Waterfalls, Laughter & Awesome P&O Cruises Customer Delight (and you really do catch more flies with honey than vinegar)

How do you manage under pressure when travelling? Are you a laid back traveller or do you tend to stress out when something goes wrong?

We took a group of mentoring clients on a fabulous cruise this week. For four nights and three days the group explored business and personal balance, networking and how to get what they want, delegation, clarity, intention and planning for success. It was a brilliant trip and the Australia Day fireworks under Sydney Harbour Bridge was the icing on the cake.

P&O Australia Day Cruise 2016 best customer service

In the past I’ve always been a bit of a nervous traveller; I tend to worry that something MIGHT go wrong and gnaw at my fingernails when I feel a bump orsee a potential disaster, sure that I might die, or at best, get hurt. Yes, it does tend to put a damper on the holiday – just ask my husband! This trip I was determined to relax and enjoy any situation without stressing about it.

So when disaster did actually strike, can you guess how I reacted?

It’s amazing, I didn’t melt down or fall apart. Instead I laughed and had a great time. And we were treated to the best Customer Delight / Say Sorry Properly experience ever by the P&O Cruises crew and staff.

Here’s what happened:

Day One:

  • One big, full to capacity P&O Australia cruise ship (Pacific Jewel)
  • No room to workshop in (I’ll save that for another story)
  • One waterfall in our cabin
  • A lot of very wet luggage
  • Amazing service from P&O staff

We’d been to dinner and got lost getting back to our internal cabin (ie no porthole, window, no balcony). Twice. Anyone who has cruised will know that there is no limit to the number of times that you will get lost going back to your cabin! Laughing at our wrong turns, we approached a large group of staff and guests and called out to ask where cabin 6094 was. The look on their faces was priceless. They simply pointed into our cabin.

Inside there was a man up a ladder with water pouring profusely out of a broken pipe in the ceiling. Water was flowing over the carpet and heading out the door. Imagine pouring a bucket of water every second and that’ll give you an idea of the flow. The bed mattress was dripping, folded in the hallway and David’s case was lying there too. We picked it up and water poured out. They took it away with the promise of laundering everything inside. Fortunately, my case with all the course materials was tucked safely in another corner, dry.

How did we react? We took one look and started laughing. You see, there was nothing at all we could do about it. I took out my camera to take a photo to share with you, but they requested politely that we refrain. So we did.

The man next door came out of his cabin complaining loudly that a tv station would hear about it. His wife was whining that she wanted to go back to sleep. Apparently they had some water running down one wall.  He tried to film the situation and I warnedhim that I would not be party to his attitude or film.  I mentioned to him that we catch more flies with honey than vinegar. He went back inside and shut the door.

We joked with the very serious staff that we might need some staff quarters for the night as we knew the trip was sold out.

After some time, they found a cabin for us that was empty for now but was booked from the next port in two day’s time (Sydney) so we had a night’s grace to get some sleep. The cabin was an upgrade from our internal cabin to a balcony cabin. Score!Cabin with a Balcony P&O Cruises

Lying in bed later it occurred to us that we hadn’t paid for the trip on the credit card that offers us travel insurance, so there was a chance we weren’t insured for any damages. We chose to laugh at that too!

Day Two

  • A balcony cabin
  • Missing items
  • Wonderful P&O staff

The crew from Directors, Supervisors, Front Desk Staff to Room Attendants were amazing. They delivered David’s freshly washed and pressed clothing; He’s never looked so spiffy.

They booked us in for a special dinner and a bottle of wine (do try P&O’s Luke Mangan Salt Bar – it’s a joy to the tastebuds) and told us that they would be compensating us for the inconvenience. Luke Mangan's Salt GrillWe told them that we’d just be happy with staying in the balcony room.Unfortunately they told us that someone had definitely booked the cabin from Sydney and that we would have to return to 6094, where they were replacing carpets, curtains, furniture, beds and linen.

We went down for a look and saw them working hard and located the items had been forgotten in the move, still dripping wet and sent them off to be laundered too. My new Rivers shoes won’t quite be the same, but that’s a small thing.

We went back to reception and bartered with a promise to vacate the cabin early the next morning before arrival in Sydney and enjoyed a lovely second night in our upgraded cabin.

Day Three

  • A move back to 6094
  • A last minute upgrade

Three amazing staff helped us move back to our freshly renovated cabin and wouldn’t let me carry anything at all. We did look funny filling an entire lift with all our bags, hangers and other associated items.

Delightfully, at 5 pm we got a phone call that a cabin with an ocean view window had been vacated in Sydney and would we like it? Of course!

Once again, we led a procession of three staff to a lovely new cabin where we spent another delightful two nights.


Overall we had three cabins, four moves, a balcony, some beautifully laundered clothing, good compensation, some great laughs, and some of the best service I have every received. The crew knew who we were and asked often if we were OK and the little extras they gave us were generous and promptly offered.

P&O demonstrated the concept of Customer Delight – service with that little bit more. They also demonstrated the power of saying sorry properly.

And I learned that

The Going To is harder than the Going Through

In other words, there is no point worrying about something until you get there, because you never know how you’ll really react. I do believe that I have entered a new era of stress free travelling. And a whole lot of laughs.

Thanks P&O Australia, you deserve accolades and applause. We’ll be back!

Pacific JewelSmiling in Sydney

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