January 26, 2006

Carnival's Cunard faces class action suit from Queen Mary 2 passengers

LONDON (AFX) - Cunard Line Ltd, a unit of Carnival Corp, is facing a class action lawsuit from passengers on board its luxury liner Queen Mary 2 after the liner was forced to cancel three stops when one of its propellers was damaged on leaving Florida, the British Broadcasting Corp said.

More than 200 passengers are so far involved in the group litigation and more are joining, Cardiff-based Capital Law said, according to the BBC's website.

Cunard offered a 50-pct refund to about 1,000 passengers on the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship. However, passengers rejected the offer, with some threatening to refuse to disembark when the ship reaches Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on Friday.

Holidaymakers said the refund applies only to the cost of the cruise and does not address the cost of flights or hotels at the aborted destinations, which they say form a significant part of their total holiday cost.

Cunard President Carol Marlow said the firm sympathised with the passengers, but felt the compensation offer was generous.

The QM2 is sailing two days behind schedule and has abandoned stops in the Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Barbados, and Salvador in Brazil. It is scheduled to complete its journey in Los Angeles on Feb 22.

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