Jon Burrows, vice president of operations at AmaWaterways, has had to cope with many challenges in his years as a tour guide – but nothing quite matches the time a woman left her husband behind on the way to join the ship and carried on the cruise without him…
I asked Jon: What’s the funniest anecdote that comes to mind to do with excursions?
He replied: ‘I have so many memories that make me smile but, yes, we have left people behind. Although the last one I can remember happened more than a decade ago, during the pre-cruise extension as guests were being transported by coach from Paris to Luxembourg to join the ship.
‘During a brief service station stop, an American couple had a disagreement. As the guests returned to the bus via the front and back doors, the guide apparently miscounted and believed everyone was back. Little did we know that the husband had been left behind at the service station but the wife said nothing during the rest of the transfer and even upon arrival at the ship.
‘Finally, a few hours later, when the reception was searching for the gentleman’s passport, the wife acknowledged that he had been left behind halfway between Paris and Luxembourg. We called the service station immediately, followed up with the US embassy and I actually had to speak with the FBI as we couldn’t locate him.
‘It wasn’t until a couple of days later we heard from the husband who had apparently made his own way home to the US the same day he had been left behind. And the wife… she continued quite happily on enjoying the whole cruise without him!
‘Another funny incident happened while I was a tour guide. About two hours after leaving the hotel, a guest gave me a big toothless smile informing me he had left his false teeth behind in the room. We had to turn around and head back to fetch his teeth. For the remainder of my guiding career, whenever I had a group staying at that hotel, I would ask all the guests on the bus to check that they had everything with them including their false teeth!
‘Things happen when you travel – it’s unavoidable – but travelling with a trustworthy company like AmaWaterways means we have experienced staff in place to handle all situations for the comfort and safety of our guests.’