Columbus Cruise Review by maggymog
- Sail Date: December 2018
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
The first port was Amsterdam to collect passengers from Belgium and Germany. As we got off the ship crew members were busy painting out the scrapes and scratches all along the side of the ship. Apparently on the previous cruise an error of judgement was made by the Norwegian pilot resulting in some of the propeller blades being damaged. This information was not relayed to the passengers as the captain seemed not to have any communication skills throughout the voyage, and became common knowledge by talking to other crew members. The captain did find his voice the following day by saying that the safety of his passengers, crew and ship was paramount and as the repairs could not be done at Dover we would need to have to go straight to Tenerife for the repairs which would take longer to get to so Gibraltar was cancelled and £50 per cabin compensation was paid.Bearing in mind that this meant five days at sea for the festivities there were not enough places for all the passengers to sit down during the daytime.Christmas Day was lovely with a carol concert in the atrium and excellent food (no problem with the food at all). Although there was an altercation in the buffet restaurant at breakfast (in full view of some passengers, me included) between a supervisor and a kitchen worker.
After Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria was supposed to be the highlight of the cruise - New Year's Eve in Funchal, Madeira. Despite the weather being very wet and the seas rough, the captain allowed all the excursions and the walk off passengers to get into the tenders to go ashore. Fortunately we did not go ashore as we were in Madeira last September. Several of the other ships, including the P&O Queen Victoria who were also anchored in the bay, decided that it was too dangerous to go ashore. The result for our passengers was that they were abandoned on shore with no food, drink or shelter as the rain lashed down because it was not safe to try to get back to the ship. The last tender that tried to get to the platform of the ship dipped down with the wave action and smashed its roof under the platform. Several of these passengers had become unwell with some suffering cuts, bruising and fractures. There were 500 passengers abandoned ashore who had to buy bin bags to try to keep dry and some managed to shelter in a circus tent!
The last of the passengers made it back at 10.30 pm and no provision was made for them to get anything to eat (lack of communication again). The passengers who remained on the ship had champagne at midnight on the sodden upper deck which had artificial grass on it - a bit like walking on sponge! The fireworks were amazing but could not be enjoyed as we expected. Whilst the ship was at anchor (and spinning round) two tugs with strong ropes had to be deployed on both sides of the ship to try to keep it stable.
After stopping at Lisbon we had two days at sea across the Bay of Biscay which was also rather rough resulting in the open decks being out of bounds. Disembarkation at Tilbury was chaotic with people having to sit on the stairs to await 'express disembarkation'. The final straw was sitting in the atrium and listening to the message that a passenger had died in their cabin.
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