NEWS

 

May 2017

What a month it has been, medical evacuations, sea rescue, mutinies, press stories and nutty passengers. It might sound similar to last month’s updates but if anything it has got worse. The ship isn’t in the best of shapes and we’ve had floods and leaks on Deck 5 in cabins and corridors, Deck 6 outside the Cruise Director’s Office Deck 8 in the Magellan Show Lounge, Deck 9 in the Captain’s Club and the disabled toilets and Deck 10 on the deck itself. And that is only the ones I know about, some people have moved cabin five times because of flooding in the bathrooms.

We’ve had an English speaker on who dared to speak of the war and while that might not normally be a problem, it is when you have a 144 Germans onboard the ship. They immediately started a petition to stop the speaker doing any more talks and in the blink of an eye head office took them off the stage. He wouldn’t let it go and then canvassed English passengers to sign a petition to reinstate him and after much deliberation, C&V put him back on. His conduct afterward was, let’s say unbecoming of a speaker representing the company and once again head office took him off. The next thing I knew it was on page 33 of The Sun Newspaper on 25 April with the headline “Don’t mention the warship” Reception pulled all the printed newspapers off sale but it was too late, the news went around the ship like a bad rash. Head office was apoplectic and when rung by the papers gave the standard reply “no comment”

Maldives

On the 26th the story was picked up by The Star, The Express and the Daily Mail and rumors circulated that Good Morning Britain wants the speaker in question on the show. That is all I can say at the moment but possibly more will happen before the end of the cruise and most certainly the press will be waiting for the ship when we dock at Tilbury on 5th May

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4442746/Cruise-firm-bans-lectures-WWII-Germans-complain.html

Then we come to Stephen, an alcoholic that uses his M.S as a convenience to excuse his behavior. He is constantly demanding attention from the crew, screaming obscene abuse at reception. He really is a vile individual. He has kept every tour waiting, on one occasion by 25 minutes, he constantly shits himself and a few weeks ago during the lunch service on deck he stood up and pissed where he was standing. He wields his stick like a weapon hitting the head steward at a lunch because he couldn’t get his own way. He has people waiting on him hand and foot but is quite capable of doing for himself as has now been proved.

Malta

His account was suspended for lack of funds and that gave the ship the power to ensure he wasn’t served any more alcohol and stopped a lot of the aggression but he has constantly tried to sneak bottles on the ship each time we’re in port. Any other cruise line would have disembarked him after the first infractions but this company doesn’t have the balls to do the right thing. Instead, passengers by the hundreds have made complaint after complaint. I feel especially sorry for the people in the next cabins to him as he bangs his stick on the walls as he makes his way down the corridor and when he has fallen down drunk he has screamed for help. He has insisted his passport has been stolen on two occasions only for it to be found in his cabin. But there is a conspiracy you know. He told everyone that the GSM went into his cabin and stole it and then threw it overboard. Each time it has been found he takes no responsibility for hiding it nor does he apologise for the chaos he has caused.

In Israel, he managed to get alcohol on the ship and gloated about it. I am usually the last one on deck at night and lo and behold he gets pissed, can’t walk without lurching all over the place and then fell in the lift cutting his eye. Security came to help and to get him to medical but it was just a flesh wound and he swore blind he hadn’t been drinking. When I told him I’d seen him he admitted he’d only had two double scotches and five glasses of wine!! It’s a shame he didn’t fall overboard. What annoys me is that while he keeps medical busy on a daily basis he is taking away the time that another passenger might need for their own medical problems.

To be honest there are stories to talk about on a daily basis but it would take to long to go into detail but let’s just say he is the passenger from hell and everyone’s worst nightmare.

The night before Ashdod we had a helicopter medical emergency and Deck 11 had to be evacuated. The Israeli Navy dispatched what I thought to be three helicopters but it turned out one was a drone sent ahead to film the decks and check things out. The second craft was keeping the air space clear and the third actually came in for the rescue. I hate to think what the exercise cost but the irony was while we were in Israel the next day the passenger in question rejoined the ship!

On the Suez Canal

This cruise has tried everyone’s patience so much so that one passenger held a meeting, which amounted to a mutiny and is talking about a class action suit. C&V haven’t a leg to stand on, there have been diesel fumes filtering in through the ventilation system, then the air conditioning broke, then my bathroom flooded out twice. The crew started fixing the windows on Deck 10, which is the main pool deck and over the course of 10 hours they were banging away and the smell of chemical fumes was rife. Once the glass came out you could see just how corroded the metal was underneath. One of the nights it rained it literally flooded Deck 10 as the overflow gutters don’t work. We’re talking about 8 inches of water running back and forward across the decks in motion to the movement of the ship. The ceiling in Captain’s Club leaked buckets and buckets one night as did the ceiling in Raffles Bistro so the evening meal had to be served on deck. The result was that the carpets, which were soaked, smelt for days. Then we have had leaks from the ceiling in passenger areas, let’s put it this way Magellan won’t even get a 3* rating.

 

The whole trip has been a disgrace with container port after container port, and most of the time we’ve been left without any shuttle transport. Passengers have been forced to take the ship’s tours if they wanted to see anything in places like India, Maldives, Jordan and the list goes on. When you envision a world cruise you dream about the port stops but the reality meant that because of where we were berthed, it cost us two hours in travel time before getting to the main city areas. Several of the overnight stops we had were wasted because, in Ho Chi Ming (Saigon), you couldn’t spend the evening there or have dinner because the port gates were a quarter of a mile away in 90 degrees of heat, the taxis were unreliable and if you did take the tour office transfer the latest return time to the ship was 6.30pm. in Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore etc if we wanted to spend the evening it meant expensive cab fares to get back to the port.

Then we had the Indian visa situation with CMV insisted were obligatory and without it, we would be denied boarding in Tilbury. Because of my cruise schedule and the fact that the paperwork needed to be submitted in November I had to use a visa company to apply on my behalf so that ended up costing £300.00. Of course, it evolved when the Indian officials came on the ship prior to our arrival we were subjected to a face-to-face and were then told that if we didn’t want to get off the ship in Chennai then we didn’t need a visa. Oops. What an outcry of outrage. People went berserk. And demanded money back from the company but as with so many people that wrote, they were ignored. I wrote three letters to the GSM and HD and got no reply. I wrote three letters to head office and again no reply It was only following the ‘mutiny’ that the company deemed to write back to me ignoring all my points and only commenting on the fumes and lack of air-conditioning both of which were ‘outside their control’ but they hoped I enjoyed the rest of my cruise. I’m afraid I don’t understand a company who refuses to face the fact they screwed up and the awful thing is a lot of the issues on here will be repeated on the Columbus world cruise in 2018.

This was a maiden world cruise, we had nothing when we left Tilbury, the terminal was full of boxes in the corners overflowing with discarded Xmas decorations and dead flowers of the window sills. We did not get given a sail away drink nor did a band play us out of the harbour. I looked up at one point to see we’d limped out of the port with no hint of occasion. To be honest that set the tone for the rest of the cruise and people felt deflated and let down. The lack of entertainment was apparent and on an eight-sea day run we had one speaker on board and that was it. Why? Because the company didn’t want to pay the airfares involved to fly artists out. They were also making the speakers and crafters pay their own airfares!! Everything has been done on the cheap. There weren’t enough entertainment team members on the ship so they couldn’t provide entertainment in all the areas (and the Columbus has much more than here).

On the first leg the guest questionnaire forms indicated that 30 percent of the people were upset that they couldn’t have a late sitting dinner and then watch a show but the system on any ship is that you watch the early show if you are on late dinner and the late show if you are on early sitting. No head office ignored the other 70 percent and changed the show times, which meant the second show didn’t finish until 11.15pm. That meant that the earliest that a show could be given on Deck 10 was 11.30pm and of course that wasn’t possible. I made numerous suggestions, one being that we had a jazz afternoon with the musicians because they don’t work in the day but no they refused because the heat and humidity would ruin their instruments, well excuse me.

Last January/February on this same ship we had live entertainment on deck every night. Daniel Richter was Hotel Director on that cruise and he knew what he was doing, we had buffets out on deck regularly whereas in four months we’ve had two full buffets. Last year we had a plethora of theme nights, this time round there has been a distinct lack. The reality of Chinese New Year was, they had the normal buffet in Raffles Bistro but had a sign up saying Happy New Year.

A world cruise is a lot of money but even though the prices were competitive it wasn’t value for money. Without decent entertainment, this is tantamount to a ferry service but even they go into the main terminal areas. In Lisbon, which is a few days they were putting us in the boondocks with a shuttle service but at the last minute, they said we were now in the main port but with no shuttle. Every other cruise line I’ve been on has provided a shuttle to Black Horse Square as otherwise, it is quite a long walk for the elderly. We have also found out that Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas will be in with us and there are 5000 passengers on board and that will create havoc in the terminal. To add insult to injury we are only there a few hours there as we do in Gibraltar so our last two ports aren’t even a decent send-off.

Head Office recently decided we’d have a movie every night on deck and although it can get tedious at least it gives us something to do except stare into space without even background music as a distraction. On the 26th there was no film because the Cruise Director deemed it too cold. For who? He is not the one sitting out here all evening. On the 27th it was at least 70 degrees and again no film so that means out last eight days have nothing to entertain us.

The staff and passengers are demoralized and the Cruise Director and his team have given up, they couldn’t care a less anymore. They have been flooded with complaints for the last four months and they just want it to be over. Several I know have handed in their notice and can’t wait to get off this rust bucket.

It has been a disappointment from start to finish. The tours on offer were unoriginal, unexciting and expensive. I had a genuine complaint in Townsville as the literature failed to explain there was a lot of walking involved as well as 42 steps to negotiate so I missed the show. Nor only didn’t I get a penny back but my complaint was ignored. The negative guest questionnaires that were filled in have found their way into the bins because everyone is scared to tell the owner’s wife, who runs entertainment, that she provided a faulty product. They don’t accept that anything is their fault but 220 + people can’t all be wrong. Because I have to send this to Richard while we are in Malta tomorrow (28th) so that it is up live on time I can’t provide any details on how the cruise ends but I’m back on the 5th May and will fill you in next month.

STOP PRESS STOP PRESS STOP PRESS


Just arrived in Valetta, German thrown off the ship for spitting in a woman’s face.

Stephen had too many drinks, too many falls and broke his hip last night so he has also been taken off. When they went into his cabin to pack up it looked like the devil possessed lived there. There were hundreds of pieces of paper, scraps with mad tirades scribbled everywhere. I blame the ship, they should have taken him off the ship months ago as he was a danger to himself and others. He already fell the night before but these incidents all stem from alcohol. I told the GSM that he had sneaked alcohol onboard and if they had dealt with him sooner then he would not have broken his hip on the ship.

The same goes for Matt’s tour. It is just about to finish so I will be able to give you a full update on the highlights and lowlights of how it went.
 
Matt’s new album came out to coincide with the tour. “A Father’s Legacy’ is the first album since “If He Could See Me Now” which was in 2007 and “Dancing With His Father’ in 2010. Matt’s doing the album in the style of dad in terms of arrangements.

Fourth Blue Monday
Didn’t We
For Once in My Life
Georgia on My Mind
Let Me Sing
One Morning in May
Gonna Build a Mountain
One Voice
You’ve Got Possibilities
So Little Time
This is the Life
Wonderful World
On Days Like These
You Made Me So Very Happy
Yesterday When I Was Young

Just so you know Jasmine records issued an erroneously titled "Complete Recordings 1955 - 1962" set by dad on 9th December. This in all likelihood steals all Richard Moore’s remasters, as this record company doesn’t have the rights to any of the original masters. Certainly, they don’t have the masters from Decca, Love is the Same Anywhere or The Complete Singles Collection.

This is either a substandard release or they have taken our masters for their own gain. There is never any finesse or research taken. They have listed the Parade of the Pops LP tracks as BBC Transcriptions. Where they pulled that from I don’t know as they are EMI tracks recorded at Abbey Road and have nothing to do with the BBC apart from being the same name as the radio show.

Strange Lady took us years to get hold of and Richard lovingly worked on the disc to give it its best possible treatment. Jasmine can’t have got the masters anywhere else so I urge you not to buy this product. I’m so fed up with these fly-by-night companies coming out of the woodwork to make a buck off other people’s work.

I’ve been working on a new project for the last 21 months and all being equal the book will be ready to go to print in April or May so I have it ready for the Celebrity cruise season.  The working title is ‘The Port Guide for Mere Mortals’ and includes a ‘Mobility Challenged’ section which is something sadly missing from other guides.

The first edition includes Norway and Europe and I’m relying on all of you to let me have any recommendations of shops, eateries, tours and the places that have impressed you Even if you have a valuable tip I want to hear it , you might know the best places for duty free and if anyone has issues with their mobility please share your stories with me. It could be that you need to tell me a place to avoid and that is equally important. This project is important so if you have any suggestions of things to include please email me at michele@mattmonro.com. Maybe you have a great title for the book then please don’t be shy, everything is valuable and you’ll be helping future travelers.

 

Cruise Dates 2017
18 June - 2 July - Celebrity Eclipse
2 July - 16 July - Celebrity Eclipse
16 July - 30 July - Celebrity Eclipse
30 July - 13 August - Celebrity Eclipse
13 August - 26 August - Celebrity Eclipse
26 August - 3 September - Celebrity Eclipse
3 September - 17 September - Celebrity Eclipse
17 September - 21 September - Celebrity Eclipse
28 September - 8 October - Celebrity Eclipse
8 October - 18 October - Celebrity Eclipse
18 October - 28 October - Celebrity Eclipse

I’ve been writing a travel blog like I did in 2012 and have uploaded some pictures and video footage onto my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/michelemonro every time was in a port with an Internet connection.

Don’t forget to check out our Spotlight feature this month, I know so many of you enjoy them. This month we look in on the ever popular Winifred Atwell

Check out the ‘Rough Guide to mattmonro.com’, which is available towards the bottom of the Homepage. If you don’t know how to access certain areas of the site or in fact are unaware of new areas, this guide will explain how easy this website is to get around, once you know how.

There is also another information box “How to Use the Forum’. I know a lot of people have been tempted to join in on some of our conversations but are slightly nervous about doing so. For that reason, I have printed step-by-step instructions of how to access it. It really does only take a few minutes.

Whatever the coming year holds, suffice to say that I shall be plugging Matt Monro’s music at every opportunity.  That is the wonderful thing about working the ships, it gives me a brand new audience each time and if then, a small percentage go home a fan, then it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the Bay of Biscay!!!!

Until next month take care of yourselves and don’t forget to check my travel blog out at Facebook.co.uk/MichleMonro. see you all again in May.

Warmest to you and yours

Michele

 

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