An elderly couple who were excited for the cruise of a lifetime had their dream holiday end in disaster when the ship left without them, leaving them stranded in Dubai.
Arthur and Pamela Wynne, from Beaudesert in Queensland, boarded the Sea Princess ship on May 16 in Brisbane for a 106-day cruise.
The couple were on board for a total of 19 days – stopping in Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Oman – before Mrs Wynne needed antibiotics from the hospital for a urinary tract infection in Dubai.
The Wynnes claim they were followed out by staff carrying their bags before the ship sailed off without them.
‘We were immediately followed by our luggage… they knew they were not going to let us back on the ship,’ Mr Wynne told Seven News while fighting back tears.
‘It was a total disaster… [we’re] exhausted… no guidance.’
Sea Princess said the couple were told they could rejoin the cruise at a different location.
‘It was explained that once fully recovered and with correct medical clearance, the guests could rejoin the ship in Malta, Barcelona or another port in the forward itinerary but they chose not to do so,’ a Princess Crusies spokesperson said.
‘I haven’t got the money to sit in a hotel for 16 days and then buy two tickets to Malta, Barcelona. Nobody even said to us ”have you got the ability to pay?”’ Mr Wynne said.
The couple paid $46,000 for the cruise, and Mr Wynne said he was forced to pay a further $9,000 for hospital bills, hotels, taxis and flights back to Australia.
Their travel insurance company has refused to cover their trip and the couple will not be receiving a refund.
A spokesman for Princess Cruises said that they reject that they ‘abandoned’ their guests.
‘The ship’s medical team arranged ambulance transport to the hospital and our local port agent provided close support throughout,’ the spokesman said.
‘Our records show that our guests made the choice to return to Australia rather than rejoin Sea Princess to continue their world cruise.
‘It was explained that once fully recovered and with correct medical clearance, the guests could rejoin the ship in Malta, Barcelona or other port in the forward itinerary but they chose not to do so.
‘The Sea Princess team had been looking forward to welcoming them back on board.’