July 19, 2005

Battle on the QE2..

Ages ago, I was disappointed that I had not moved fast enough to book tickets on the 4 or 5 day trip on the QE2 that was to be part of the Trafalgar 200 celebrations - as it sounded like the QE2 was going to be slap bang in the middle of things..... well that is what the ads said..... but it seems that is not what happened.....
"Battle lines drawn in Trafalgar QE2 storm
IAN and Mavis Buckland paid £1,500 to watch the Trafalgar 200 celebrations on board the QE2 - only to find themselves miles from the action.
They are among furious passengers who plan to consult lawyers after they missed out on the Solent spectacular, which marked the 200th anniversary of Admiral Nelson's victory at Trafalgar last month.

Travellers on the famous Cunard-owned ship claim they were told in brochures they would be at the "heart and soul" of the event which was led by the Queen when she reviewed nearly 60 ships from 35 nations.

Builder Ian, aged 55, of Boythorpe Road, Chesterfield was on the QE2 with wife Mavis, 59.
"I am fanatical about tall ships so we booked this cruise 12 months ago," he said.
"The advertisement let us believe we would be at the heart and soul of the celebrations, there would be gun smoke and war cries and we could be there, but we never saw it.

"They put a note under our cabin door telling us we could watch the re-enactment and the fireworks on TV screens but we paid to see something live not on TV," he added. Solicitors Alexander Harris said passengers were angry when they found out that the ship would be positioned three miles away from the festivities and they could not see the re-enactment of the battle or the fireworks display.

At the time, 700 people on board signed a petition to the captain complaining about the ship's position and were told it was moored so far away for safety reasons. Specialist travel litigation solicitor, Simon Taylor, of Alexander Harris, said: "We have been contacted by passengers over the last two weeks who have expressed their anger at Cunard for stating in their brochures and advertisements that the QE2 was to be the fleet flagship for the celebrations.
"Passengers have paid on average £1,500 per cabin to see the unique celebrations in their full glory as advertised in the brochure. Instead they barely saw the event at a distance and understandably feel that their trip was mis-sold.

"Cunard have offered passengers a £150 voucher towards their next Cunard cruise. Our clients are wholly unsatisfied with this offer and we will be advising them on the further steps which can be taken to obtain proper levels of compensation."

A Cunard spokesman said: "Cunard regrets that some passengers were not entirely satisfied.
"The vast majority of passengers enjoyed the trip and have written to Cunard, and to the press, to say that it was a truly wonderful experience. Because Cunard is dealing with any passenger queries on an individual basis it feels it would be inappropriate to make any further comments at this stage." 19 July 2005

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