A couple claims to have suffered “complete humiliation” after they were booted off a cruise ship.
Elaine Chan and her husband booked a 24-day cruise on Holland America’s Zuirdam cruise ship last month but five days in the captain kicked them off.
Ms Chan told consumer group Elliott Advocacy at 8am the captain called her and her 65-year-old husband into his office and explained there had been a situation two days earlier after the ship arrived in St Petersburg, Russia, and people were trying to leave.
The captain told them during this particular incident a number of guests on board the ship had become abusive towards crew members and one of them shoved an employee.
One of the crew members identified the guest as Ms Chan’s husband, a claim the pair denied.
Ms Chan said she witnessed two men, one of them Asian, becoming vocal leaving the ship with the Asian man appearing to shove a crew member.
She believes her husband was misidentified by a witness.
But their denial wasn’t heard and the captain told them they had to leave the ship in Helsinki, Finland.
Ms Chan claims she was handed an envelope with two tickets back to San Francisco, and the captain had “forced” them to leave the cruise in two hours otherwise the couple would miss their flight.
She claimed she begged staff to check CCTV but was instead given a written explanation of the accusations against her husband.
“Your husband participated in a scene where staff members were verbally abused. This abuse became physical when he and another guest attempted to push their way off the ship in port at St Petersburg,” the note read.
“As a result, a staff member required medical attention.”
The couple has since asked again for Holland America to review CCTV footage and offered to provide photos of what they were doing on the day the incident occurred to compare.
They also agreed to pay for a lie detector test.
Holland America allegedly declined to provide any evidence to support its claim Mr Chan had assaulted a crew member.
It said in an email to the pair while it regrets “the final response could not be more favourable” it hopes the couple will use Holland America in future travel plans.
Michelle Couch-Friedman, who wrote the article on Elliott Advocacy, questioned if Mr Chan injured a staff member why would Holland America welcome him back on board?
Ms Chan asked whether Holland America’s decision to kick the couple off the cruise was legal. She claimed they also didn’t get a refund.
According to the cruise’s website, under section 17 of the Cruise Contract, “once the cruise has commenced, if a guest seriously affects the safety, wellbeing or enjoyment of themselves or any other person onboard, the Captain has the right to confine, sedate or disembark the guest”.
“In such cases, we are not responsible for any expenses including your return home. In addition, you will not be entitled to any refunds,” the section reads.
“While the Captain will always act reasonably in these circumstances, you accept that the safety, wellbeing and enjoyment of everyone onboard, comes first.”
A Holland America spokeswoman said in a statement the safety, security and comfort of guests and employees was its highest priority.
“In rare instances when inappropriate guest behaviour violates the terms of their cruise contract, including not following the orders of ship’s officers or making offensive physical contact with crew, guests are disembarked from the vessel,” the statement read.