 (a port side cabin – all even numbers are port side).
Paula went up to A702 to see if our names were on the door.  Nope. Nor on any other port side cabin in the vicinity.  The cabin steward supervisor found that we had been moved to A6*5 – a starboard side cabin...
Several trips up and down from level 12 to level 5 to the front desk (well, three trips) established (sic) over the course of the afternoon/evening, that an email had been sent to the Travel Agents June 26th advising of the change.  Strange, as our (dated) Princess e-documentation was printed out June 27th.  We did establish that the “new” occupants of A714 had only booked two weeks ago and had requested  a port side cabin.  They refused to move.  We had booked whilst still on the World Cruise, last August.  You can only feel sorry for the Dawn Princess staff when this sort of thing happens and the ship is effectively full.
We request the port side for several reasons and refuse upgrades as this secures your booked cabin (sic).  It was no surprise that we didn’t get our luggage until late either as it had an A714 tag on it and that was exactly where it went.  I had to go and find it.

The positive?  Our cabin steward’s name?  Marcos...  (For those who do not know me, my race car is a – Marcos.)
Anyway, we partially accepted that we are now stuck with this cabin whilst the excellent local ship staff fire off emails to head office...  We are not holding our breath but expect some contact tomorrow.
We finally caught up with Mal & Megan for a chicken burger (we were starving by this time) and a pie for me, but sadly, the meat pie wasn’t really very hot.  Never mind. It was food.
We had a great sailaway in bright sunshine (unlike last year) and you’d have to say that cruising out of Sydney is one of those bucket list items for anyone from this part of the world.
Our Cruise Critic/Facebook connections haven’t the zizz and leadership of last year (Jo, Ros and Anne are real stars in that respect) so we settled for a complimentary glass of bubbly as we set off, chatting with Mal & Megan, before heading for the buffet for another light snack.  (The pic shows a tempting Gluten free chocolate cake - just for Lynne.)
A call in to the Wheelhouse bar to see what the Jazz was like for a while, before heading to our spiritual evening home, Alana & Alana’s Atrium. Well, it is probably the Dawn Princess’s atrium of course, but we know the real truth.  As Alan said when he opened the session, “Welcome to the two of you here we haven’t seen before!”  Our legs were tired, we were tired, so no dancing. We then found that the old Princess coffee card (from the Diamond) didn’t allow a free hot chocolate either.   
Fairly early to bed, happy that we were away, but intensely annoyed and frustrated at Princess Head Office.  Sad that so many of our cruise buddies (or NZ buddies) aren’t with us, but happy that we’ll correct part of that in the future. We are still working on our NZ group.
So, we now face 6 days at sea before hitting Darwin (3rd time in little over a year).  With six seas days, don’t expect too much from me, though I do know several who like to read this as an aid to insomnia.  Zzzzzz.  

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