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MercedMike October 6th, 2012 08:03 AM

We lost Portugal
Just returned from a Western Med cruise on HAL. The itinerary was to depart Rotterdam, sail to Lisbon, Gibraltar, Southern Spain to Barcelona, turn around and go back to two more ports in Portugal and then return to Rotterdam. It looked like a really nice cruise, and Renée especially wanted to go to Portugal so we booked it.

Shortly after we left Rotterdam, the Captain announced that the port pilots in Lisbon were on strike so that stop was cancelled. We had a day at sea instead. That was a real bummer. We had a wonderful trip with Tours By Locals scheduled there.

Then the Captain announced that ALL the pilots in Portugal were on strike. They came out with a whole new itinerary. Two ports in Southern Spain were added, and ALL the port call dates were shuffled around.

This threw us into a tizzy. We had private tours booked in almost every port. Renée spent more than an hour of computer time at their outrageous prices contacting Tours By Locals and our other suppliers trying to re-arrange things.

Then just as she had it more or less taken care of, we got ANOTHER revised itinerary. So it was back to work, changing everything again. Fortunately our private tours were able to change our dates, and Tours By Locals worked hard to re-book us, although we did have to change one guide. TBL did refund the two tours in Portugal we had booked. They treated us very well considering all the confusion HAL caused.

Besides that it cost considerable extra money because one of the added ports was Palma de Mallorca and Renée just had to buy two strands of pearls! ;)

What did we get from HAL for all this? A free glass of champagne at dinner.

Well, when you travel, stuff happens. We were sorely disappointed in missing Portugal. We will have to go back some day. But we did have a nice cruise and enjoyed it. You can check our trip report at
Western Mediterranean Cruise

Donna October 6th, 2012 04:26 PM

Welcome back Mike,
So sorry to hear about the jumbled up ports, etc....Guess you will have to book another one at some point so you can get to all the spots you missed on this one...Glad you still enjoyed it.

kandajones October 7th, 2012 04:15 PM

Sorry to hear that things weny so awry, and hope that you managed to enjoly the ports that you did get into during your Mystery Cruise.

As Donna said, at least it gives you are reason to come back over this way at some point. If you do, and end up sailing from Southampton, please let us know & we'll try to catch you, or at least get some sailaway photo's for you.

Enjoy the unpacking :(

Alan & Katrina

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