My cruise line left me stranded in Naples — is this voucher the best they can do? By Christopher Elliott | July 24, 2012 FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest Judith Abramson’s western Mediterranean cruise on the Oceania Marina last April did not end well. After a sudden illness, the ship’s doctor decided she needed to go to the hospital, and she was unceremoniously disembarked in Naples, Italy, under less than ideal circumstances, she says. “I was put off the ship with no money, no ID and no one to help navigate the language,” she told me. “I was in the hospital for three days and not one person from the cruise line or the ship came to inquire about me or my problem.” Worse, her travel companion was treated the same way. “Elaine was told that she had to pack up and leave the ship immediately. No one gave her any assistance in finding a hotel room. She had to make an overseas phone call to a family member who found accommodations at a nearby hotel,” says Abramson. And the final insult, she adds, is that no one from Oceania bothered to contact her family to let them know she’d been hospitalized. “We feel that the least we are entitled to is a complete refund of our trip,” she told me. “Any help you can give us with this would certainly be appreciated.” Can Oceania do that? In a word, yes. Check out its passenger ticket contract, the legal agreement between Abramson and the company. We may, without liability for any refund, payment, compensation or credit of any kind, refuse to embark, or may disembark, confine to a stateroom, quarantine or limit the activities during the Cruise at any time or at any port any Guest who may be suffering from contagious or infectious disease or whose presence, or that of any accompanying child, in the opinion of the Carrier, the Master, or any doctor, may be detrimental to the comfort, enjoyment or safety of other persons, or who, in the Carrier’s or Master’s opinion, might create a risk of harm to himself/herself or any other person, or who may be excluded from landing at the destination by Immigration or other Governmental Authorities. In such cases, the Guest shall not be entitled to any refund of the Cruise Fare or CruiseTour Fare or any compensation whatsoever. Gee, that’s a mouthful. I suggested Abramson send a brief, polite email to Oceania, describing her ordeal and making her best case for compensation. It responded with a lengthy explanation of why it did what it did. Let’s hit the highlights. Concerning your medical disembarkation, we hope you can appreciate that the doctor’s prime objective was ensuring your wellbeing, and getting you to a hospital facility that would be medically equipped to handle your circumstances, as quickly as possible. While we do understand that you felt rushed, things must move very quickly in these situations, particularly when time is limited and the ship is scheduled to leave port shortly, and would be at sea for many hours thereafter. As you may know, our ships have limited medical facilities, and to eliminate the risk of a possible life-threatening emergency at sea, the doctor felt it was imperative for you to get to a shore-side hospital while the ship was still in port. Regarding the way it treated her traveling companion, Elaine Sommers. We can understand your anxiety with not being able to personally gather your belongings or say goodbye to your traveling companion, Mrs. Sommers. Nonetheless, we have been advised that all necessary assistance was rendered aboard ship to Mrs. Sommers, in preparing, packing and disembarking the vessel to accompany you. Our concierge, Maria, together with Mrs. Sommers, contacted On Call (the emergency assistance arm of BerkelyCare), activated your insurance and obtained a case number, which was provided to Mrs. Sommers, along with the contact details for On Call, so she could keep in touch with them for continued assistance. The concierge also provided On Call with the details of the hospital where you were taken. Additionally, she accompanied Mrs. Sommers to the gangway, where the port agent met her and arranged transportation to take her to the hospital. It is also customary for port agents to provide a contact phone number to the guests for them to call for any assistance needed thereafter. The port agent had also assured the concierge that he would help to find a hotel for Mrs. Sommers if requested to do so, but according to your letter, it seems that this was not the case, and we will certainly be discussing this matter with the necessary individuals. And, to the question of whether she was stranded, as Abramson suggests. Mrs. Abramson, while we wish we could provide staff members from our ships to accompany all guests who need to be medically disembarked, unfortunately we are unable to do so. However, the emergency medical personnel, or ambulance transporting the guest, are always provided with the Medical Parole and Referral Letter by our ship’s doctor, for delivery to the hospital, so that the hospital personnel can be fully updated on the patient’s condition and the reason for being referred. Therefore, we believe the hospital staff should have been fully informed of your situation, even though you were unable to speak their language. What about her family? It is not clear why your families were not contacted in as timely a manner as they should have been, as that is the normal course of action, as soon as the notification is sent from the vessel and received in the Head Office. We can only presume that given the time zones and other logistics, it could have been a matter of timing why Mrs. Sommers was able to contact your family before anyone from the Head Office was able to do so. It is customary, as well, that once a case has been opened, travel insurance companies do contact the patient’s next of kin, based on the patient’s instructions. Furthermore, when a guest has purchased travel insurance, and emergency assistance has been activated, as it was in your case, there is normally no need for Oceania Cruises or anyone else to be further involved, as the insurance company fully takes over, which is what they are supposed to do. The insurance company usually makes arrangements for all air and/or land transportation, in addition to moving the patient to alternate facility if necessary, and any other actions, depending on their own requirements, and the patient’s needs. We have been in touch with On Call on this matter and they have advised that they were actively involved in helping you during this situation. Oceania apologized for the “stressful” experience and offered her two $500 vouchers. FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest Christopher ElliottChristopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at email@example.com. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google Plus Jeremy Oh no! Her healthy companion had to make an overseas phone call! While traveling overseas! What trauma… It doesn’t sound like a good situation but it’s not exactly the cruise line’s fault she got sick either. Of course they should have good procedures for this given the number of elderly people that cruise. But they did admit areas for improvement in a few minor points, and the vouchers are worth quite a bit so I’m not really sure further medation is required… typhn In the days of form letters, I am impressed the company sent such a detailed, personal response. That with the vouchers provided, does suggest that the compensation suffices. Fly, Icarus, Fly I’m not sure why people view cruise lines as some sort of tour guide. It’s a floating hotel and restaurant. That’s all. You get sick? That’s what insurance (and your travel companion) is for. No money and no ID? Does she mean she wasn’t allowed back to her room to get those things? Sounds strange unless it was an extreme medical emergency. How on earth does that warrant a refund? In extreme cases, I’ve heard of a staffer accompanying a passenger to the hospital, but that’s definitely not required. “We feel that the least we are entitled to is a complete refund of our trip”. No, actually, the least you’re entitled to is what you got. Nothing. The vouchers are a bonus. No mediation needed here. Terri Lundberg “I was put off the ship with no money, no ID and no one to help navigate the language,” she told me. “I was in the hospital for three days and not one person from the cruise line or the ship came to inquire about me or my problem.” Though I feel for the OP I think that Oceania did what they should have and could do in this situation. To expect that someone from cruise line would come and “inquire” about her is a bit much. They’re a cruise line, not her personal friends. If she was transported to the hospital via ambulance and was indeed that ill, then I suspect there may not have been time for her to collect her belongings. I’d like to know what her illness was. Was it the flu, or did she have cardiac issues? If you get in a car accident, the ambulance is not going to go to your car and gather up your personal belongings. I kinda feel more for her travel companion. I suspect the travel companion was not booted off of the ship, but under the circumstances chose (had to) leave because the person she was traveling with became ill. And, in that case, probably was rushed to disembark since the ship does have to pull out of port. I don’t think she’s entitled to a refund, and I think the $500 vouchers are good, though she may not feel like it since Oceania is a pricey cruise vacation and $500 overall may only feel like a drop in the bucket. Carver Clark Farrow II One question. Why did her traveling companion have to disembark as well? There is nothing in the quoted section that would cover her. backprop Wow after the headline and the unnecessarily heartstring-tugging phrase “unceremoniously disembarked” (what did she expect…confetti and streamers?), I was prepared for a particularly nasty round 2 of the St. Kitts cruise episode. Instead, we read about a cruise line that did everything right, including activating her insurance, seeing her off the ship, transferring her to medical staff, and arranging hospital transportation. It was a bad break to get sick on an international cruise. But when you get sick on an international cruise…you (guess what?) go to an international hospital where they might not speak your language. And her main complaint? That nobody from the cruise line called to check on her. This is for real? As mentioned, the cruise line followed up with great detail in the response — probably to the chagrin of the OP, who would have preferred to carefully weave her story of woe – unencumbered by facts – for maximum sympathy. The OP didn’t “deserve” anything and I’m floored that she received a thousand dollars worth of vouchers. What an impressive cruise line; however, it concerns me that other passengers in the end are paying for this ‘compensation.’ emanon256 Wow, I am really impressed with Oceana’s response; they actually addressed everything and offered compensation on top of that when it wasn’t even necessary. I feel for the OP, it’s a sad situation, but it sounds like the cruise line did their best to make arrangements and make sure information was handed down appropriately, then even helped her friend pack, arranged hospital transport, insurance activation, and offered to help with accommodations. While frustrating, if I were in the OPs shoes I would be quite upset over missing my cruise due to illness, but also thanking Oceana for helping me. I am not sure why she thinks the very least she should get is a full refund. Ed Greenberg I voted no, only in protest of the practice of handing out vouchers as a form of compensation. A voucher make the assumption that the consumer has the means to take numerous luxury vacations. sirwired Life is not stress-free. The fact that your vacation included some amount of unpleasantness does not entitle you to a full refund. It appears there were some minor screwups; two $500 vouchers seems to be appropriate compensation. TonyA_says Please dump me at Napoli right now. The food is excellent! What else can I ask for? Foreign language my arse, lots of folks where I live (Stamford CT) speak Italian. We are members of the Italian center and my kids go there to swim and use the gym almost everyday. Gimme a break. MarkKelling I think the cruise line did more than enough already. Nothing further is required. She had to go to a hospital. Although we do not know what for, it must have been something serious. The cruise line arranged to have her transported to the hospital and the ship board doctor provided his notes to the hospital about why he thought she needed to be there. Her travel companion joined her as I would expect any travel companion to do when you end up in the hospital. It’s not like the ship dumped her at some random pier on an island unequipped to handle her medical issues. What did she expect, the ship would wait for her until she was ready to continue the cruise? I sure hope she didn’t expect her travel companion to continue the cruise without her. It is not fun when your trip takes a turn like her trip did, but she should be happy that she is alive to complain and it’s not her travel companion writing in to complain that she died because the ship board doctor didn’t do enough for her. Michelle Norton Sounds to me like they did everything right here – I don’t even think she was deserving of the vouchers…good customer service on behalf of Oceania Chris_In_NC What??? She was hospitalized FOR 3 DAYS!!! The only reasonable conclusion I can make is that she was critically ill. If a patient is THAT ill, the sick passenger should be transferred to the appropriate medical facility without delay, rather than waste time with touchy-feely “make nice” gestures. Wait, the physician did that, and probably saved her life. Frankly, I’m a tad bit disappointed in the headlines. Seems a bit sensationalism to me. If the OP was “stranded” by your definition, what title would you have used for the passengers of the SS Minnow? Raven_Altosk Maybe I’m not far enough into my second cuppa joe, but I can’t figure out what the OP is complaining about. The cruise line did everything expected in an emergency and THEN some. THEY contacted her insurance, got her off the ship safely, got her to a hospital, and even helped her traveling companion. But she wants a full refund because the cruise line didn’t call or send flowers or whatever she expected?!? Primadonna much, yo!? As far as the companion having to “call overseas”…well…boohoo. Even ET had to phone home. (and…there’s me, showing my age…) And one more time for the travelers who don’t get it: Foreign countries speak languages other than English. if you can’t handle that, please stay home. You perpetuate the ugly american stereotype when you complain about this. Christopher Elliott Why, is someone offering? If they are, I’d like to join be dropped off in Naples, too. It’s a little bit warm this time of year, but during the a.m. I can sit at a cafe and drink espressos and write more blog posts like this one. And I only work half days when I’m in Europe, because all of my sources are gone in the afternoon. SoBeSparky Another “gimme” complaint. Case closed. EvilEmpryss Uhm, didn’t her travel insurance cover her treatment, hotel, and travel back to the States, possibly even reimbursement for the unused portion of her travel? It’s not the cruise liner’s fault she got sick and needed to go to a land-based hospital, so why are they supposed to be liable for her interrupted travel? I think Oceania did more than they needed to by offering those vouchers. TonyA_says No invitations yet :-} But a move to Italy especially for older folks might not be a bad idea. Read http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/is-a-great-grey-exodus-from-american-starting.html Putting aside my usual sarcasm, why do these Americans think they can travel OUTSIDE the USA, and still expect to be like they are in the USA? Are they missing a few screws? Christina Conte What world is this woman living in? Can you say “sense of entitlement?” Did she actually want a crew member to hold her hand going to the hospital and then stay there to check on her? And “no one to help me navigate the language” so she wanted Oceania to send along an interpreter too? Why not an entire entourage, complete with hairdresser, make up artist, and personal assistant? The only issue I see is that she did not have her id, and by no money, I assume no credit card either? I’m tired of seeing these “whiny” complaints, where it seems that the OPs are seriously lacking common sense, and live in a dream world. There are so many people out there getting (truly) scammed and having honest to goodness travel problems…I’d like to see more of their problems getting resolved. ClareClare Uh, have you ever BEEN to Napoli? Your average ITALIAN won’t even go there. I felt safer living in Eastern Europe, in a city occupied by the Soviet army, than I do visiting Napoli in broad daylight–seriously. This ain’t Brooklyn we’re talking about here… That’s not to say that I am siding with the OP–just saying that they weren’t exactly disembarked into an Italian paradise, FAR FROM IT. It is truly one of the worst cities in the world. Christina Conte Saying that Naples is one of the worst cities in the world is akin to saying that Los Angeles is one of the worst, or London…how much time have you actually spent there, and how much of it did you see? I’m not saying there aren’t problems there, but I wouldn’t paint with such broad strokes; it tends to reveal narrow mindedness. Oh, and yes, I’ve also been to Naples at least 6 times. Christopher Elliott I was there a year ago. It’s a little rough in places. John Keahey Naples is much, much safer than it used to be. I was there 15 years ago and again a month ago. The difference is amazing. I suspect the city officials made some kind of “gentleperson’s” agreement with the more sordid elements so tourism would improve. Whatever happened, it has. Regarding the OP, it seems as though the ship’s personnel did what they were supposed to do. Lindabator They did nothing wrong, so she didn’t need to get anything at all – but the vouchers were a good will gesture – too bad people today don’t appreciate that, and just want money, money, money, even when not entitled to it. reuvenavram What? She’d rather stay on the ship and get EVERYONE ELSE sick? What a selfish person. Joe_D_Messina What was wrong with the OP? It must have been pretty serious to warrant a 3-day hospital stay, but then she’s complaining about not being allowed to personally pack her things like it was no big deal whatsoever. Stranger still is the gripe about the cruise company failing to contact her family. Who would you rather have call your family to tell them you’ve had to be hospitalized? A total stranger who doesn’t know exactly what is going on or a close friend who knows all the details? TonyA_says YES I have been to Napoli several times. In fact you are correct that a lot of places there look dumpy and yes I read about the Mafia style killings over there. But I still love authentic Pizza Napoletana and the black ink squid pasta. You can find something bad for just about any place. I live in one of the richest counties in the USA but it is freaking boring out here so I have go to Queens to eat real good food. This happens to be where some of the largest hedge funds are located. But if you go to the Southside of the railroad tracks of Stamford (just across I95 where UBS and RBS have their palaces, you will see crime-ridden decrepit housing areas where you don’t want to be walking. By the way, I don’t know where the OP lives. Maybe in some gated community where only English is spoken. TonyA_says So is Orlando and Miami :-) Unless you own a yacht and sail off Portofino or some upscale area you are all welcome to join the Hoi polloi at Civitavecchia, Barcelona, etc. If the OP didn’t want to be in the poorer parts of Italy, she should have traveled up North. Maybe she will meet George Clooney. TonyA_says I am surprised one can afford to take a luxury cruise (liner) and have NO MONEY. Did the cruise ship confiscate her wallet, credit cards and passport? Christina Conte Totally agree, TonyA, it’s the same thing here in LA, 20 mins from Beverly Hills and you are “gang central.” Any somewhat travelled person knows most big cities are the same in that respect. mbods Yes, the cruise line technically, legally, did enough. But as concerns customer service? No way, how awful to be sick, in a foreign country not understanding the language and feel abandoned. If not the cruise line, then the insurance company should have done better for their CUSTOMER. Oh wait, customers these days are an annoyance and an intrusion, right? TonyA_says Hey Chris, what are all these up and down arrows for in the new Disqus look? Raven_Altosk I don’t like the new disqus. I want to be able to see who liked certain posts. Can we get that feature back? #complaintcentral ExplorationTravMag I think the thing that’s sticking in my craw is the vouchers. She didn’t pay them in vouchers, did she? LeeAnneClark Those are the “Like” and “Dislike” buttons! One thing I do like in this new format is the “parent” button- you can hover over that and see which post the person was actually responding to. Keeps the conversation in line. LeeAnneClark I agree! I always go back to see who liked my posts. ;-) Although I do like one new feature: see the little “parent” link above? Hover over that and you can see what post I replied to. I get irritated when there are lots of replies and people seem to forget who they are replying to, and the conversation makes no sense. LeeAnneClark In this case I think the vouchers are the appropriate response. She doesn’t deserve a cash refund – the cruise line fulfilled its contractual obligation. The vouchers were an (undeserved) gesture of goodwill. Why should it cost the cruise line cash money when they didn’t do anything wrong? Christina Conte Some of them are extremely obvious. Christopher Elliott Sorry. Is there no way to see that on the current version? I might be able to tweak something in the settings to make it more visible. From what I can tell, they didn’t take away any of the functionality from the last version. SooZeeeQ Oceania feels they have done more than required by giving them vouchers. But for a cruise, what does that amount even cover? They should have sent a check, as I seriously doubt she will board that cruise line again, and so the vouchers are worthless. Raven_Altosk That feature seems to be the only thing that’s missing. Maybe it’s a setting? Are you using WordPress as the app for main blog part of the site. The rest of it is cool. I’m just cranky today. Michael__K Question #1: Did Oceania’s travel protection from BerkelyCare reimburse the pro-rated portion of the cruise that these passengers missed? I would think and hope so but the wording is imprecise. http://www.oceaniacruises.com/documents/insurance/oceania_cruises_travel_protection_program_12001.pdf Question #2: If the OP bought travel insurance on her own, then would Oceania solicit and register this information, or would they have no record of it? If they have no record of it, then they can’t “activate” it, and if the OP disembarked without a healthy companion with access to her documentation, then she might have trouble receiving the coverage she is entitled to. Christopher Elliott I think I have an answer, but I don’t know if the one you want. This is from the Disqus 2012 announcement. Today, Disqus uses “Likes” as a way to give others a lightweight virtual wink. In Disqus 2012, we decided to expand on this with voting actions. With voting, the new Disqus encourages richer discussions to form by letting the community surface the best comments. By pairing this with a smarter scoring system, Disqus will help maintain quality discussions — but without silencing simply less popular opinions. john4868 WOW! I’m not sure if the OP just didn’t realize what was going on but personally I think Oceanea did a wonderful job with her. Unless her illness was their fault, I’m not sure why anyone would expect a hospital visit especially since the cruiseline doesn’t have a presence in the city. The $500 vouchers for doing nothing wrong was very generous by the cruiseline. Joe_D_Messina I lost the ability to see who liked posts several months ago. I figured that was the same for everybody, but apparently not? Hmm… backprop The vouchers do not represent a refund whatsoever. Michael__K If we accept Oceania’s account at face value, then they handled it reasonably well. There is some disagreement on a few details, and there appear to be several things that could have been handled better, as even Oceania acknowledges. There’s no explanation why neither the ship’s port agent nor the BerkelyCare/OnCall were put in touch with the OP’s travel companion to make hotel arrangements. The OP’s account says that her family was never contacted. Oceania implies that they were contacted belatedly and blames it on “time zones and other logistics.” Note that Oceania’s port visits to Naples generally depart at either 6pm or 11:59pm Italian time (which is generally 6 hrs ahead of US ET and 9 hrs ahead of US PT). The OP writes that she had no money and no ID. It’s not clear when and how she got those back. I would guess they were given to her travel companion, but was this communicated clearly? Oceania or it’s port agent have no legal obligation to call the OP to follow-up. But sometimes the smallest acts of goodwill which don’t even cost much can go a long way. backprop I agree. The cruise line should have either (a) constructed a hospital in Italy and staffed it with people who speak ‘merican, or (b) used a wormhole to transport this customer back to the United States, and build her a new house for her trouble. Ronay Hear Hear! Raven knows wherein she speaks! I always find it amazing that so many of my fellow(?) american travelers have such an inflated sense of entitlement, wherever they go. They assume everyone is there to serve their needs, no matter where or what time of day. Mrs. A should have taken the time in advance, to prepare for any contingency in an emergency, and to have carefully read the small print in both her contracts with the cruise line and the insurance company. It’s just common sense, no? Yes! The cruise line didn’t cause her problem, and did their best to accommodate her emergency. She not only shouldn’t receive compensation, she should be thanking them for all of their efforts on her behalf. I say, GET OVER IT! Michael__K In my limited experience, the cruise line will sometimes confiscate all passengers’ passports at embarkation and they aren’t returned until disembarkation. When they do this, they advise passengers to use their cruise cards for identification at port. TonyA_says If they “dumped” her in Napoli, wouldn’t they dump her with her passport? How about her credit cards? How does one have NO MONEY? I’m confused. Christina Conte Amen! emanon256 I don’t even know how to do that in the old Disqus. Dave Lieberman It seems obvious that this was the letter writer’s first overseas trip—and while I have sympathy for her inability to communicate to the hospital staff, the hospital was in Italy. Next time, she or her travelling companion should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy citizen-services desk if they feel they need help or advice in an emergency… and learn a few key sentences (such as “I do not speak _____, is there someone who speaks English here?”) in the languages of the places she’s going—or at least have them written down. Michael__K I imagine many of us would voluntarily choose to stay with a travel companion as opposed to leaving them alone in an emergency like this. This does open up questions as to what would happen if a sick passenger is abruptly disembarked alone. What would happen to their belongings? Who would communicate on behalf of the patient with doctors, insurers, etc.? How would anyone even know whether and what insurance the patient even has if they didn’t purchase it through the cruise operator? IGoEverywhere I do not even understand the complait in this case. She was sick, she had insurance, she was properly directed to a hospital. During emergencies, who would worry about a long didstance phone call? $2.50 roam $2.00 per minute, it’s an emergency! There is no cruise line in this world that would have done more, most likely less with the exception that it was their fault and then? Michael__K Maybe in the doctor’s estimation there wasn’t any time to waste worrying about that: the doctor’s prime objective was ensuring your wellbeing, and getting you to a hospital facility that would be medically equipped to handle your circumstances, as quickly as possible. I imagine they may have relied on the OP’s travel companion (who may have disembarked shortly thereafter) to handle the valuables. In that case it could have been much thornier if the OP was travelling alone or if her companion declined to disembark. Michael__K “the doctor’s prime objective was ensuring your wellbeing, and getting you to a hospital facility that would be medically equipped to handle your circumstances, as quickly as possible.” Kudos to the doctor if he verified the capabilities of the hospital in Naples. Royal Caribbean would do well to take note of that important detail for future emergencies. Wrona Why should they have sent her a check? The vouchers were a gesture of goodwill because they felt sorry for her, not because they owed her anything – they did absolutely nothing wrong. Joe Farrell I get kicking the OP off the ship – she was in the hospital for 3 days. She was seriously ill. My next problem deals with why they kicked the cabin mate off. Was this an infectious disease? Why was she hospitalized – if she was hospitalized for 3 days due to, say a kidney stone, as my wife was while we where in Rome, there is no reason to ‘involuntarily disembark’ the traveling companion in the same cabin. If there was no medical reason to disembark the traveling companion then they owe the traveling companion a full refund for involuntarily kicking that person off. Just because the contact says they can kick you off – practically speaking there is no ability to willy-nilly boot people off without a financial consequence. There was no explanation as to why they kicked the companion off – and that is a glaring omission – it seems clear to me that they simply did not want to deal with the traveling companion who might get anxious and start asking questions . .. now, it has not been claimed that the traveling companion wanted to stay on board – but they may have. After all – how are THEY going to get back to where they started from and get home . . . flutiefan hey i’m in Queens… any recommendations? i do love me some Italian food… (but, i have the palate of a 4th grader, so nothing exotic for me, thanks!) flutiefan thanks for that tip! cool! flutiefan i didn’t read it as the traveling companion being kicked off. i read it as the companion voluntarily stayed with her friend and left the ship. i would think most people would do the same. flutiefan compensate for what? treating her swiftly and with due diligence? activating her insurance and making sure the doctors were well-informed? giving her vouchers that she had no right to? flutiefan the traveling companion should get both of the vouchers simply for having to put up with this lady on a trip. Raven_Altosk FYI…Im a guy :) jennj99738 I like the new format. At least I can read *all* the replies in one particular thread. It was getting ridiculous with the single column of letters. I thought being able to see who “liked” a comment wasn’t available in the earlier version, either? TonyA_says I gave up on finding good Italian food in the USA. Wasted too much time and money searching for the holy grail. You just have to wait for a cheap fare and go to Italy and load up the belly. It must be the ingredients found over there. Even a ‘simple’ pizza is very different. In Queens, you can still find close to decent Chinese, Korean, Thai and other SE Asian food. My partner (in travel business) also lives in Queens and is always in the prowl for good food. Since you don’t want something too exotic, try http://www.mekongeast.com/contact/ in bayside. The squid was very good. Jeanne_in_NE I like being able to “like” something anonymously. It’s a way to support a well-constructed comment that goes against the current trend of comments without necessarily agreeing and a way to “wink” at something snarky, without looking snarky myself. Jeanne_in_NE On the bright side, you’ve gotten less of the gender confusion since you’ve added that avatar – eyes aren’t big enough to be a *female* anime character. mbods Oh backprop, you’re just too clever for me! Don Satow According to the snippet on the contract, why isn’t Miss Sommers being re-compensated? Granted, I doubt she would want to stay on ship and not be with her friend, but nothing in the contract snippet says that she needs to disembark without compensation. flutiefan squid?!?!??!! ya lost me ;) TonyA_says Don’t worry. There are plenty of other more friendly things to eat there. Trust me, that part of Bayside Queens has not completely gone Asian [not a discrimanatory statement] so it caters to a lot of different folks. By the way, the squid is NOT ALIVE like at the other Korean restaurants at Northern Blvd :-) Annie André I agree with everyone else. The cruise line did all they could do and did it pretty well. IS the OP reading all these comments? If so, what does she think now that she sees what everyone else thinks the cruise employees did all they could. Raven_Altosk True that. I’m used to it at this point in my life. That fellow in the icon is Jade Curtiss from a video game called “Tales of the Abyss.” He is a snarky bastard, so it seemed appropriate. Yes, I do spend way too much time playing video games. I should grow up. Or not. :D Joe Farrell “Elaine was told that she had to pack up and leave the ship immediately. No one gave her any assistance in finding a hotel room.” Where do you get a voluntary disembark from that comment?