Passengers fly home early as Marella cancels cruise

By Lisa James
Home » Passengers fly home early as Marella cancels cruise

Passengers on a back-to-back Marella cruise in the Caribbean are being flown home early after the operator cancelled its next sailing.

Marella Discovery 2’s Pride of Panama itinerary, due to start this week, has been cancelled because of what the cruise line says is an ‘unforeseen technical issue that will impact our ability to deliver our full food and beverage offering’.

Additional TUI flights are being organised to fly everyone home from Montego Bay on Tuesday, but passengers have been told they may not fly back into the airport they departed from.

They’ve also been told to speak to travel insurers about ‘details like airport parking’.

TUI has said passengers will get a pro rata refund for the second week of their cruise, as well as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ of £300 per adult and £150 per child in holiday vouchers towards a future cruise.

But some passengers have said they don’t want a holiday voucher and have demanded the goodwill gesture be paid in cash instead.

Excursions for the cancelled sailing will be refunded before passengers leave the ship if they booked trips on board. Passengers who booked via the Marella website will have to wait seven to 10 days for the refund, while those who booked via a TUI store will have to ‘pop back to your shop when you get home’ to get the refund issued.

In a letter to affected passengers, Marella said: “Instead of continuing into the second week of your cruise we’ll now be flying you home from Montego Bay on Tuesday 31 January.

“To make sure we have enough aircraft to accommodate everyone, we are flying two additional TUI planes to Jamaica and we may also buy some seats on third party airlines.

“We don’t have the flight details yet but it’s possible some of you may not return to your original airport. We will arrange UK airport transfers but it might be worth speaking to your travel insurers about details like airport parking.

“As you can appreciate, re-planning the flying is a big job and we still have a lot to organise. We’ll continue to update you as we finalise the plans.

“Please rest assured we are working round the clock to make sure you’re well taken care of.”

The letter also said: “We appreciate that it’s short notice and we are sorry.

“We look forward to welcoming you back soon.”

A TUI spokesperson told Travel Gossip: “Due to a technical issue with our catering facilities on Marella Discovery 2 we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming Pride of Panama cruise. Whilst the ship is currently able to deliver our full food and beverage offering to customers currently onboard, maintenance is required to take place that would impact the cruise due to depart Jamaica on Tuesday 31 January.

“We understand how disappointing this will be and would like to apologise to our customers who have been impacted, and thank them for their patience and understanding at this time.

“Our customer teams are already in contact with those customers impacted and are supporting them with their future travel plans. All customers impacted have been offered future holiday vouchers as a gesture of goodwill.

Marella Discovery 2 is currently on day six of the seven-night Flavours of the Caribbean cruise.  The Pride of Panama Cruise seven-night cruise, which has been cancelled, was due to commence on Tuesday 31 January.

“The next scheduled cruise on Tuesday 7 February is due to operate as planned.”

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