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Mutiny on cruise titan

Jan. 23: Passengers on board the Queen Mary 2, the world’s largest cruise ship, are threatening to stage a sit-in protest after three Caribbean stop-offs were cancelled.

The luxurious liner, which is running on only three of its four propeller pods after hitting the side of a shipping channel last week, was due to call in at St Kitts, Barbados and Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, during its latest cruise but is instead sailing straight to Rio de Janeiro.

As a result, its 2,528 passengers have spent almost six consecutive days at sea with only an unscheduled stop in Fort Lauderdale and are growing increasingly angry.

A group of between 30 and 100 passengers are discussing their plans for a sit-in protest after being offered “inadequate compensation”.

They are due to disembark at Rio de Janeiro after a 12-day cruise from New York that has cost up to '17,000.

But after the three highlights of the trip were cancelled, they have been discussing plans to remain on board until the “inadequate” compensation is reconsidered.

Cunard Line has offered a 50 per cent refund on the cost of their cruise. About 1,500 new passengers are due to join the liner at Rio de Janeiro but they will not be able to board if the sit-in goes ahead.

Jack Coveney, a passenger from Clipstone, Notts, is aboard the ship on a 38-day cruise costing up to '46,000.

He said: “A group of people are suggesting that passengers who are due to disembark at Rio de Janeiro should stay in their cabins and perform a sit-in unless the compensation package is improved. They are extremely angry because they have spent their life savings on the trip of a lifetime, and it has been completely ruined.

“Cunard Line have handled the whole episode badly. One group is organising a legal challenge to the compensation package.”

The current problems began on January 17, when the 150,000-ton liner set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after picking up new passengers. Despite having a local pilot on the bridge it hit the wall of the shipping canal and one of its four propeller “pods”was damaged. It made its way back into port for emergency repairs and did not resume its journey until January 19, with its speed significantly impaired.

Passengers were told that the three Caribbean stops were being cancelled only after the liner set sail.

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