Le Havre – 07:00 to 20:00
Having already visited the Normandy Beaches last year, which we consider is the primary attraction in this region, we initially booked a tour to the local fishing village of Honfleur. However, after the long and strenuous tours of the past couple of weeks, Judi really needed a few more days of rest and relaxation, so today was a quiet day. Some think Paris is the premier tour, but at least 6 hours from/to Le Havre, with only 3 hours playing tourist in Paris just wasn’t even close to our idea of fun. Others made the Paris sojourn, but not us.
Temperature: High 19C/66F, Low 15C/59F
Wind/Weather: Inshore winds about 30 kts, initially overcast, but clearing by Noon
Clox: Z+2 (no change)
Yet again, our illustrious Navigator appears to be directionally challenged, as the Princess Patter advises that throughout the night Sea Princess continues with a southerly course towards the harbour. We had actually approached Le Havre from the Western Approaches to the English Channel, not south from the UK. Sea Princess embarked the local pilot about 05:30 and secured alongside her berth shortly before 07:00.
Shortly prior to 20:00, lines were let go and the Captain thrust Sea Princess off her berth, initially moving astern before moving ahead to depart the harbour. Once the pilot disembarked, Sea Princess set NW’ly and then N’ly courses across the English Channel for the short 70 mile voyage to our next port of call in Southampton.
Le Havre, France
Le Havre is the second largest port in France and is located in the English Channel, at the mouth of the River Seine. Located reasonably close to Paris and the Normandy Beaches it is a developing cruise ship port and a busy ferry terminal, with service to Portsmouth.
Today was a rather splendid day, with lots of R&R and administrative tasks completed. After breakfast, we packed up the backpack and headed to the gangway. Passing the Passenger Services Desk we said, “Good Morning” to Cynthia, the Customer Service Manager. Noticing us, she broke her conversation with the staff and mentioned that she would like to chat about our recent Steakhouse experience. No time like the present, since we were only going ashore to find wi-fi. Having chatted to Cynthia a few times, we find her a very smart and intelligent young lady, who espouses the uniform and customer service standards that I know Princess expect.
Chatting for almost an hour, we discussed our two Steakhouse experiences, particularly the most recent disaster. She advised she will investigate and run it up the chain of command. True to her word, as upon return to the ship, a few hours later, we had a message from her that the Food & Beverage Director (F&B Dir) requested a meeting with us, which we scheduled for 17:00. A couple of hours later we also received a call from the Maitre’D, apologising for our experience. The meeting with the F&B Dir was a joke, he had the info and ventured nothing, other than yet another apology. He did thank us for bringing concerns to his attention, to which I replied I will always pass on the positives and negatives. In addition, I advised him that when I bring issues to his, or his staff’s attention and they are not resolved, then that fact also goes on the post cruise survey.
During our chat with Cynthia, I also mentioned a couple of observations regarding the Deck Department, as her fiancée is a 1st Officer. These have been passed to the Captain, who requests I provide him all observations in note form. Therefore, a few minutes were spent writing down issues with flags, directionally challenged navigator reports, officer deportment and English language skills.
Late afternoon, just sitting on the balcony I decided to log onto the Princess Website and check out any of the current specials. Wow, the South Pacific cruise we signed up for next year has a complimentary all inclusive beverage package, for a limited time. I checked it out and it includes all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks under $10. They charge about $100 per cabin per day, so this package is worth almost $3,000 on the next cruise. On checking the Patter, we noted the Future Cruise Sales was open, so down we went. Great young lady, she checked it out and as it wasn’t only available to new bookings, she simply added it to our booking. No need to cancel and rebook.
For dinner this evening, it was again open seating, so the 6 of us met up in the Horizon Court. We enjoyed a reasonable dinner with great views of the departure Le Havre. On finishing dinner, Judi, Viv and I headed down to Vista Lounge to enjoy the repeat performance from Kym Purling, the excellent pianist from about 4 nights ago.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.