Cruise To Nowhere

April 16, 2010 -

John Heald

I am getting very excited about the Carnival Magic and my return to Europe and in the weeks and months ahead I will be talking about the glorious wonders of the ports of call that make these destinations some of the most incomparable in the world.

However, one subject that maybe I did not stress hard enough when I was there on previous ships was the so called “pirate” excursion industry that has manifested itself in Italy.

A mate of mine who works for Carnival UK sent me a story about a tour operator who had parked their buses on the pier in Civitavecchia and picked up the guests from the ship that had paid them via the internet to provide an excursion in Rome. Here is an extract from the report.

However, the police arrived and escorted the buses and the passengers to the police station where the company involved was fined thousands of euros and of course the passengers lost their excursion and presumably the money they paid to see Rome.

The police asked the passengers to get off the buses, but some of them refused to do so.

The officers then escorted the 5 coaches to the police station, together with the passengers who had refused to cooperate, so that further investigations could be made.

The passengers were asked to give their personal details and explain how they had booked and paid for the tour.

The police brought charges against ****************** on account of their failure to comply with port security regulations and dispatch of a false document.

And that was there day in Rome and I am told there are similar concerns in Livorno, Tuscany and Naples.

I know there will be skeptics that think that I am saying this just to get passengers to buy shipboard excursions…..well…….bloody right I am! European laws are massively strict and it is so important that we get the word out to everyone that whatever cruise line you are sailing on to book your excursions through the cruise line.

The companies we use have been completely vetted and have all the necessary documents completed to avoid what must have been a very distressing day for those passengers whose excursion buses were escorted off the pier to the police station.

There is no better word for these companies than pirates and trying to save a few dollars by using one of these companies will no doubt result in a day to forget……rather than a day to remember.

I will be back shortly with today’s blog.


Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.