There is growing anger among passengers on the luxury Queen Mary 2 cruise liner over an offer of compensation after the ship was forced to abandon three stops.
The QM2 is the world's largest and most expensive cruise ship
Holidaymakers have accused the ship's operator of downplaying the scale of outrage on board, and have spurned an offer to refund half the cost of trip.
Passengers have threatened to refuse to disembark when the ship reaches Brazil to prevent it continuing its journey.
The QM2 changed its itinerary after an accident delayed its Florida departure.
It was forced to cancels stops in the Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Barbados, and Salvador in Brazil after one of its propellers was damaged on departing from Fort Lauderdale, leaving it sailing two days behind schedule.
Passengers say they were only informed of the revised route once they were at sea.
'Distorting the truth'
QM2's operator, Cunard, says it has offered a 50% refund to about 1,000 people due to disembark at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"Most people are quite happy with the compensation offer but a relatively small group are not and they have had a number of meetings with the captain," PA news quoted a Cunard spokesman as saying.
"One of the things they have referred to is not leaving their cabins when they get to Rio."
However, passengers say the offer 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 the total cost their holidays.
Passenger Alan Berg, 63, from Manchester, UK, said Cunard is covering up the strength of feeling on the ship.
"The simple fact is that virtually all 2,500 passengers are dissatisfied with the offer.
"The spokesman for Cunard is distorting the truth. Why would there have been two meetings held with approximately over 1,000 people at each?" he told the BBC News website.
"Also to rub salt into the wounds, Cunard have told our travel agent that if we wish to switch flights because of the curtailment of our time in Rio, they will charge us $1,000 dollars a couple.
"What a cheek when they are responsible for us arriving a day late!"
Another passenger, Victoria Raistrick, told the BBC News website there was "total unrest on board, even after several meetings with the Commodore".
She said passengers are considering taking legal action against Cunard if it does not reconsider its compensation offer.
The ship is scheduled to complete its full journey in Los Angeles on 22 February.
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.
My friends Jim and Gaynor McLellan have saved up for ages to go on this cruise of a lifetime only to have it taken away by the incompetence of Cunard and the derisory compensation adding insult to injury. The Cunard line knew at Fort Lauderdale what was happening with the pod and took on extra provisions on board before setting sail.
They announced after 5hrs sailing they would be going straight to Rio.
Not only that they would miss their connecting flights back home to the UK.
Over 1200 passengers have signed a petition to have the compensation raised or they will not disembark at RIO!!
Tom Smith, Stevenston, Ayrshire
My parents and Uncle and Aunty are all at sea on this most expensive ferry ride from hell. I have heard from them on a daily basis since this fateful journey began and I can tell you they are extremely disappointed and dissatisfied with their horrendous holiday and above all the compensation they have been offered. They have been attending the meetings on board and yes I totally agree, they should with the rest of the passengers stage a mutiny when they arrive at Rio on Friday. I feel that Cunard were obliged to discuss the problems that had occurred when in port at Fort Lauderdale to give the passengers an opportunity to disembark or continue with their journey - this certainly was not the case.
I have told them to stand their ground with all the passengers and ensure they do not leave the ferry boat!... without being 100% satisfied with their compensation this will ensure there peace of mind that Cunard gave them a fair deal and that maybe just maybe them may sail with them again.
I have been in regular touch with a dear friend on the QM2. It is obvious that Cunard has downplayed how crippling the damaged pod has been to the ship's ability to make speed and how widespread the disaffection among passengers is. Cunard has gotten itself between the proverbial rock and hard place: To liberalize the compensation being offered would be to acknowledge additional liability, while to stand fast in the face of mounting indignation could very well result in a public-relations disaster. Cunard got itself into this mess. Will it be able to get itself out?
Shaun Mullen, Newark, Delaware, USA
My parents are on the cruise with a group of six friends. They have all been really looking forward to this holiday, especially my parents, who have never been on a cruise before. They are all hugely disappointed at not being able to visit any of the Islands and not having any time in Rio. They feel that they should have been offered the opportunity NOT to continue with the cruise at Fort Lauderdale as the cruise is now not as advertised or what they had paid for. My parents and their friends are part of the majority of people who are NOT happy with compensation offered to them and will certainly never use Cunard again.
Justine Dohery, Bishops Stortford
My parents are onboard the ship and have been appalled by the disinformation being given to the media by QM's owners, Cunard. The situation onboard is clearly far more dire than Cunard dares admit. Cunard's decision to reroute the ship through the high seas (rather than through calmer Caribbean waters), and without warning the passengers of this before setting off, has left many with severe seasickness. And it's definitely not just a small minority of passengers that are threatening a mutiny (and possible legal action), most if not all of the passengers appear to be up in arms over the pathetic compensation offer that Cunard so far made.
After sailing QM2 on its "maiden caribbean" we vowed to never sail again. I could write pages on the problems. We expected a few glitches on a new ship with new crew, but that didn't explain the majority of problems. We never dreamed we'd be treated so poorly. Their offer of compensation for ruining a trip of a lifetime was a pittance of a discount... to sail on her again? I think not. I'll only let them ruin one $15,000 trip. My partner has since passed away, but more than a year later, in spite of my request, they continue to send adverts to my late partner. Not only does Cunard make mockery of customer service, they continue to inflict distress with every advert they mail. It's hard enough moving on after the loss of a life-partner, but to be reminded every month by mail just rubs salt in the wound. The QM2 is too big for her own good.
Mark Hawkins, Bartlett, IL
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
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