Passengers protest against the cruise’s constant problems
Passengers protest against the cruise’s constant problems Contributed

Couple angry over cruise nightmare

AN URRAWEEN couple have had their trip of a lifetime turned into a holiday from hell on a cruise around New Zealand.

Mark and Leonie Tipping blasted P&O Cruises for offering an “insulting” $100 on-board credit for problems the cruise encountered when the main starboard engine broke down.

The couple saved for years for the cruise on board the Pacific Sun, which was to take them around the North and South islands of New Zealand.

Instead, early engine trouble saw them crawling from port to port, until finally at Akaroa, the engine gave out entirely and the passengers were told that the rest of the tour of the South Island would not take place.

What angered the passengers most, however, was that after being told the cruise was being cut short, they were not allowed off the ship to make their own way back to Australia, according to Mr and Ms Tipping.

Rather than a short flight back home, they had to endure six days of slow sailing in rough seas, with one engine, a broken air-conditioner in their cabin, overflowing toilets, no hot water, broken coffee machines, upset staff, angry passengers and the unwelcome partridge-in-a-pear-tree of arriving back in Newcastle 24 hours behind schedule.

This meant that the Tippings had missed the flight they had booked to get home, adding further insult to injury and further costs to an already costly holiday.

While stuck at Akaroa, 1500 of the ship's passengers gathered on the deck to protest against their treatment, to no effect.

When Mr Tipping asked about the possibility of taking one of the tendering vessels to shore to leave the cruise, he said that he was simply told “that is just not an option” without being given any reasons.

According to the Tippings, when they asked about any possible compensation, they were told that the elements of a cruise had been satisfied, in that they received meals and a bed to sleep on.

The $100 on-board credit, that was offered in recompense for missing out on Milford Sound and Dunedin in the South Island – or to put it another way, $50 per missed attraction – could not go far in six days of sailing and the Tippings said it was nowhere near enough to make up for a “horror trip”.

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