Let’s take personality out of this.
Let’s say Betty was in her mid-seventies. Her cancer – four melanomas, two in the lungs and two in the stomach – was in remission, and the heart seemed OK after one attack, but the emphysema was incurable. And wearing.
With those blots, she could not take chances with Covid. If it did not kill her, it had to shorten what was left of her life.
In late 2021, Betty thought she would test her travelling capacity and rediscover her love of sea travel by booking a three-night trip from and back to Melbourne on a Cunard ship. That seemed ideal for her purposes and cost less than $A1000.
She thought it was for February 2022. But it was for the next year – 2023! No worry, that will give the Covid issue time to settle.
But it didn’t, and in late 2022, Betty checked with her GP. His advice was unequivocal. The risk of that kind of travel was too great for Betty in her condition, and she should cancel.
Betty put that opinion to the Oncology Department at her treating hospital in Melbourne – a world leader in that field of medicine – and they replied as follows:
Happy with the below, however I have to disagree with not getting into ICU. We would push for you to be admitted if need be.
Maybe book somewhere in Australia for now – cruises would have to be the highest risk for any infectious disease!
The opinion of that hospital was not to be waved away. Melbourne claims to be the sports capital of the world. The same goes for the study and treatment of melanoma.
So, Betty emailed Cunard saying she would have to cancel. This was just before Christmas. The reply said that there would be a cancellation fee of about 40%.
But they could not cancel in response to an email – Betty would have to ring them to do that on the phone. That was obviously the Cunard robots in action – it’s normally the other way round, Betty thought.
This was just another robotic pestilence. Betty took a deep breath. Here we go again.
Then, early in the new year, when Betty rang to effect the cancellation – notice of which she had given – she was told that in the interim the robots had just about doubled the cancellation fee. Betty was mildly put out, and was told she could seek some kind of compassion. Could she provide a certificate from the GP?
Betty wondered if that was appropriate in view of the piddling amount involved and her fifty plus years in the law, including thirty years in the service of Her Majesty, hearing and determining issues of some moment between people and the Crown. And her GP had just gone down with Covid.
So, Betty passed on the comments of Oncology above, including the desirability of her having access to ICU, and the threat of this kind of travel to someone with her medical history.
But no – the robots were immovable. Betty had to get a Certificate before the Support Team could give a ruling. Over a few hundred dollars.
Not worth getting a ruling from the Tribunal Betty had presided over (for the other Betty, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Better, perhaps, that Cunard keep the money, and Betty keep the experience.
And pass it on.
Being left at the mercy of the Support Team for ‘compassion’ could be unsettling for some. Betty recalled the sign that hung outside Chancery in the 16th century.
…the refuge of the poor and afflicted; it is the altar and sanctuary for such as against the right of rich men, and the countenance of great men, cannot maintain the goodness of their cause.
Before that, the English had Robin Hood.
Now dealing with Cunard might lead to a better understanding of living under Putin in Russia. He got his start in a Support Team – that does, it is true, have an unattractive name and reputation.
Betty looked up the calling cards of Cunard and its owner.
To sail with Cunard is to step into a world that revolves around you. A world of comfort, courtesy and attention to detail, where everything is just the way you like it.
Carnival Corporation – Vision Statement
At Carnival Corporation & plc, our highest responsibility and top priority is compliance, environmental protection and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, the people in the communities we touch and serve, and our shipboard and shoreside employees. On this foundation, we aspire to deliver unmatched joyful vacations for our guests, always exceeding their expectations and in doing so driving outstanding shareholder value. We are committed to a positive and just corporate culture, based on inclusion and the power of diversity. We operate with integrity, trust and respect for each other — communicating, coordinating and collaborating while seeking candor, openness and transparency at all times. And we aspire to be an exemplary corporate citizen leaving the people and the places we touch even better.
Together, we deliver joyful vacation experiences and breakthrough shareholder returns by exceeding guest expectations and leveraging our industry-leading scale.
Qantas et al revisited.
As bullshit goes, that is about par for the course now, but Betty thought that the reference to the health, safety and well-being of our guests was a real scream.
Betty has put the above in terms to Cunard on three occasions. Silenzio! If they drive their ships like they handle their mail, it could be a bumpy ride.