Passengers on board a stricken cruise ship which began taking on tonnes of water in terrifying scenes have been left furious after the only compensation they were allegedly offered was 25 per cent off another cruise.
Holidaymakers on the Navigator of the Seas vessel, part of the Royal Caribbean International company, described hearing a “loud bang” in the early hours of October 28 before the ship became damaged and began to take on water.
The ship, which had set sail from Southampton on October 26 for a 10-night tour to the Canary Islands, was forced to make an emergency stop at the nearest port in Vigo, North West Spain.
Passengers said crew members managed to make a temporary repair until it arrived at the port and were forced to close off part of the boat.
Paul Edwards was onboard the cruise liner with his wife, two children and two friends and claims that they were all kept in the dark about the damage to the ship and that it was described to passengers as a “small technical difficulty”.
The 49-year-old company owner claims Royal Caribbean International offered them 25 per cent of what they paid for their $12,900 holiday as onboard credit and a further 25 per cent off a future cruise – despite the traumatic experience.
“The sea had been very rough during the day but were woken by a loud bang in the early hours of Sunday morning and eventually went back to sleep,” Mr Edwards, who is from Worcester, said.
“When we woke the next day and opened our curtains we suddenly realised that we had docked at the port in Vigo, Which we weren’t due to arrive at until November 3.
“We were told it was a small technical problem with the stabilizer and that we would be updated by 6pm that evening.
“We started to see divers going under the boat and knew that something more serious had happened.
“A large part of the ship had taken on water and they were forced to close part of it to passengers.
“We were then told that we would be sailing again at 2pm on Monday but this had already cut our holiday short.
Mr Edwards said they were only able to spend half a day in the Canary Islands and Tenerife, only visiting two out the five or six places we should have visited.
“We have massively lost out and not to mention my son was frightened to go to sleep as he thought the ship could sink at any time,” he said.
“We often go on cruises and we have always thought highly of the company but what we have been offered is just an insult.”
The vessel, which was following the Sunshine in the Canaries cruise route, was due to end its trip in Vigo as a final call before heading back to the UK.
But the emergency meant staff were forced to dock at Vigo early, changing the itinerary to miss out other locations.
“It was meant to be an exciting family holiday and I flew my two friends out from Corfu to enjoy their first cruise with us,” Mr Edwards said.
“The queues at the customer service desk are huge because so many people are complaining.
“We are now sailing again but all the pools are closed due to the weather and we are just sitting and waiting.
“No extra entertainment has been provided by staff and no better compensation has been offered.
“We will only get half of our holiday before sailing for four nights back to the UK.”
A spokesman for Royal Caribbean said: “Navigator of the Seas is making repairs to resolve a technical issue.”
“The ship is fully operational with no impact on its manoeuvrability or the safety of our guests and crew.
“However, because of time needed to make the repair, it was necessary to modify her current itinerary.
“Navigator will now call on Vigo, Spain for an overnight stay on Sunday, October 28.
“It will then sail on to Gran Canaria, Canary Islands on Wednesday, October 31 and Tenerife, Canary Islands on Thursday, November 1.
“The ship will return to Southampton, England on Monday, November 5 as scheduled.”