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P&O are changing the itineraries for cruises A212 on Azura and D206 on Adonia. I first got this information from a passenger who was contacted by P&O. He was offered the chance to cancel his cruise and he has done so, with a full refund. Since then P&O have posted a link to a page on their website that gives the changed details for both A212 and D206.

A212 (Azura) will be going to Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Copenhagen & Goteborg; D206 will be heading to Dublin, then Iceland, the Faroes, Scotland and Zeebrugge. If the strike ends they will try to reinstate Norwegian ports.

There’s no mention in the P&O page about refunds. However this does appear to be an issue. I have accounts from several people with differing accounts. A couple of them have been offered refunds, while the other one was told it’s ‘Force Majeure’ so refunds aren’t being given. More details in the ‘comments’ below.

Comment: I think P&O are in a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” situation here. Now that they’ve changed the itineraries for these two cruises they’ve got a lot of unhappy customers. I do understand the disappointment that people are feeling; I know I would be in that situation as well. Sod’s law says that by mid-week the strike will be over. That will probably be too late for Azura to get there (except perhaps Oslo), while Adonia will be well on the way to Iceland by then. Of course, if P&O had decided to keep to the published itineraries then sod’s law equally says that the strike would continue, the ships would be reduced to going round in circles of the Norwegian coast, and everyone would be saying that P&O should have arranged something different. So they can’t win. And I don’t think the weather is going to help, either.

Update (ate afternoon): I’ve had another thought as well. A number of people are commenting/complaining that they haven’t been officially contacted by mid-afternoon. Well, there are a lot of passengers to contact; and this weekend is probably the worst day possible for P&O to try to get hold of additional people to start hitting the phones. It’s the start of the longest, biggest public holiday in the UK for a decade, and lots of Carnival UK’s staff will be leaving for their own holidays. It must be very hard for P&O to get hold of extra bodies today.

I’d like to get to the bottom of the ‘refund’ issue, however. At the moment it does seem from the comments I’ve received that some passengers are able to cancel and get refunds while some apparently are being told that they can’t.

33 Responses to “Norwegian Pilots strike – P&O changing itineraries”

  1. martin says:

    I’m due to sail on Azura tomorrow and have just had a call from P&O – they are saying it is ‘force majeure’ so as it’s out of their control they will not offer any compensation or a refund, but did give the option of changing to a different cruise on a different date, subject to availability. The only refunds they will give is for excursions already booked and paid for.

    • Tom says:

      Martin

      I’m sorry to hear that. I’m trying to get details from the other passenger as to how they got the refund.

    • Tom says:

      Here’s what I’ve just heard from the other passenger:

      “I just asked if i could have a refund and they said yes. Email came through within 5 mins of call ending. I must have been one of the early calls and very lucky.”

    • Tom says:

      And a comment from another passenger:
      “P&O offered me a refund, or to swap the cost of the cruise over to a new booking. No OBC etc. being offered and they say most people accepting the new itinerary”.

  2. […] been released for A212 & D206. Please see this P&O webpage for itinerary details, and this later page in this blog for discussion of the changes and issues […]

  3. martin k says:

    im on the azura cruise A212 they offered a full refund but no upgrades, on board spend or anything like that, i got the impression that they were aware that its half term and knew most people couldnt go at another time. i phoned customer service twice one women told me they had a lot of cancellations and another said they had only a few. would i have paid this amount of money for this itinerary, no i dont think so but im still going. ps the car parking company at southampton i am told are not doing refunds?

  4. I have spoken with customer services and when i asked them why we were not earlier notified of then the strike had started, they put the phone down on me!
    I think the least we can expect is to not have to pay the excursion fee to get into Bruges etc, since no onboard credit is being offered.
    I am furious and disappointed with p&pl customer services as we have been long standing customers.

  5. stephen says:

    having just heard the news, and we are due to sail tomorrow on the Azura, I have been told by customer services that we have tow options…..either cancel with a fll refund, book an alterntive on another date or, travel to places that we would not have chosen……! Yes, ita bit of a “rock and a hard place”….we are self employed so cannot at, the 11th hour suddenly arrange work and P & O are not offering to compenstae us for loss of earnings…… I a not surprised so many are cancelling…..! We will need to consider our position….verty unhappy…..!

  6. Tanya Summerfield says:

    We were due to go on Azura tomorrow , have been given full refund but not compensation . Unfortunately I work in school do cannot go any other time . We are so dissapointed . We couldn’t justify spending that much cash to go to places that we don’t really want to visit. . We’ve been to Brugge before and not sure where you visit from Rotterdam . Why didn’t they tell us earlier 4 pm was too late . Even the dog is already at the kennels .

  7. Tricia Huggins says:

    Am self employed and it has taken a logistical nightmare to get even one week off so have no choice but to accept the new itinerary. Not particularly happy but need a holiday so will have to make the most of it.

  8. sarah pook says:

    We are travelling with a group of friends and due to go on the Azura tomorrow, we are unable/unwilling to cancel as one of the party has flown from abroad to join us on this holiday. I am very unhappy that we are having to go to places we don’t want to visit and are not being offered any form of compensation. We booked to go to the Norwegian Fiords, not Zeebrugge! Customer services were a joke.

  9. We (4 of us) are also departing on the Azura A212 and although we are very disappointed not to be going on the planned trip to the fjords, we understand this is not of P and Os making. However, they could at least give passengers an On Board Credit increase, especially as they will no doubt get more people staying on board spending more money on their accounts. We are still going as all holidays from work are booked etc.

    • Tom says:

      To Brian, Sarah Pook, and all the others who are still going: first, I hope, you have a good cruise. I haven’t been on Azura but I’ve cruised on sister-ship Ventura several times so I know Azura is a fine ship. I hope the destinations aren’t too disappointing. Yes, I’d be a bit reluctant to go to Zeebrugge again, but Rotterdam is good, and Copenhagen! – look out for Sarah Lund.

      And who knows – if the strike is settled you may get to Norway yet.

  10. David Anderson says:

    We had text from P&O at 4pm with changed itinery. Phoned customer service, we were told the was no compensation or extra onboard spend. We could get a full refund or a different cruise. We took the full refund as we paid a lot of money for a balcony cabin to get the view of the fjords not a container port in holland. Very dissapointed in P&O customer care. Still can’t understand why they left it so late to tell everybody as the strikes been on for a week.

    • Tom says:

      I think if they’d rearranged the itinerary earlier in the week, and then the dispute had been settled, they’d have been criticised for jumping the gun. Also, the strike was only extended from Oslo on the 30th. I don’t blame P&O for waiting until the last minute before making the call. But I do understand everyone’s disappointment and frustration.

  11. Andrea says:

    We too were due on the Azura tomorrow not get the phone message until came home from work at 6pm ,why not inform us earlier? gutted did’nt pay to go to the places they.ve changed to,so we cancelled,looks like we will be doin diy now nest week

    • Tom says:

      To be fair, I think P&O have been hitting the phones all day – I read the first post in a forum at 8:30 this morning from someone who’d already been contacted. Also it’s the day before a big B/H. But I do understand your disappointment and frustration.

  12. spleenspitter says:

    “P&O are dammed if they do, dammed if they don’t”?! What nonsense! Surely a responsible organisation would have some form of comparable contingency plan itinerary in place? Especially as strikes were looming. To cobble together a fairly pedestrian jumble of locations in place of a very specific itinerary is poor and unprofessional planning on P&Os part.
    There are lot’s of coherent 7 night itineraries available, (some even around the same price as the Norway cruise!), but I guess it’s easier to arrange a ‘pick and mix’.
    Then to contact passengers the day before – and not even ensure all of them have been reached (my 70 year old parents had no communication until I told them yesterday evening following a text I received at 4pm) is unforgiveable.
    P&O cruises claim to deliver “a holiday of a lifetime, every time”. I for one will be taking this up with advertising standards.
    Tom, how you can even begin to make excuses for a business that is clearly stuck in the past when it comes to technology, customer service and planning is beyond me. Your comments about them “hitting the phones all day” and struggling with staffing before a big Bank Holiday! Like many of the posts above I’m self employed and suspect that, like me, many of those posting will have been working long after every bu**er at P&O had headed home. The only excuses P&O really have for the situation are greed, complacency and ignorance.

  13. Sara says:

    Just read that strike is over.Will Azura now return to original itinerary? Can’t get in touch with P&O.

    • Tom says:

      Sara – where did you read this? I had a look earlier this morning but didn’t see any indication of progress. But I could have looked in the wrong places, of course.

      • Tricia Huggins says:

        Just had a text from P & O that strike is lifted and original itinerary back on. Tjhere is a god!!

      • Tricia Huggins says:

        Just had another text from P & O to say that departure delayed until 8pm to allow for people to travel to Southampton

      • Sara says:

        Found it on cruises.co.uk. Thank goodness we didn’t cancel!

  14. Sheila says:

    p & o customers were luckier than passengers on board Olsen’s Balmorel which sailed on the 29th May. initally we were told that we would arrive in Bergen late but the announcement later was to the effect that the fjords cruise was cancelled and as it was a case of Force Majeure there would be no compensation. Understandably many passengers were furious especially when the amended itinerary was announced. later an offer of 50% off list price of a cruise to the fjorde this year or next was made, if booked by the end of July. We feel that force majeure cannot apply here since the probability of the strike spreading was known before we sailed. We think Olsen cynically waited until after we sailed to avoid the possibility of having to refund in full. As it all depends on the definition of force majeure we haven’t decided what to do yet, and await a full response from their customer services. the cruise was an unhappy one for many people since almost the only topic of conversation was disappointment and anger at the company who handled the situation incredibly badly.

    • Tom says:

      Sheila: thank you for your comment, and I’m sorry that your cruise was spoiled. I did spot that Balmoral headed off in an easterly direction right.

      I’ll need to read the T&Cs (for both Fred Olsen and P&O) to see what they say about ‘Force Majeure’.

  15. Jack Dawes says:

    Hi Tom,
    I’ve been closely following the comments regarding the Norway strike. On an earlern page there was a comment from a Patsy Higgins who stated she was cruising with P&O and they contacted her and offered her a full refund. Is it possible to find out the sailing date of the cruise she was going on? I was on the Balmoral and in the Captain’s 5pm speech on Wednesday 30th, he was quick to say at the end that it was a “Force Majeure”. I have made several enquiries and from replies it would appear that the strike was first mooted on 21st of May and escalated on 28th May. My querie is therefore if the cruise operators knew of the strike, how can a Force Majeure be enforced ??
    Regards
    Jack

    • Sheila says:

      We are asking the same question of Fred Olsen but having written to them on the ship on the 31st May, then again on the 11th June, all we have had in response is a letter confirming receipt of our 2nd letter and saying they will respond but it might be some time… So we rang their customer services dept who said they had no record of our first letter (which was acknowledged on the ship) even though we had been told that our complaint would be dealt with promptly on our return to the UK. It is now a month and we are even more annoyed, now mainly because of their cavalier attitude to their customers. The prospect of our sailing with them again is becoming remote. Their management is a shambles and we now are looking very seriously at using the small claims court on the basis that they had no right to invoke force majeure when changing the itinerary, and sailed in spite of knowing they would be unable to enter Norway,in order to avoid having to refund those who wished to cancel.
      P & O passengers rejoice, at least they made an effort to please their customers.

    • Tom says:

      Jack:

      Patsy’s cruise must have been starting on either 2 June (A212, Azura) or 3 June (D216, Adonia). I wrote this blog entry on 1 June which was the date when P&O announced (via their Facebook page) that the itineraries for these cruises had been changed. I’m pretty sure that those were the only cruises for which P&O changed the whole itinerary (and of course these were changed back on 2 June). Other ships that were affected – Arcadia? – were already on their cruises and made day-by-day changes, but there was no official ‘new itinerary’ announcement for them.

  16. jacqueline keen says:

    I sailed on the Balmoral and have received a full refund. Force Mejeure is unforseen, or unforseeable circumstances, which can hardly apply to the FOCLs’ Balmoral trip to Norway 29th May, as it was foreseeable.

    • Rob says:

      Please see our comments, can you please advise how you managed to get a full refund as we are not getting anywhere! Thanks

  17. Sheila says:

    We are very pleased to hear that, although with the same argument we are getting nowhere with FO.
    Would be good to know how Jacqueline achieved this result!

  18. Rob says:

    Yes, we were also on the Balmoral. My Mother in law came with us after travelling from Holland for a once in a lifetime trip. Only to be rerouted to Germany (that of course is next to Holland) for a day at sea spent in a lock and onto Wallender a sleepy,retirement German town ! with trees trees and more trees!! She could have stayed at home for that!!!
    We have written to Fred Olsen twice now and received a reply today, totally ignoring our point i.e they already knew before they sailed! they have admitted this at therefore this cannot be treated as “Force Mejeure” as it was foreseeable. They have said that they are sticking to their T&Cs that state they can change the journey when they wish!!!!. We are unsure where to go next, ABTA, or small claims? can anyone suggest anything to get results as my Mother in law is gutted and been in tears since returning! We feel bad as we suggested Fred Olsen and she wanted to sail via P&O! Regards
    Rob

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