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Travellers make waves as Artemis fails to stop at designated destinations
ANGRY passengers on board a Southampton-based cruise ship are in “revolt’’ after engine problems caused them to miss out on several stops of their Mediter-ranean voyage.
Guests on board Artemis had originally expected to visit Valencia, Naples and Gibraltar, but engine trouble has forced the ship to sail past the ports.
Six days were spent at sea until the ship docked at Athens. A revised itinerary has Artemis now calling at Rome, Cannes, Barcelona and Palma on Majorca.
Disappointed holidaymakers have told the Daily Echo that a committee will represent the 1,200 passengers in urgent talks over the disruption of the their holiday cruise as the P&O Cruises vessel was heading for the Turkish port of Kusadasi.
A P&O Cruises’ customer service team has been specially flown out from the company’s headquarters in Southampton to join the ship in Istanbul.
“The team are on board to answer all the questions from the passengers as the ship’s staff is busy with the job of running the ship,’’ said a P&O Cruises’ spokesman.
One of the passengers, 67-year-old, Richard Horobin from Southampton, is on board with wife Jill. He said: “People are extremely angry and it is not stretching the point too far to say they are in revolt over the way this cruise has been handled. Before we left Southampton we received a letter from P&O Cruises advising us we would be missing out Valencia and each passenger would receive £150 to spend on board during the voyage.
“Then, while we were at sea, the bombshell was dropped that due to continuing problems with the ship’s fourth engine we would now not be calling at Naples or Gibraltar and the visit to Majorca would be shortened to ensure we would return to Southampton on time.
“Some people have paid £2,000 each for this cruise, others made arrangements to meet friends at ports we are not now visiting, and the advertised itinerary has been drastically changed.
“According to a letter we received in our cabins from the captain we will each be receiving a refund of £200 when we are back home .’’ The P&O Cruises’ spokesman said the company has now doubled each passenger’s on-board credit from £150 to £300.
In a brief statement, the company said: “Due to a technical issue Artemis is operating at reduced speed therefore it has been necessary to make changes to the current itinerary. There are no safety issues relating to the limitation of speed. A team of engineers is currently on board working to rectify the issue.’’ The 20-night long cruise was initially advertised as a voyage, which would include ten ports in six countries, on an itinerary featuring Barcelona, Cannes, Rome, Naples, Athens, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Majorca, Valencia, Gibraltar and returning to Southampton on May 16.