Thursday, 31 May 2007

Princesa Marissa cruise - Embarkation

We booked on the Salamis Glory for a two night cruise to Egypt, but a few days before, this ship developed a problem and we were switched to the Princesa Marissa by the tour agent which was a shame as we'd done our homework on both ships and the Salamis Glory being a true cruise ship looked to be by far the better ship than the converted ferry we ended up on, having both more room per passenger, more crew per passenger and it also had a swimming pool. The other bad point about this switch was that everyone was now trying to get on the one ship which meant it was at full capacity.
Embarkation, it has to be said was a complete nightmare, some of it unavoidable but some of it most definitely due to bad organisation. The coach pick up was only about 20 minutes late, but once we got to the port at a little after 1pm for a 3pm departure we were told that the ship was delayed by an hour so we were all rather crowded in a hot departure lounge for ages. Once the boarding was called, a large queue formed instantly for the security check. This moved slowly and would not have been much of a problem but for, as we neared the front, an anouncment in greek that had the other have of those waiting up out of their seats and swarming for the security checkpoint as if the building were about to colapse. So it turned into every man for himself, elbowing your way forward until finally you got though to..... another holding area! Here we waited another ten minutes or so before they let us walk to the boat.... to wait again on the dockside, and then into the diesal smelling car deck to wait for ages in a long queue that snaked up the stairs to reception. Most people were already pretty fed up by his point so many declined the offer to have your smiling photo taken with a mock up captain as you boarded. We waited for ages as this queue crawled up he stairs to the reception where the reason became apparant as they had just one person checking in all the passengers even though there was about a dozen or so other staff staning about waiting to show you to cabins. Once checked one of these crewman showed us to our cabin but then walked us straight past it to yet another desk where we waited yet again. At this point several people (including myself I must admit) were heard to utter, "Oh for f*** sake, you have to be taking the piss!". At this desk we were told bruskly that our dinner slot was at nine, and were then left wondering if we had to do anything else. After a few moments our crewman got the idea that we needed some explanation and got us to follow him back to the room and finally gave us our key. Off to the bar then to get a 'count to ten and calm down' beer as we waited another hour our so until we got underway at about 5pm.

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