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Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby khkate » 17 Feb 2020 18:11

This is a compilation of my Facebook posts for our recent mini cruise on Spirit of Discovery.

Wednesday 12th Feb – Southampton: Good evening all from Spirit of Discovery in Southampton. What a day, although thankfully the journey to the port was smooth. Just a quick post. We are staying firmly attached to the berth all night. Muster drill at 0900, depart at 1000 and the pilot that takes us out will stay on board for the duration of the cruise. We were supposed to be going to Rouen but too much water in the river to get us under one of the bridges. Originally, the alternative was going to be Le Havre but due to port strike action, we may not have been able to depart. So instead tomorrow we do coastal cruising and arrive in Honfleur just after midnight on Friday. We will spend at least 24 hours there and then back to Southampton. Anyway, time for sleeps, so bonne nuit.

Thursday 13th February – At Sea: Good morning all from Spirit of Discovery in Southampton. Just had breakfast, will have short wander, then lifeboat drill before they finally release our bits of string and let us sail. Weather was wet and windy last night, even tied up, we were trembling a bit. Coastal scenic cruising apparently before we head to Honfleur (assume that's why pilot is staying on). Catch up with you later.

Good afternoon from Spirit of Discovery in Southampton Waters, but on the move. Muster drill was finally held at 0930 (to allow people to eat their breakfast in comfort). then there was a couple of disembarkations, one of them being a medical from cabin next door to us. So, we didn't finally depart the port until about 1100. However, we are now up by Nab Tower, finding some open seas and we will turn left and head along the coast up as far as Beachy Head, being about two miles off shore, so hoping we might get some nice photos. Luckily our cabin is on the port side. At sunset we will turn and gently weave our way across the shipping lanes and head towards Honfleur. However, because of tidal range, it has be a very early arrival in wee small hours whilst we are kipping.

No formal night tonight, so don't know if we will get one or not. There is a destinations speaker on - jack Wilson - but we didn’t attend his talk. I gather from people that did, that his talk was based on the ship being in Rouen (where is our flexible friend, Hazel).

Last night for dinner was open dining. We sat on a table for 6, one couple we have seen before on Pearl, the others were new to Saga but done P&O. Lunchtime in a table for 6. Two single ladies both new to Saga - one does a lot of Fred, the other does Princess and P&O. The other couple had done Saga but first time on Discovery. Catch up with you all later.

Good evening from Spirit of Discovery in the English Channel. Fell asleep after lunch and then played skittles. Cruise staff this trip are Phil and Edna. L came joint 3rd, quite a large crowd. Then went to cabin and made a cuppa and realised we were quite close to land with cliffs by Beachy Head. Stunning with rain, sun and rainbows, so got plenty of photos. Then turned to head west and join shipping lanes and aim for France. Sailing into setting sun, went up briefly to top deck to get a couple of shots. Now just changing for dinner, fixed table no 79. Be interesting to see where we are, who our dining companions may be. Elektra are the performers in Playhouse tonight. Little bit of lumpiness at present.

Final posting for today (Thursday) from Spirit of Discovery. Shared table with a lovely couple called Ken and Joan from Devon; amazing how much we had in common. Now watching Elektra on in-cabin tv. The earlier lumpy seas are now just gentle rocking. Clocks go forward one hour tonight. We now know we leave Honfleur at noon on Saturday 15th. Hope to pop ashore sometime tomorrow, weather looks quite reasonable. Good night until tomorrow - and thanks to those helping with my postings.

Fri 14th February – Honfleur: Good morning all from Spirit of Discovery on Valentine's Day in Honfleur. We apparently arrived at 0200. We both slept like logs being woken by our breakfast arriving at 0730. It had rained overnight, but is now dry but cloudy, 10-14 degrees but quite a strong wind. Harry has the sniffles but otherwise we are keeping ok. Played skittles again this morning - L won - then to Living Room for tea and cake. Will probably catch the shuttle into town this afternoon as sun is making an appearance. Watched Elektra last night, tonight is an Elton John tribute.

They made an announcement that crew cannot use shuttles to get to town, they must walk 20 minutes each way. No idea why, I think it’s unfair. Crew not happy either, most have decided to stay on board. (Later Captain Julian did announce that this was for the health and safety of the crew). Tomorrow is all aboard at 1130 with departure about noon. Tonight is optional for formal. Catch up later.

Good evening all from Spirit of Discovery still in Honfleur. Well weather turned quite sunny and warm this afternoon and we were all set to go out on the shuttle. Harry's cold had worsened, he is quite stuffed up and miserable (read grumpy). So, we stayed on board, but being on the sunny side of the ship, we were able to sit out on our balcony in tee shirts and with sun hats - never thought we'd be doing that this cruise. We both fell asleep with the warmth. Harry retreated indoors and fell asleep again. I soaked up a bit more sun. We took a walk to the rear of the ship so I could take some photos of the bridge. Then we went down to the Living Room for a coffee and to read. Viv from WLSC popped over for a chat, having recognised me. We then went back to the cabin to find a little present from Saga, some chocolates. Read and slept, now changing for dinner and its got quite cloudy out there now. That’s all folks until tomorrow.

We have joined the "confined to cabin" brigade. I am fine and had got dressed in my formal wear. Harry then went in the bathroom, next thing had the trots and was sick, so had to call out the nurse (who strangely enough is from Cape Town). He's had the injection and feels ok now. Just ordered dinner, clear soup and toast for him, beef burger and ice cream for me. Thank god for the balcony, help keep me sane tomorrow. If no further symptoms, we will be "released" tomorrow evening in time for dinner. We got our disembarkation letters this evening - tag 4 @ 0820 from Britannia lounge. Of course, that may change for us depending on H who is already asleep. Got a lovely apricot rose this evening. And they have extended our stay in Honfleur, now all aboard at 1530! And another box of chocolates just delivered.

Captain Julian just been on the blower. Marked increase of guests reporting with gastro symptoms in last 24 hours! Reiterated about partners of those affected must also stay in cabin until medical team gives all clear.Two things that he said that I thought "how do you cope with following them?" Don't touch handrails and don't touch lift buttons”
Apparently UK mainland has seen 26% increase in cases this year with about 35k known cases.He also mentioned about why crew were told not to use shuttles; to try and protect them for their personal safety. Well time to watch the show, so good night all.

Sat 15th February – Honfleur: Well good morning all from Spirit of Discovery and our delightful cabin. Lots of rain last night, but its dry this morning but cloudy and cool. Looks like there are a couple of coaches heading off somewhere.

Harry seems ok this morning, no more viral/gastric symptoms, but still stuffed up with cold. At least he was able to enjoy his breakfast of banana and toast a little bit. We are both up and dressed, and sitting comfortably, although I notice H is asleep again.We have our disembark letters (tag 4 @0820) and wait to see if that remains the same. We have a private transfer anyway, with the same driver as brought us down.

I watched the Elton John show via the tv last night. Started well, but he cracked a few jokes and sang songs of his own, that were pretty awful. It was interesting to note that people started leaving and I didn’t watch it all the way through either. He certainly looks like Elton but not sure if it was wig, disguise etc and for a couple of Elton songs, his voice was right also. However, his claims of Hollywood and Wembley appearances and shows, I have my doubts. So a fun-filled day ahead in our cabin. Some packing to tackle at some stage. Room service for lunch and then hopefully dinner will be in the GDR. Catch up with you all later.

Good afternoon from Spirit of Discovery having just departed Honfleur. Captain Julian has advised force 8 winds overnight, 4-5 metre swells, a bit of rocking n rolling and maybe even some corkscrewing. So we have done the majority of our packing, just left a few bits out in case we get released in time for dinner. Only 1.5 hours to go until the 24 hours is up, but we still have wait until we get a call or visit from the medical centre.

When confined to cabin, a man all dressed up in protective clothing brings your tray and there is a big notice on the tray to say " do not put your tray outside the door, we will come and get it when you have finished your meal". Well, we had lunch at 1230 and the tray is still here at 1645. Not seen anyone, whereas this morning cabin stewards, man to sanitise the cabin, room service. It’s a lonely existence.

We are due at Nab Tower tomorrow at 0400, when James (our Southampton pilot already on board) will lead us in. According to captain, good thing the pilot is with us as the winds forecast would prevent picking one up. Due alongside pier 101 at about 0700.

I'll do another post to let you know when we have been released, although it might be after we have had our grub!

Unlikely to post tomorrow morning, so hopefully everything will be back to normal by tomorrow evening.

Well Saga really know how to.piss one off! Quick enough to slam one into confinement and dead slow to.release. we should have had the all clear at 1745 (don’t forget we are on European time) and its now 1945, and no contact. This is despite ringing reception who were going to chase up progress. Captain Julian has been on the blower to say we are now at full speed ahead to get tied up in Southampton by 0100. So, things are shuddering a little, so decided better to opt for another room service meal. Wonder which will come first, dinner or a phone call from the nurse! Trying to get through to room service involved a 10-minute hold in a queue with piped music.

Not impressed with Saga and care of sick passengers. Heard/ seen nobody since 1230, apart from when I have made a phone call. We could be dead/dying for all they know. And that blessed lunch tray is still here too. Adding to my misery, I have now been sick (but probably for first time ever), could be seasickness. Typically, I was sick just as dinner arrived, so H is tucking in; I just can't face it. Nurse has already been, I've had the injection and we are back into confinement until 0800 tomorrow morning when everybody has to vacate cabins by.

However, because we are getting back to Southampton, I get slightly different instructions. Cases outside as normal, disembark as normal from assigned area and basically, they are not uninterested because we are getting off, not even the form to fill in to say what I had eaten for the last 3 days or where I had been. I did query that – and was told “not needed because you are getting off tomorrow”.

I rang reception to query about arrangements for breakfast. As we are still.in confinement, we can order room service and we should get a phone call tomorrow morning to release from the cabin by 0800. However, last cruise, they disembarked affected passengers first. It will be decided overnight how it will be done with announcements being made. Shambles all round plus different info from different people (it was a different nurse from the one H saw).

Sorry, further update as Captain J been back on blower. Southampton basically closed, so now we (and Oceana,) will spend night at sea with provisional arrival time at berth of noon, depending on weather!

Sun 16th February – Southampton: Good morning all from Spirit of Discovery, still in our delightful cabin and I believe we might now be in Southampton Waters. Bridge webcam shows a glimmer of land on the horizon, sideways looking from balcony just mist/fog. It was little lumpy overnight, but strangely up here, we experienced little movement of the ship, just lots of banging and crashing around us.

I had a pretty rough night until about 2300, being continually sick and could not get warm despite wearing long sleeved thermal vest and leggings. Finally managed some decent sleep from.midnight to about 0600, and then sipping some water. We had to order our breakfast from room service - I managed some dry toast. The medical centre rang at 0800, but as I had continued being sick, we have to stay in our cabin until our tag number is called to disembark.

John P has just been on the blower. The ship is due to be alongside at 1130, but they are not expecting disembarkation to start until 1230, so we should expect not to be off until 1300 as a guess. Apparently, over 100 in confinement.

Good luck to those on the next cruise, hope you manage to remain healthy and seas are kind to you. JP was on the blower again. Just basically to confirm that those in medical isolation will have to remain in their cabins until tag numbers are called. However, those in transit (staying on for next cruise), also to stay put in their cabins. Just as a footnote for those on next cruise, whilst ship remains on high levels of sanitary measures, there will be no cocktail parties.

Good afternoon all from home! Thank you so much everyone for your support over the last few days. We were off the ship and in the car home by 1300. Southampton roads were flooded and so were many others on the drive home. However, I fell asleep soon after and didn't waken until we were almost at our front door by 1500.

Still feeling a little ropey. Got indoors, made a cuppa for us both and then took myself off to bed to sleep. Woke again at 1600. Sadly, the cases had not miraculously unpacked themselves, so have just spent the last hour unpacking - H just sat in the lounge doing his puzzle book, blissfully unaware that I would have appreciated some help. His mental state and how things were generally made me realise that our cruising days may be numbered. Certainly, although i was travelling as couple, how he was during confinement meant i might as well have been on my own. The worst bit really was last night when I felt so awful, and could barely stand or stop shivering, but we had to get the final bit of packing done and he was just clueless. Marital discord was high on the agenda.

as a footnote to this - passengers who were booked to stay on for the next cruise were given three options:;
1. Disembark Sunday and go home with a FULL refund of their missed cruise (which is heading to Norway for the Northern Lights
2. Disembark Sunday and at their own cost, a hotel and then fly to Bergen to rejoin ship on Tuesday
3. Voluntarily isolate themselves in their cabin until Tuesday morning
I gather that most took the third option.

My thought with them all - and i am pretty sure that Saga do wish they had just cut the cruise so the ship could have a thorough deep clean/fumigation and also give all their hard-working crew some we--earned time off.

Weel that's it for now - just over 7 weeks and we will be back on board again hope that the next cruise is less dramatic - in all senses!
CRUISES BOOKED:
Spirit of Discovery - Dec 2020, Dec 2021
Spirit of Adventure - September 2020, March 2021, June 2021, October 2021
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Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby judgegeoff » 17 Feb 2020 20:27

So sorry to hear that your cruise was such a disappointment Leslie, Saga do seem to be letting their standards slip. Hopefully you will soon be back to full health and looking forward to your next cruise.

Do you know if the cars that take the disembarking passengers home are also used to bring new passengers onto the ship from that area and, if so, are they disinfected between the two journeys? If not, that could be a real problem for the next cruise.
Geoff

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"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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Re: Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby rdw123 » 18 Feb 2020 08:15

Lesley. Sorry to hear of your torrid time. As you know I was on the previous cruise and can relate to what you are saying. At least you got to see the medical team, i’m still waiting!! It took me nearly 2 hours on and off to get hold of room service as I didn’t have the energy to stay standing by the phone. I’m afraid Saga have let themselves down big time. I only ever saw the sanitising team once. As you say the cruise should have been cancelled and the ship fumigated and also to give the crew some much needed time off. They were run ragged.
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Re: Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby Meg50 » 18 Feb 2020 09:04

What a nightmare. My worry would always be getting home when feeling like death warmed up.

so were they doing a deep clean while in transit to Bergen?
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Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby Gillzajoker » 18 Feb 2020 10:40

Thank you for all the posts, Lesley - it's good to know exactly what went on. But so sorry you didn't
have a good time. Wishing you both a full recovery now you are home. :D
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Re: Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby khkate » 18 Feb 2020 13:21

Thank you all for your good wishes and support - we are both now fully recovered. A very strongly worded complaint has already been sent to Saga - highlighting our issues and also those that that suffered more than us due to their "lack of care" for our cruise, the one before and even those who are on the current cruise. We shall see what happens in the fullness of time, if anything!

Re the cars used for transfer - the normal practice in the past has been that when transporting affected passengers, the drivers are instructed to fumigate/disinfect their vehicles throughloy at the end of the journey before they are used again. Whether this is still the rule, who only knows - our driver was unaware we had been affected until Advised him - Saga certainly hadn't told him.

Re deep cleans - who knows when they were planning to do the deep clean and how. Those staying on for the (now) current cruise were confined to cabin until today, and the ship gets into Bergen tomorrow. Originally the last passengers from our cruise were due off at 1230, but disembarkation times slipped back by 3 hours, so that would be 1530 and they were recommencing boarding at 1800. % hours to give the ship a thorough deep clean... hmm! Before our cruise, they apparently deep cleaned the ship and the terminal also, doubt time allowed it this time.

However, we shall are putting that experience behind us - and looking forward to a calmer adventure the next time!
CRUISES BOOKED:
Spirit of Discovery - Dec 2020, Dec 2021
Spirit of Adventure - September 2020, March 2021, June 2021, October 2021
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Re: Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby Arizona » 18 Feb 2020 15:31

Glad to hear you are recovered. It obviously wasn’t much of a holiday. We have friends on the current Norwegian cruise so will no doubt hear all the details when they return. They were so looking forward to the trip so I hope Saga manages to get the situation under control without ruining any more passengers’ holidays.
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Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby grannyM » 18 Feb 2020 17:22

So sorry you and Harry had such a miserable trip Lesley but good to know that you are both fully recovered now. :)
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Re: Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby khkate » 20 Feb 2020 09:58

Just to provide an update for you all, after the fiasco of the last cruise and feeling that "care of passengers"had been severely compromised, I did a very strongly worded complaint to "A Head Honcho" at Saga. Yesterday, I had a very lengthy phone discussion where I was able to discuss my concerns, plus raise several other (but related) issues. By the end of it, my ears were battered, my mouth was dry.

However, Saga realise that they let down their passengers, especially those who were confined to cabin, not just for our cruise, but the one before and the current cruise also. Procedures are being implemented right now to improve care for those confined to cabin - somebody to check on them regularly to make sure they are ok, food trays will be removed a maximum of 60 minutes after delivery. Hand sanitisation measures across the ships will be stepped up and rigourously enforced - including having staff on duty in the public toilets to ensure people do wash their hands. Check in processes will become more rigourous to try and lower the likelihood of infection being brought on board - not just passengers, but crew, officers, visitors, even the pilots - with more detailed health questionnaires, temperature checks.

This is for Discovery, but I assume the same will apply to Sapphire also. Let us hope this helps for all , keeps the ships clear, makes the cruises a more pleasant for all too. It will also apply to the new ship Adventure when she launches!
CRUISES BOOKED:
Spirit of Discovery - Dec 2020, Dec 2021
Spirit of Adventure - September 2020, March 2021, June 2021, October 2021
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Re: Spirit of Discovery - Rendevous in Rouen - February 2020

Postby Arizona » 20 Feb 2020 18:27

Thanks for that information. It’s good to know that your complaint was followed up quickly and not just brushed off with excuses but that faults have been recognised and are to be acted on. We are on the SoD at the end of March so will see if these precautions are in place. Hopefully there will be no more norovirus then.
It seems that all cruise ships need to have more robust plans and procedures that can be immediately implemented when the unexpected occurs. Clearly no one can have plans for every possible scenario but infection in an enclosed community is not that unusual. The current situation with the Diamond Princess has highlighted how easily one person can end up triggering a full scale crisis which gets completely out of hand.
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