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?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Professional Services Firm - Oxford

£21000 - £24000 per annum + 21 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Technical Support...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor