January 27, 2006

QM2 passengers to get full refund

The QM2
QM2 passengers have threatened a sit-in protest
Some passengers on the cruise liner Queen Mary 2 are to get a full refund after damage forced the ship to miss ports-of-call, the operating firm says.
Cunard, which had earlier offered a 50% refund, said all those disembarking at Rio de Janeiro would get the money.
The ship - based in Southampton, Hants - has missed three scheduled port stops, following a propeller accident, since leaving the US on 19 January.
Some passengers had been threatening a sit-in protest at the 50% offer.
1. Ship departs New York 15 Jan
2. Unscheduled stop at Ft Lauderdale 17 Jan - departs then returns to port after accident - finally leaves 19 Jan
3. St Kitts: dropped from itinerary
4. Barbados: dropped from itinerary
5. Salvador: dropped from itinerary
6. Due to arrive Rio de Janeiro 27 Jan
They said this was inadequate and initiated a group lawsuit against Cunard.
The ship, which is on a 38-day cruise around Latin America, is expected to arrive at Rio on Friday - a day behind schedule.
About 1,000 people are waiting to board, but some of those already on the ship had threatened to lock themselves in their cabins in protest to prevent the vessel continuing its journey.
Caribbean islands
The QM2 had to cancel stops at the Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Barbados and Salvador in Brazil after damaging a propeller pod when it set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 17 January.
It spent two unscheduled days at the port as divers inspected the ship, before continuing on reduced power.
Passengers say Cunard told them the cruise would no longer be calling at the destinations only once they were out at sea.
The Cunard spokesman said it had originally been hoped passengers would find "plenty to enjoy" on board, even if the vessel did not stop as scheduled at the three ports.
"We're sorry that despite the best efforts of officers and crew this has not proved to be the case for a significant number of people," he said.
"We realise that the mood on board might have further contributed to this."
He added that Cunard's managing director was travelling to Rio and would be "personally meeting" passengers as they disembarked.
'Still angry'
Cunard is owned by Carnival Corporation, and David Dingle, managing director of Carnival UK, said the first 12 days of the cruise had been affected and passengers disembarking in Rio would get a full refund.
"Those sailing all the way to Los Angeles will receive a partial refund, acknowledging the fact that first 12 days of their cruise has been affected in this way," he said.
David Ashton, whose parents Sarah and Peter Ashton, from Coventry, are on the cruise, said the refund was welcome but it would not make up for everything that had happened.
"Obviously there's been a lot stress. They're not happy with the situation full stop.
"I think now Cunard are not going to have any mad protest, but people are still angry."

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