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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 January 2006, 18:28 GMT
QM2 passengers make mutiny threat
The QM2
The QM2 is the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship
Passengers on the luxury Queen Mary 2 cruise ship are threatening to mutiny after the ship set sail from Florida with a damaged propeller.

They have said they will refuse to disembark when the ship reaches Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next week, to prevent it from continuing its journey.

It has dropped three ports of call because it is running at reduced speed after the accident.

Cunard Lines, which operates the ship, says it has offered compensation.

On tow

The world's largest liner is on a 38-day trip around South America.

However it is running two days behind schedule, with one of its four propulsion pods out of commission.

The British-registered ship had to be towed back to Fort Lauderdale in Florida on 17 January after one of its motors hit an underwater channel.

Passengers have reacted angrily to the change of plans, saying they were only told scheduled stops - at the Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Barbados, and Salvador in Brazil - were cancelled once the ship set sail from Fort Lauderdale.

The mood among passengers is extremely angry and becoming more so
Passenger Alan Berg

Many passengers planned to meet relatives at the aborted destinations and have paid for hotels and sight-seeing trips.

"We have been lied to and misled," passenger Alan Berg, 63, from Manchester, UK, told the BBC News website.

"We should have been allowed the option of getting off at Fort Lauderdale and not taking the cruise at all. It is not in fact a cruise now but a rather a voyage by sea to Rio. Many guests are on once-in-a-lifetime holidays and I have seen several in tears.

'Held hostage'

"The mood among passengers is extremely angry and becoming more so."

Mr Berg said many of the 2,500 passengers are demanding a full refund and are threatening to refuse to disembark at Rio de Janeiro or pay for anything on board.

He says passengers have held several angry meetings with the Queen Mary's captain, Commodore Ronald Warwick, but have not yet reached a satisfactory outcome.

Passengers who are travelling to Rio will be given a 50% refund
Cunard Lines spokesman

One passenger described the situation as "being held hostage by Cunard and he felt like a prisoner", Mr Berg said.

A spokesman from Cunard said: "The ship is proceeding on three engines and therefore is moving slightly slower than it would on four engines.

"We have 1,000 passengers that are being picked up at Rio, and it's essential it arrive in Rio on time.

"Passengers who are travelling to Rio will be given a 50% refund of the fare that they have paid."

Latest mishap

He said the company would not offer passengers a bigger discount than the 50% already made. He added that Cunard would have to react to the threat of a sit-in "when the time comes".

The ship is scheduled to complete its full journey in Los Angeles on 22 February.

The QM2 is the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship. The 150,000 tonne vessel is 345 metres (1,132ft) long and 41 metres (135ft) high.

This latest mishap is not the first time the liner has known trouble.

Fifteen people were killed when a gangway collapsed while the ship was in dry dock at St Nazaire, France, in 2003.

In 2004, she arrived back home from her maiden voyage late after bow doors covering propellers failed to shut in Portugal.

The BBC News website invited comments from passengers either on the QM2 or those affected by the problems. Below is a selection of the comments we received.

It is very worrying, my husband and I are joining the ship at Valperiso on 8th Feb. Are Cunard planning to repair the broken pod, or does it intend to miss out further destinations on its journey around South America. A journey of a lifetime could potentially end up as a nightmare. I guess it's a case of watch this space!
Sue, Southport Merseyside

This is not a cruise, it's a high speed passage from NY to Rio. We paid to see the Caribbean and Salvador and we have got 7 days + on a ship. We all want our all money back!
Sandra Ashton, Coventry

I hate to be on board the QM2 right now having to listen to belligerent and bellicose passengers talking about 'mutiny' and being 'kidnapped.' Whatever decision the Cunard managment made would have adversly affected some people. The irate should "cool it" and enjoy their cruise (and let others enjoy their cruise).
Christopher Berry, Woodbridge, Virginia, USA

Many people on the ship are happy to stage a 'sit in' in Rio to force Carnival and Cunard to recognise that they can not push us around creating a very sour and down beat ferry crossing....Cunard have a Misson statement that is now a modern day hypocrisy and pack of lies!! I'm waiting for one of the 90 year olds to be escorted off in hand cuffs!!
Andy, QM2 at sea!!

Whilst I do feel sorry for the passengers on board, you have to remember that the QM2 is scheduled to drop off and collect other passengers at various stops. If they didn't try to make up time by foregoing some of its stops then the knock on effect would be even worse. I and the rest of my family are scheduled to Join the QM2 in Los Angeles on the 22nd February and would not want to miss out on our trip. It is very unfortunate but there are other passengers further down the line to consider as well. Whilst I am sure the compensation Cunard has offered doesn't completely satisfy everyone, it is still very generous.
Graham Holmes, Yucaipa USA

As father to not one but two passengers on board, I can tell you, that an offer of 50% compensation is about as adequate as taping a peice of cardboard to the gaping hole in the Titanic. These people have been lied to...and what of the 1000 in Rio yet to board?
John Templesmith, Perth Australia

My friends are on the ship, and have telephoned me in some distress. They were offered free email but the computers crashed. They say there is anarchy!
Jane Hamilton, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex

My sympathies lie with the passengers in this case. As a much heralded superlative luxury ship, shouldn't the QM2 have prepared for every eventuality? I know of many smaller cruise ships that never encounter any problems in their whole lifetimes.
Mark Omecko, Heidelberg Germany

I spent a lot of money to be in St Kitts to meet my friends for a day and for them to bring with them my mail and medicine needed here. They never arrived ! The people on the vessel including my good friends should look to history and the likes of the late Rosa Parks and stand their ground for a full refund and nothing less ! Carnival cruise lines can afford it i'm sure !
Julian Abbiati, St Kitts West Indies

Queen Mary 2 forced back to port
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