At sea... and can the Celebrity Solstice kick me off the ship?



Some of you may have read about the Carnival Legend cruise in Australia that resulted in fights, ship security personnel punching and kicking guests, guests hiding in their rooms in fear of violence, and a number of people being removed from the ship for unruly or violent behavior (although some of the 23 left voluntarily, since some of their family members were ordered off the ship).

No, that didn't happen on the Celebrity Solstice, the ship we are on.  However, events happening during the past 24 hours make me wonder whether I'm on thin ice.  Could I be disinvited to board the next cruise as... a troublemaker?  The reason?  Tough questions, trying to help, and being assaulted.

Here's where things start.  A few days ago, I was attending a presentation from the ship's environmental officer (I think this was his title), when he mentioned the issue I had hoped to bring up.  Celebrity has a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).  You don't see a lot of this partnership on the ship, other than a fundraising event when people have a chance to buy stuffed sea creatures and tee shirts, with some (all?) of the funds going to WWF.  In addition, in the daily newsletter there is a WWF note, stating something obvious like "coral reefs are important."  Not very earth-shattering stuff, obviously.




However, there is a corporate commitment between WWF and the parent company of Celebrity that is "...focused on reducing carbon emissions and ensuring sustainable seafood procurement."

The presentation noted that 90% of the wild caught seafood came from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sources.  MSC isn't the gold standard for identifying sustainable seafood, but it is not bad.  In response to a question from the audience (not me), the presenter (Nicolas?) said the list of MSC sourced seafood was available to passengers.  So, after his presentation, I gave him a note with my name and stateroom asking for this list. I still haven't received this list after 5 days, and a couple of days ago I requested it from a waiter supervisor in the dining room.  Still nothing.

Well, that's not an issue that should get me in trouble. I did read later that the 90% number was a goal for 2020 ("Responsibly source 90% of its global wild-caught seafood by volume from MSC certified sustainable fisheries, fisheries in full assessment for MSC certification, comprehensive Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), and/or tuna products sourced from International Seafood Sustainability Association (ISSA) member companies. This includes a commitment to source at least 65% of global wild-caught volume from MSC certified fisheries.").  So the real percentage is something less than 65%.  I want to know which fish served on board currently are MSC sourced.  

I suspect there is a spreadsheet with each stateroom number, and staff add to the spreadsheet whenever an issue arises.  So, with my hypothetical spreadsheet, the first line states, "repeatedly asked questions about sourcing of seafood served on ship."

Issue 2 happened 2 days ago.  I was taking a shower in my stateroom, when the metal vent in the middle of the ceiling dropped off and hit me in the face!  That was a surprise.  It was a fairly solid piece of metal that covers much of the vent opening.  I picked it up, and it took 20-30 rotations to screw it back on.  I kept feeling the bridge of my nose to see if it was bleeding (that's what it felt like), but there was just a half inch red line that last through the next day.  I suspect that, over time, the metal cover slowly but surely loosened, until it reached the end of its threads.  I mentioned it to Caroline, and knowing that there were probably 1000 similar vent covers in the various rooms on the ship, she suggested that we ask about filling out an incident report so that it could be brought to the attention of housekeeping or engineering to check.  

Yesterday, we went to guest relations, reported what had happened, and asked if there was a form we could fill out.  The response?  "You need to go to medical."  No, I said, I don't want to go to medical.  I don't need to go to medical.  I was just trying to let you know that these covers can loosen and fall.  "Let me check."  The staff member went behind the counter to ask somebody, then returned, "You need to go to medical."  I said, "If the mirror fell off in my room, would I need to go to medical?  I don't want treatment, I just want to report the vent cover falling."  "You need to go to medical."  

I said thanks, I'm not going to medical, and left.  If they don't want to know, they don't want to know!  But when we returned to our room minutes later, the phone was ringing, and (I assume the same person) asked us if we needed somebody to come fix our vent.
  No.  Again, with my hypothetical spreadsheet, the second line states, "repeatedly refused to report to medical for an injury caused by material falling from roof of cabin."

Troublemaker!


Running in Fremantle, Australia.

In Brisbane, obvious directions to "keep left."
And that brings me to this morning.  I tend to run on the treadmill in the gym.  But on rough sea days, the treadmills are closed, and on moderate sea days, if I use the treadmill, I have to have a hand on the safety railing at all times.  Running 6.7 mph on a ship swaying in the sea is a trick that I haven't mastered.  So, given that I was going to run about 6-7 miles, or about an hour, I went to the jogging track on deck 14 at 6:30 AM.  There were about 5 people walking on the track, which is about 4.5 feet wide, with extra room on both sides of the painted surface.  I hadn't gone 20 feet when one walker yelled at me, "you're going the wrong way!"  There's no signs about which way to run or walk.  Given that this ship comes from Australia and was in NZ, both Caroline and I run on the edge of the left side of the track.  Most people, for whatever reason, walk the other direction.  Running toward walkers as opposed to running with them means they see you coming, and you see them coming.  When you run WITH the walkers, they walk with their friends side by side, filling up the jogging track, so they don't see you, and you are dodging in and out of the pedestrian traffic, or have to slow down or walk until there is a wide spot for passing.  Caroline has months of experience running on cruise ships, and there is often someone who tells her she is running the wrong direction.  She just smiles.  So I just smiled.

Then things went bizzaro.

After another 2 laps (the previous lap the guy yelled that I was a "wanker", and that he had been on this ship for 48 days, and everyone walks the same direction), we were passing for a third time, and as he approached me, he went from a walking pace to a jogging pace, and just before passing me, he twisted and put his shoulder into my shoulder with some force!  Get this... THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE ON THAT SIDE OF THE SHIP!  Obviously, there was PLENTY of room for us to pass.  It was an intentional, attention-getting move. And I'm not a lawyer, but assault can be defined as "an attempt to injure someone else."  I don't know what he was trying to do, but without knowing me, I could have been knocked down, had an existing injury that was aggravated, or who knows what.  As it was, I had a couple of inches on him, and I was probably moving faster than he was expecting, meaning inertia was on my side.  I stopped, shocked, expecting him to stop, but he kept right on going, back on the right side of the lane. 


Where the collision happened,  I was running on the left edge of the brown jogging track.


Another view of the jogging track, midday.


The next time we passed, he was walking again, and my next trip around I saw a staff member (a pool butler) setting up chairs.  I stopped, explained the situation, and asked the staff member to call security. The staff member wanted me to go to... guest relations.  I could file a report (and what? they tell me to go to medical?).  I said I'm running for another 55 minutes, and I'd rather talk to security.  I pointed out the guy (at that time, walking on the other side of deck 14 but visible), and was told that "Him?  He's generally a nice guy."  Great.  Let him explain it to security, before I get accused of hurting him.  So the staff member calls on his phone for security and tells me they are coming up.  He asks me to wait, but given that I'm not going anywhere except around the track, I tell him I'll keep my eyes open for them.  So as I'm running, that guy RUNS INTO ME AGAIN!  Seriously, what is wrong with him?  Again, there was NO ONE ON THAT SIDE OF THE TRACK!  Two or three laps later, 2 security staffers come up (one with a video recorder on his uniform).  As I get closer, the pool butler is pointing out me and him, and mister angry bird is there first.  I don't hear what he is saying, but it sounds something like "He's running the wrong way."  

I wait, about 5 feet away, then the security staff walk to me, ask mister angry bird to move away, and ask me what happen.  I tell them... he is upset that I am not running in the same direction he is walking, and he lowered his shoulder into me, not once, but twice.  Oh, and he called me a wanker (I had to look this up... according to Wikipedia, "in modern usage it is usually a general term of contempt rather than a commentary on sexual habits."  They listened politely, then went off to talk to mister angry bird again.  I kept running.  Finally, they were waiting for me and they suggested that... "You should try to avoid him."  "Avoid him?  I just don't want him running into me!"  "We've told him the same thing, that he should avoid you."  Did I want to make a formal complaint? No, I wanted him to leave me alone so I could run!  Apparently, mister angry bird didn't deny that he ran into me; he claimed, however, that the ship's rocking motion forced him into me accidentally.

Right. Twice. And no need to stop either time.

The security people were professional, but as they were going to leave I suggested they take my stateroom number in case there was any follow-up. Did this guy act aggressively with others?  Will he?  They agreed they should get my number (again, my idea).  They said the interaction wasn't captured on the ship's cameras.  I suspect it was, but I think the focus was on deescalation.

My hypothetical spreadsheet now has a third line stating, "reported collision with a fellow passenger on the jogging track."

So who does Celebrity make happy?  A cruiser with 48 days of back-to-back cruises, probably AquaClass and in a suite, or me, with my inside cabin and limited crusing experience?  We dock in Sydney tomorrow.  I'll let you know whether I can get back on this ship for a trip to New Caledonia.


Sign in the spa area.  If they want to know about my frown lines, they should read this blog.  The crow's feet?  Those are mine, all mine!



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