Talk about a lifeline: When Cruise Critic member Wehwalt found himself locked out on the balcony of his Ruby Princess bow cabin, he had no one to call.
Shouting did no good, nor did pounding on the partitions that separated him from his neighbors. He even stepped over his balcony railing onto a public open deck, but found no help or emergency phone. Doors were locked and the wind was picking up.
Luckily, he had his laptop with him on his balcony – and an Internet package. So he posted a distress signal on Cruise Critic:
“Sorry about this but either my cabin attendant locked my balcony door when he turned down my cabin or its stuck but I’m in L107 and can’t attract a response by shouting,” he wrote. “I’m not in any distress, but would like to be let in. Thanks all. Sorry to be a bother. Will stay online.”
A phalanx of fellow forum members came to his aide. Shootingstar07 got on the phone with “Joanne” at Princess, who thought the call might be a hoax until she read the thread for herself. Other members sent emails to Princess, while others simply tried to keep Wehwalt’s spirits up while he waited.
“Will stay with you until you are rescued, which should be soon if they are contacting the ship. Hang tight, all will be fine!” bronxgirl wrote.
The thread quickly attracted more Cruise Critic readers, who expressed their own fears about being trapped on balconies. “Maybe we should add an air horn to our packing list!” wrote 5326jan. “Hang part of the furniture over the balcony (and be sure to hold it,” suggested Loonbeam. “Their camera scans will see it eventually.”
In the end, Wehwalt was able to get out on his own by attracting the attention of someone on the bridge, who sent down security. His rescue inspired “huzzahs” from members, who noted the incident brought out the best in community spirit.
“Amazing what can be done in the year of 2014, via the internet, and Cruise Critic members reaching out to Princess, to make sure that one of our own, who is in distress,” nubrrick posted. “Being locked out from your cabin is a very stressful situation, so my heart goes out to everyone that headed his call, and what a great story to tell over cocktails!”
“Cruise Critic rocks! Where else can you find so many strangers willing to help you?” added CruisingJs.