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Old 09-14-2013, 03:41 PM   #91
JCinMN
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 75

We missed the ship once

I was on a Med cruise on Princess and 6 of us were on a private excursion to Pompeii, Sorrento and Positano. We had a great day of touring but it was an Italian holiday and traffic kept building during the day, so we turned back early, giving ourselves 2-3 hours for the 30 mile drive back to the ship. Unfortunately, a horrible traffic accident (with deaths) caused a back up of all traffic in the entire region. We tried everything, but were stuck. It took us nearly 5 hours to get back to the ship. The owner of our tour company had called Princess to let them know we were on our way and several Princess buses were ahead of us just a few miles. The ship was supposed to depart around 6 pm but waited until 8 pm for all the Princess tours. We arrived at 8:15 pm.

It's a sinking feeling to see a big black hole (in the dark) at the dock where there should be a brightly lit ship. The port agent was there (every cruise line has one in every port) and she helped us check in with the police (we were technically in the country illegally at that point) and to find a hotel. The next day we bought one way tickets to Athens to catch up with the ship, which was at sea for the day. The owner of the tour company drove us from Naples to Rome for free and arranged a driver in Athens to pick us up that evening, deliver us to an Athens hotel, then take us to the ship the following morning (all complimentary). We got a letter from the police (in Italian and English) saying there was a horrible accident that wasn't our fault that caused our delay and Olympic airlines let us fly (after 9/11) without passports (which we purposely left on the ship to avoid losing them to pickpockets). It all worked out fine in the end and it cost each person about $495 for the airfare and 2 nights hotel. Luckily, we had travel insurance which covered expenses up to $500 pp and the company paid up immediately, once I submitted my receipts and documentation.

Princess had announced our 6 names over and over on the loudspeaker when we didn't show up at the ship the first night and they emailed a ton of company executives about the situation, so they were on top of it. Everyone we had met on the ship knew we were missing and cheered us when they saw we had finally returned. Our adventure really was just one of those things you couldn't have avoided (without just sticking to the ship's excursions) and these things happen.

Definitely always plan to return to the ship well prior to the back on board, sail away time. It's helpful to also have the name/number of the port agent, which should be noted on the Navigator (but I'm not certain as my first Disney cruise is still months away) AND travel insurance.

So, we are ones who experienced a cruiser's nightmare and survived to tell the story. We can laugh about it now, but it was stressful while living through it for two days.
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On Deck: Disney Magic June 2015 (Norwegian Fjords)
Disney Fantasy March 2014 (Eastern Caribbean)
HAL Maasdam July 2012 (Canada/New England)
Island Princess June 2011 (Alaska)
Louis Cruises Aquamarine July 2008 (Greek Islands)

Tahitian Princess February 2005 (Tahiti honeymoon)
Golden Princess May 2003 (Mediterranean)
Golden Princess January 2002 (Eastern Caribbean)
Sea Princess March 2001 (Western Caribbean)
Carnival Inspiration March 1997 (Southern Caribbean)
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:03 PM   #92
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That must have been scary! Thank goodness you made it back to the ship safely.
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:07 PM   #93
ruadisneyfan2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCinMN View Post
I was on a Med cruise on Princess and 6 of us were on a private excursion to Pompeii, Sorrento and Positano. We had a great day of touring but it was an Italian holiday and traffic kept building during the day, so we turned back early, giving ourselves 2-3 hours for the 30 mile drive back to the ship. Unfortunately, a horrible traffic accident (with deaths) caused a back up of all traffic in the entire region. We tried everything, but were stuck. It took us nearly 5 hours to get back to the ship. The owner of our tour company had called Princess to let them know we were on our way and several Princess buses were ahead of us just a few miles. The ship was supposed to depart around 6 pm but waited until 8 pm for all the Princess tours. We arrived at 8:15 pm.

It's a sinking feeling to see a big black hole (in the dark) at the dock where there should be a brightly lit ship. The port agent was there (every cruise line has one in every port) and she helped us check in with the police (we were technically in the country illegally at that point) and to find a hotel. The next day we bought one way tickets to Athens to catch up with the ship, which was at sea for the day. The owner of the tour company drove us from Naples to Rome for free and arranged a driver in Athens to pick us up that evening, deliver us to an Athens hotel, then take us to the ship the following morning (all complimentary). We got a letter from the police (in Italian and English) saying there was a horrible accident that wasn't our fault that caused our delay and Olympic airlines let us fly (after 9/11) without passports (which we purposely left on the ship to avoid losing them to pickpockets). It all worked out fine in the end and it cost each person about $495 for the airfare and 2 nights hotel. Luckily, we had travel insurance which covered expenses up to $500 pp and the company paid up immediately, once I submitted my receipts and documentation.

Princess had announced our 6 names over and over on the loudspeaker when we didn't show up at the ship the first night and they emailed a ton of company executives about the situation, so they were on top of it. Everyone we had met on the ship knew we were missing and cheered us when they saw we had finally returned. Our adventure really was just one of those things you couldn't have avoided (without just sticking to the ship's excursions) and these things happen.

Definitely always plan to return to the ship well prior to the back on board, sail away time. It's helpful to also have the name/number of the port agent, which should be noted on the Navigator (but I'm not certain as my first Disney cruise is still months away) AND travel insurance.

So, we are ones who experienced a cruiser's nightmare and survived to tell the story. We can laugh about it now, but it was stressful while living through it for two days.
Wow, what a story. Good thing you had insurance. We did similar private tours in Italy and at our first Italian port, La Spezia, our guide assured us all would be fine as long as we arrive ahead of the Disney tour buses. She knew them all personally, knew the bus #s, etc and said she could always call them to check their locations. I felt better after that but we didn't have any traffic disasters. Our driver in Naples did say that traffic there is very unpredictable so we allowed extra time to return. Of course a disaster like that would have caused us to miss the ship also. We always feel we should carry our passports outside the US though I don't bother for CC or Nassau but you never know if you might need it. Without it, we have no official international ID.
You must have been tearing your hair out at the time but thank God you were not involved in the accident.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:05 PM   #94
JCinMN
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The members of my group all reacted a little differently. One guy was a type-A businessman who got pretty upset and just wanted to fly home (we were 1/2 way through a 12 day cruise).

I was traveling with a novice traveler on a first cruise and he was pretty freaked out. The other couple was a husband doctor and pharmacist wife. The wife could have helped us getting medicine if anyone would have had prescription drugs that were needed, but luckily we didn't need anything (we were in our 20's, 30's and 40's). I figured I had a credit card and a driver's license, so we'd be fine one way or another. Princess actually opened our safes and faxed our passport pages to our first hotel for us. I carry a color copy with me too, just in case. My novice traveler friend had nothing but his cruise card with him. The airline didn't have to let us fly, but they did. The letter from the police helped. It's odd flying internationally with just the clothes on your back (which were tanks, polos and shorts as it was very hot in Naples) and an empty daypack.

When we checked in at the Rome airport the agent asked if we were that group who'd missed the ship, then asked if we had any luggage to check. Uhhhhhhhh, no! I can't say enough about our tour guide owner (a well known one on the cruise circuit) who was with us every step of the way and helped us find our way. In Athens, we even were given a secret word that the driver had to tell us before we were to go with him. It was all a little surreal. The first night when the port agent (a tall, attractive blonde lady) took us to the police station at the port, we were lined up like a group of unruly school kids in the principal's office in a large warehouse type room. The husband of the port agent (well dressed in a spiffy suit) sat in a chair, smoking a cigarette, watching the whole proceedings. The port agent talked to the police officers in fast Italian and we had no clue what was going on. It might be a good movie scene, now that I think about it!
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On Deck: Disney Magic June 2015 (Norwegian Fjords)
Disney Fantasy March 2014 (Eastern Caribbean)
HAL Maasdam July 2012 (Canada/New England)
Island Princess June 2011 (Alaska)
Louis Cruises Aquamarine July 2008 (Greek Islands)

Tahitian Princess February 2005 (Tahiti honeymoon)
Golden Princess May 2003 (Mediterranean)
Golden Princess January 2002 (Eastern Caribbean)
Sea Princess March 2001 (Western Caribbean)
Carnival Inspiration March 1997 (Southern Caribbean)
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:24 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCinMN View Post
The members of my group all reacted a little differently. One guy was a type-A businessman who got pretty upset and just wanted to fly home (we were 1/2 way through a 12 day cruise).

I was traveling with a novice traveler on a first cruise and he was pretty freaked out. The other couple was a husband doctor and pharmacist wife. The wife could have helped us getting medicine if anyone would have had prescription drugs that were needed, but luckily we didn't need anything (we were in our 20's, 30's and 40's). I figured I had a credit card and a driver's license, so we'd be fine one way or another. Princess actually opened our safes and faxed our passport pages to our first hotel for us. I carry a color copy with me too, just in case. My novice traveler friend had nothing but his cruise card with him. The airline didn't have to let us fly, but they did. The letter from the police helped. It's odd flying internationally with just the clothes on your back (which were tanks, polos and shorts as it was very hot in Naples) and an empty daypack.

When we checked in at the Rome airport the agent asked if we were that group who'd missed the ship, then asked if we had any luggage to check. Uhhhhhhhh, no! I can't say enough about our tour guide owner (a well known one on the cruise circuit) who was with us every step of the way and helped us find our way. In Athens, we even were given a secret word that the driver had to tell us before we were to go with him. It was all a little surreal. The first night when the port agent (a tall, attractive blonde lady) took us to the police station at the port, we were lined up like a group of unruly school kids in the principal's office in a large warehouse type room. The husband of the port agent (well dressed in a spiffy suit) sat in a chair, smoking a cigarette, watching the whole proceedings. The port agent talked to the police officers in fast Italian and we had no clue what was going on. It might be a good movie scene, now that I think about it!
Wow! It would make a good movie! The whole thing! It's like one of the many nightmares I have before a cruise. And this truly happened to you! I would have asked that pharmacist for a prescription for valium. Oh, and I heart that tour owner
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:43 PM   #96
JCinMN
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We also had a less dramatic close call in Jamaica, where we were literally the last 5 people on board before they pulled up the boarding ramp. We were on an afternoon Princess horseback riding excursion that started and ended late. Several of us had purchased videos of our ocean horseback rides but we didn't have time to wait for them to be finished before the bus had to head back. When we arrived at the dock, a Princess employee told us to hustle to the ship as they were waiting for us. We mentioned we had videos coming in a separate vehicle behind us and the employee said to board and she was sure they would get them to us. We boarded, they closed the door and we departed shortly thereafter, thinking that the money for our videos had been wasted. A few hours later, a package was delivered to our stateroom and it was our video. I don't know if they chucked the parcel with the videos across the water at the last minute or what, but the horseback riding company came through. It was almost unbelievable. I must say that we've had good luck with our excursions, private and cruise line sponsored.

It made me uncomfortable to be the last few on board, so when I'm on my own, we make sure we have plenty of time to spare.
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On Deck: Disney Magic June 2015 (Norwegian Fjords)
Disney Fantasy March 2014 (Eastern Caribbean)
HAL Maasdam July 2012 (Canada/New England)
Island Princess June 2011 (Alaska)
Louis Cruises Aquamarine July 2008 (Greek Islands)

Tahitian Princess February 2005 (Tahiti honeymoon)
Golden Princess May 2003 (Mediterranean)
Golden Princess January 2002 (Eastern Caribbean)
Sea Princess March 2001 (Western Caribbean)
Carnival Inspiration March 1997 (Southern Caribbean)
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