The Voyage of the Damned

Let the roasting begin…

If you follow me on Twitter then you will know that I am a pariah amongst other cruisers…Now I am a pariah for a variety of reasons. But the most popular reason to shun me is my hatred for a certain cruise line. Now if you are very good and you keep up with my all social media activity then you will know who this is. But during this story time we are not going to name names; encase they sue my skinny butt.

I know some of you (you know who you are) have been dying to hear this story. So grab a cuppa and make yourself comfortable. The time has finally come!

The people…

We picked this cruise line because they are a sister cruise line of one of my absolute favourites in the industry. But this cruise line could not have been further from the impeccable service we normally receive. Quite frankly, we should have realised that when we showed up to a cruise terminal full of chavs!

Now I am a self-confessed snob! So if you are thinking well isn’t she up herself! Then the answer is: Yes I am, just a little bit. Certainly enough to know that chavs are not my people! And this cruise terminal was 50% chav and 50% coffin dodger – I stuck out like a sore thumb simply because I wasn’t parading around on my Madge scooter, wearing a leopard print tracksuit, with skin like an old leather handbag. Clientele you left a lot to be desired.

The cleanliness…

The next flaw was that it was DIRTY, not a little bit unclean actually rancid. Normally you embark and everything is gleaming and you feel like you must have transcended to heaven. Not this time my friend, not this time! The pool deck was covered in used towels and ash since people just appeared to smoke wherever they liked. There was scaffolding up against a wall and paint had dripped all over the deck. And things did not get any better when it was announced that our staterooms were open…There was chocolate all over the countertops (or at least we hope that sticky brown substance was chocolate) and someone else’s dirty laundry had been left in our wardrobe.

The apparent lack of safety…

The muster drill was actually laughable! They didn’t scan cards on entry or exit…God knows how they knew if we attended. Maybe they had just decided to screw international maritime law and the safety of life at sea. Clearly, on this cruise line, it was every man for himself…And let me tell you something not every man was going to survive.

I soon established that life on this cruise was going to be interesting and it certainly wasn’t because of the entertainment! Crossing the Bay of Biscay or BOB as us cruisers call it, is always choppy. Not I need to sleep in my life vest choppy but certainly, there is some motion in the ocean. Well on this cruise line that motion in the ocean was increased tenfold by the Captain apparently not knowing how to turn his stabilisers on (A frequent cruiser on this line did tell us that: They don’t turn the stabilisers on because it costs money) #cheap

The weather…

The weather on cruises is entirely an act of God and God well he hated us that fortnight because it poured down solidly for the first six days. Now, this wouldn’t have been so bad if there were good entertainment and good food. Alas, daytime entertainment did not seem to exist. Entertainment, in general, was an odd affair, when it appeared it was rather low rent with deck parties resembling a Haven holiday park. Needless to say, when you walked around the ship there was a lot of old people napping in public areas…Much like God’s waiting room at sea. So evidently they were not thrilled by the meagre offerings either. And the food…Well, even the thought of the food makes me do a mini-sick in my mouth.

The food…

Never before had I got to land and bought snacks because ship food was so dreadful. In fact, until I got on this cruise I had no idea that potatoes could come from a tin. Tinned potatoes and liver in the dining room, anyone!? YUMMY! Avoiding the Main Dining Room in the hope of it getting better? Yeah, that won’t help! Since the buffet food was freezing. Desert instead? Nope, everywhere aboard seemed incapable of producing a decent cake. When you claim to be a British cruise line and you fail at afternoon tea then worry for yourself. Plus, when we eventually found the sun in Rome we discovered that you had to pay for ice-cream. Come on guys, ice-cream is a basic human right!

The staff…

The staff, one word, MISERABLE. I know contracts are long, I know that they miss home and I am always lovely to the staff for this exact reason. But the staff of this ship were rude. Unlike on other lines, I have been on where the majority of the staff are Pilipino; the majority of this staff were Indian and it seemed there were some cultural gaps they were not willing to breach. If I asked a question they would answer my Dad…Same thing happened with my Mum, she asked a question they would answer Dad. Yes, equality did happen please stop treating us as if we are second rate citizens. I know in some cultures women are subservient but I’m western and we are equals so ANSWER ME.

Chav life…

We came and went from a number of ports. In which the passengers seemed unable to behave and I constantly dreaded having to get back on the ship. It was the first (and hopefully last) ship that did not feel like home. As we sailed towards hell on a voyage that seemed to never end, we discovered that on this ship there was only one place to find out the ship’s gossip. The bag wash! Or as the American’s who read this blog would say the laundromat. The laundry rooms on this particular line were free, which for some unknown reason made them into a social destination.

When two passengers and their partners were put off the ship for fighting each other in the bag wash. Then ironically the gossip spread as people did the laundry. When we had to make an emergency call to Cartagena to medivac someone off the ship. Then her daughter could be found crying her eyes out in the bag wash. It appeared to be the hub of the floating council estate/old peoples home I had found myself on. The whole concept was a novelty that was somewhat amusing. But I suppose I had to find something to laugh at or I would have gone insane.

Nursing home life…

The ancient age of the clientele continued to show even after we medivac’d that person off. There were ambulances waiting at every port, emergency calls for medical staff blared over the ship tannoy at least once a day and in the bag wash, we even heard a scandalous story about how a woman ran over a dead person with her Madge scooter. You may think I am kidding, I am not! One day there was a call for immediate medical assistance at the forward stairs – Turns out some poor human had dropped down dead of a cardiac arrest. The staff naturally cordoned off the stairs for this person’s dignity but you will always get one human who thinks they are exempt from the rules because they have paid. So, she rode her Madge scooter across the landing and across this dead person’s face.

The Plague…

As we approached our last port of call in Cadiz, Spain we thought it was nearly over. It couldn’t get worse, right!? WRONG! As we approached Cadiz our Captain announced that the ship had the dreaded cruise ship plague aka Norovirus. The captain is not required to tell the passengers this until at least 10% of the passengers are infected…As a ship with a capacity of 3,597 then that meant at least 359 people were already in their cabins hugging the toilet. That woman we medivac’d off a few days ago, well, that was because she had Norovirus.

Not that an outbreak on a ship this filthy was at all surprising. They began what they called their sanitation procedures which boiled down to walking around with a bucket to look as if they were doing something. No real action was taken. I say this with confidence because when a passenger threw up on their table in the main dining room; it was merely covered with a table cloth and the people around them were left seated to continue with their meal. Real hygienic!

After Cadiz, all we had to do was make it back to Southampton without catching the dreaded disease. You would walk up and down the corridors, see medical staff in white forensic over suits and pray that you made it back to England without becoming one of the plague bearers. A task that was easier said than done when you remember my above comment about the Captain apparently not knowing how to turn his stabilisers on. As we were thrown across the Atlantic in 15 to 20-foot seas. It was so rough then even the crew professed to being sick from the motion.

But even with half a ship throwing up violently from the black death and half a ship throwing up violently from the tempest that raged outside, still, the stabilisers did not make an appearance. Do you have any idea how hard it is to walk down the stairs in a swell that bad without touching the bannisters!? Of course, you couldn’t touch the bannisters nor could you touch the lift buttons in case you fell victim to the plague. On that voyage I learnt: You go down the stairs at the speed the ship wants you to go down the stairs. If that ship tilts then your options are run or fall.

Never Again!

Perhaps the hilarious part of this whole ordeal was that: They were selling the cruise immediately after ours at a heavily discounted price and people were actually choosing to stay on. They had evidently gone around the bend! Yes, it goes to the Caribbean but you have to stay on this plague ridden vessel and cross the Atlantic all over again. Why would you pay anyone for that? Quite frankly, they could have offered me millions of pounds to stay on and I still would have run for the hills. (And that is saying something considering how much I hate to run)

I know other people worship this Cruise Line as if they are the God’s of the cruise industry. But as far as I’m concerned they can keep them! I will remain at least ten feet away at all times. Just in case I catch the plague or poverty! Neither are really on my to-do list.

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