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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-29-2009, 03:08 PM
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Hi there,

My fiance and I took a special vacation and decided to go for a cruise onboard Silver Wind, one of Silversea's fleet, on Oct. 1-8. The itinerary was: Nice, Livorno, Rome (civitavecchia), Sorrento, at sea, Heraklion (Crete), Mykonos, and Athens.

The port of call on Oct. 7 was Mykonos. During the farewell reception in the evening of Oct. 6, the captain said the next day would be a challenge day because there would be many large ships at the port. It turned out it didn't matter at all because in the morning of Oct. 7, he announced that it was too windy for the ship to anchor at Mykonos and he decided to skip Mykonos. Instead, we sailed for almost the entire day and went directly to Athens. By the time we were allowed to get to shore, it was 4:30 in the afternoon. We docked at the port overnight and got off the next morning.

Needless to say we were very disappointed. So were some other passengers. Afterwards, I expressed to Silversea's client relations department how we felt. They wrote to me saying they regret my dissatisfaction, but "although Silversea would like to guarantee blue skies during all voyages," it's just impossible.

I am looking for some honest opinion:
(1) How often does skipping a port of call for weather reasons happen?
(2) Am I too sensitive or is the no-guarantee-of-blue-sky comment pure sarcastic?
(3) My travel agent told me that the ship should have at least tried to go to another port to make up for the cancellation. Is that right?

Silversea is suppose to be one of the top cruise lines but I am not sure this is top of the line cruise or top of the line service.
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:35 PM
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Welcome to cruise-chat.

Quote:
(1) How often does skipping a port of call for weather reasons happen?
It doesn't happen often but still it happens, and when it is for weather reasons, such as high winds making tendering ashore unsafe, the Captain has the duty to look out for passenger safety.

Quote:
(2) Am I too sensitive or is the no-guarantee-of-blue-sky comment pure sarcastic?
I think they were just trying to be upbeat. It certainly isn't worth stewing over.

Quote:
(3) My travel agent told me that the ship should have at least tried to go to another port to make up for the cancellation. Is that right?
No, that isn't something the ship can easily do. You don't just show up at an alternate port. Your cruise tried to anchor at Mykonos but they couldn't. Too late to look for a port-of-opportunity. Typically an alternate port needs at least 24 hours notice to see if they can accomodate the ship. Plus, what other ports would be close enough such that they didn't impact the ship's return run to Athens? It is not like you were on a private yacht that could put in anywhere for a port visit.

Quote:
Silversea is suppose to be one of the top cruise lines but I am not sure this is top of the line cruise or top of the line service.
Silversea *is* a highly rated line. So you missed one port and are ready to dismiss the cruise line and it's service? Seems a bit picky to me. Was the ship nice? Was the food good? Was the cabin, bar, and dining room service good?
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:49 PM
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I'm sorry your cruise didn't go exactly as planned, but that is just the nature of cruising, in fact, of travel in general. Wind and bad weather don't abate for the top cruise lines--it can affect any line, any ship.

To answer your questions:

1. I won't say it happens frequently; but you have to keep in mine that the safety of the passengers and crew is of paramount importance. You didn't say if you were going to dock or tender in. Skipping a port because it is to windy or the seas to rough to tender safely is rather common. And there have been several incidents just recently of cruise ships sustaining damage while trying to dock or leave port in high winds.

2. Yes, there is a tinge of sarcasm in the statement as quoted; but that dosen't change the truth of the matter: NOBODY can gurantee the weather. Personally, it dosen't offend me at all.

3.Yes, that is true. How to you know that the Captain didn't make every effort to arrange a stop at another port? My guess is that he probably did just that. You have to understand the myriad cirsumstances and decisions that go into makeing a last minute port substitution like that. Time, distance, weather, customs, local laws, port traffic, all must be taken into account. A cruise ship can't just show up and say, "you got a spot for us?" (and yes, there was more than a little sarcasm in that statement :-))

Silversea IS top of the line, and even though it may not have felt like top of the line service, I'm pretty sure it was.
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:55 PM
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And no, Dave and I DID NOT compare notes before we posted; so you know you're getting the straight poop.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:38 PM
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Welcome to cruise-chat. My answers to your questions are the same as Dave's and f-mattox's, so I'll spare you that. Instead, I'll attach a link from a blog maintained by our Captain during our July cruise to the British Isles in which he explains why we had to miss one of our ports. Click here. As you can see, these decisions are not made lightly and the safety of the passengers is paramount.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:27 AM
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Have you ever had to change your plans because of the weather? Weather happens. We all want the perfect vacation but sometimes it does not happen. I think it bother new cruisers more than those who have cruised a few times.
Sorry it happened, but be thankful the Captain was safe.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:48 AM
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All I can do is say exactly what everyone else has. Except, I'd like to welcome you to our board, too Yes, weather happens. Yes, we have missed some ports due to weather. Yes, there was a little sarcasm in the reply. I think your travel agent was trying to pass blame. If there is another port available, customs and immigration can be dispatched, the vessel can get cleared, the government agencies give their blessings, dock space is available, etc., etc., then they will try to substitute a port for the one you lost. To me, an extra sea day of being pampered, I think I'd be a very happy camper. How lucky you are to have been able to sail such an upscale ship. How wonderful to have been able to spend that extra time with your loved one. Congratulations on your up-coming wedding, too! As an old married lady, just want to warn you, marriage isn't always smooth sailing, either. Once in a while you might have some stormy weather. However, it is all worth it in the end

I'm not trying to diminish your disappointment because I know you were looking forward to seeing the port. We're just trying to be honest, it does happen. Don't give up cruising, it's a wonderful way to spend your vacation. Here's hoping your next one will have great weather! Best wishes!
 
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