Passengers boarding P&O Cruises Ventura this morning in Southampton got a wet surprise when a full luggage cage was accidentally dropped overboard during embarkation. A lifeboat was dispatched and the soggy suitcases were retrieved.
Luggage Handling Fail
According to social media posts, the luggage cage – filled with passengers’ bags – was inadvertently dropped from the Mayflower Terminal, the oldest terminal at the Southampton cruise port.
The luggage was intended for P&O Cruises Grand-class vessel Ventura. Lifeboats were quickly dispatched to retrieve the bags, though there has been no update on how the luggage – and potentially damaged contents – were being returned to passengers, or if any compensation was offered for the mishap.
Ventura can welcome as many as 3,192 passengers, but one luggage cage holds only 15-20 bags, depending on the overall sizes and dimensions of different bags.
It is common for bags belonging to the same party to be on the same cage, so one passenger or family may have had several bags damaged in this incident.
There were no delays reported with Ventura‘s departure from Southampton today.
The ship has now set sail on a 14-night roundtrip sailing to the Canary Islands, with additional ports of call in Portugal and Spain along the way.
The itinerary also features six sea days to allow guests to thoroughly enjoy the 116,017-gross ton vessel and all its amenities, such as the four pools (don’t take your luggage there), sports deck, relaxing spa, fantastic dining, and children’s facilities.
How Cruise Ships Handle Luggage
When cruise travelers turn their luggage over to porters at the pier on embarkation day, those porters ensure the luggage is added to an appropriate luggage cage for the proper vessel.
Depending on the ship’s size and passenger capacity, there may be dozens of cages in use for several hours as all luggage is brought onboard.
The luggage is then transported through security checkpoints and scanned appropriately before being brought onto the vessel. Cruise ship crew members then distribute the bags to designated cabins according to luggage tags.
When luggage tags are unreadable or lost – as may have happened with the accidental dunking – the bags are often brought to a central area and passengers are advised to check that area if they are missing any luggage.
Occasionally, if a passenger cannot find their bag and there are no unclaimed bags remaining, a notice may be sent to all guests’ cabins urging them to double check that they did not accidentally receive the wrong bag.
Protecting Your Luggage
Cruise lines regularly advise travelers to keep all valuables, as well as items such as medication and passports, in their carryon bags rather than turn these items over to porters.
If guests pack lightly enough, and their bags are a small enough size, they can also maneuver all their bags onboard themselves, not turning any luggage over to porters at all.
This is a great way to keep luggage safe, but it may not always be possible if guests are taking a long cruise or sailing consecutive voyages, or if their luggage needs are simply more extensive, such as for a family or if equipment such as CPAP machines needs to be brought onboard.
Read More: 6 Ways to Protect Your Cruise Ship Luggage
Labeling luggage inside and out, as well as using multiple luggage tags with information clearly printed, will help guests recover their luggage if it does become lost or misdirected.
Some airports offer shrink wrap services for luggage for a small fee, which could be an option to protect bags from water damage on a rainy embarkation day, though it is unlikely to be entirely effective for luggage dropped overboard.