Costa Allegra passengers tell tales of three days at sea without power

 

After 72 hours existing on a relentless diet of bread and cold cuts, washing in mineral water and braving the stench of backed up toilets, the passengers of the crippled Costa Allegra limped into the Seychelles today.

Although conditions never quite resembled the Raft of the Medusa, tired and dirty holidaymakers who had paid £5,000 for the 14-day luxury cruise said they had feared they might have to abandon ship when it lost power after a fire on Monday.

Thirty-one Britons were among those offered two weeks rest and recuperation in the luxury Indian Ocean resort by the beleaguered cruise company as they made land safely in Port Victoria.

Some described confusion and panic after a general emergency was declared following the generator fire which saw smoke billowing from the engine room. Others complained they had been treated “like cattle”.

The ship's captain, Niccolo Alba, in only his second voyage in charge, told waiting reporters that the alarm was sounded and the lifeboats were lowered when the Allegra started drifting in waters notorious for pirates.

He praised the 413 strong crew. “They all followed my instructions to the letter, and they all behaved as great professionals,” he said.

Half of the 636 passengers took up the company’s offer of a holiday on the exclusive island of Mahe. The remainder said they wanted to get home to loved ones as soon as possible.

Costa Cruises is battling a public relations crisis in the wake of the incident which follows the capsize of the Costa Concordia last month with the loss of 32 lives.

This time only two people were slightly injured when they fell in the dark which followed the generator fire. One woman was taken away by ambulance when the ship docked and another helped down the gangway.

Despite the presence of the Red Cross no others needed medical attention and the holidaymakers – average age 55 - were instead whisked away to their free accommodation and the promise of a full refund on their cruise.

The main issue was the sweltering heat and lack of air conditioning which turned the luxury cabins and staterooms into stinking no-go areas.

Passengers were forced to sleep on deck and take advantage of the tropical bruise as they were towed to land by a French tuna vessel.

David Tinson from Headley Down, Hampshire, said.  “They treated everyone like cattle, with absolute contempt.”

Pam Morrey, from Stoke on Trent, who was celebrating her 60th birthday with a cruise said it was lucky that there had been no serious problems.

“No one was washing, everyone’s hands were in the food, I’m staggered there wasn’t an outbreak of dysentery or something,” she said.

Others were equally relieved. “It could have been worse than it was,” said Gordon Bradwell, 72, from Athens, Georgia who was marking his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife Eleanor. “It could have been disastrous ... we're here, we're alive.”

Austrian doctor Thomas Faller, 66, was more relaxed “It was not dramatic. It was quiet. After (the fire was out) it was just boring,” he said.

The authorities were putting the best gloss on events. “The fact we have a carnival on, the weather is great, and the fact they want to continue their holidays is great for them and great for us,” said Srdjana Janosevic, spokeswoman for the president of the Seychelles. “It means this potentially tragic situation has a happy ending.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie