No end in sight for cruise nightmare

Will Bennett talks to passengers forced to endure sub-contractors' nois e and clutter on their luxury QE2 trip

For Peter Ludlow and his fiancee, Merrilyn Wesley, their cruise on the QE2 is the third luxury sea trip that they have taken with Cunard in the past year.

The couple, from Camberley in Surrey, are used to the best and were horrified to discover that the corridor outside their cabin was littered with debris when they went on board last Saturday.

A floor sweeper, a life-jacket and a roll of carpet were lying there. In several corridors in that part of the ship, the ceilings were hanging down in an unsecured condition.

Mr Ludlow, 48, a diamond setter, was so concerned that he called out the ship's safety officer at 2.30 on Sunday morning and asked him to record officially that the corridors were in a dangerous state.

The embarrassed officer, who was used to providing a high standard of service, had to admit that Mr Ludlow was right. The complaint was logged, meaning that if a passenger had been injured, Cunard would have been liable.

Mr Ludlow and Miss Wesley, increasingly feeling as though they were bit-part players in a television sitcom, called the officer by telephone, partly for convenience but also because the deck by the purser's office was impassable.

After a few hours' sleep the couple, who paid £7,400 for the cruise to New York and the Caribbean, were awoken, not by gentle music or a waiter bearing breakfast but by the sound of workmen drilling in the cabin above, which began at 8am and continued remorselessly.

Mr Ludlow said: "It was supposed to be a dream holiday but it has turned into a nightmare. I don't think that we will be travelling with Cunard again." However, they have decided to stay with the cruise for its second leg from New York to the Caribbean. As American workmen are taking over from the British ones, who are going home for Christmas, the noise and disruption are likely to continue.

Whether Christine Hall will be able to wear the expensive ballgowns she bought specially for the cruise is open to serious doubt.

The American professor won her ticket for the cruise in a draw. She said that she was worried about wearing them because the jagged edges left by unfinished work might damage them. She might have done better to pack steel-capped boots and a hard hat instead. It was bad enough for some passengers to have to swill out their lavatories with water from ice buckets and sleep on mattresses on the floor. But even when they have got away from their cabins and the surrounding corridors, all has not

been well.

Some of the public areas were not finished at the start of the voyage. The Yacht Club Bar was full of welding equipment, a room called the Lido was closed, an outside swimming pool contained builders' rubbish and the theatre was not opened until two daysafter the QE2 left Southampton.

Workmen have been sleeping in the nursery despite the fact that a number of families with young children are among the passengers.

Even where the work has been finished, some passengers have said that it looks shoddy. In the cabin that has been allocated to Professor Hall, new panelling is already coming off the wall and some of the lights do not work.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific