Cruise-ship leak gives passengers a sinking feeling

PASSENGERS were left terrified on rough seas as their cruise ship began taking on tonnes of water in the Atlantic Ocean, following “a loud bang”.

The Royal Caribbean vessel left Southampton last Friday for a 10-night tour of the Canaries, but it was forced to make an emergency stop at the nearest port, in Vigo, North-West Spain on the Sunday.

According to holiday-makers on board, the crew managed a temporary repair until the ship arrived in port, where they were forced to close off part of it.

Paul Edwards, 49, who was travelling with his wife, two children and two friends, said they were kept in the dark about the damage, which, they were told, was a “small, technical difficulty”.

Mr Edwards, from Worcester, said: “The sea had been very rough during the day, and we were woken by a loud bang in the early hours of Sunday morning, but we eventually went back to sleep.

“When we woke the next day and opened out curtains, we suddenly realised that we had docked at the port in Vigo, which we weren’t due to arrive at until the following Saturday.”

He added: “We were told that it was a small technical problem with the stabiliser, and that we would be updated by 6pm that evening.”

But Mr Edwards’ family began seeing divers going under the ship and realised “something more serious had happened”.

The bewildered 49-year-old said: “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.

“We were only able to spend half a day in the Canary Islands and Tenerife, visiting only two out the five or six places we should have visited.

“We have massively lost out, and my son was frightened to go to sleep because he thought the ship could sink at any time.

“We paid £1,200 each for the trip, and the compensation for this is just not good enough.’

The company director claims Royal Caribbean International offered them 25% of what they paid for their £7,200 holiday, as on-board credit, and a further 25% off a future cruise, despite their traumatic experience.


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