Monday, March 2, 2009

Passengers unite for compensation

The anger of the Europa's passengers began to erupt on the evening of Monday 23rd February.

As my wife and I returned to the ship after an excursion, minutes before the time we were due back before sailing, my suspicions that we were about to be fleeced were aroused by the sight of other passengers leaving the ship to, presumably, wander around Mombasa.

We then checked the sailing time advertised at the ship's 'check-in' and saw, to our immediate fury, that our departure had been delayed until the following day and that we'd be taken straight to Reunion, missing Madagascar entirely.

On our return to our cabin we found the Captain's letter on the bed, offering either €300 off our bill OR €600 off a future cruise. Unfortunately, this was no joke but was an entirely serious offer.

Public meetings of the passengers over the next few days showed that none of us were happy at such a pitiful offer. Some of the Italian contingent were content to demand that the two offers should be combined, i.e. to give us both the money off now AND more against a future cruise. Many of the English-speaking customers felt that this was insufficient.

With the help of a lawyer amongst us a rather polite letter to the captain was composed. It was given to the Services desk to pass on to him, also with a copy for the Services Director. To the best of my knowledge no reply was ever received.

This is the text of the letter:

The Captain
Costa Europa Cruise Ship
26th February 2009

Dear Captain Donato,

This letter is written on behalf of all of the undersigned, who are all English-speaking passengers on the Costa Europa.

It is written in response to your circular letter dated 23rd February sent to all passengers in which you apologise for the disappointment and inconvenience caused by the further itinerary changes which were necessary as a result of the ship’s engine failure.

Your letter offers a €300 on board credit per person or, alternatively, a €600 discount on any future Costa cruise taken by 31st December 2010.

We are aware that there are other proposals being put to you by another group of passengers in which they are suggesting that you should combine the two offers that you have made.

For a variety of reasons however (predominantly involving the travel required to reach the cruise departure locations) the future cruise discount option is less attractive for most English speaking passengers than other European passengers.

In relation to the €300 on board credit, we do not consider that this represents an adequate proposal having regard to all the circumstances and the fact that the cruise itinerary has been significantly reduced from its original format.

We consider that a sum of €600 per person for both adults and children would represent a more appropriate and realistic amount on the basis that it should be paid as a cash sum on or before disembarkation in Mauritius that can be used in full or in part settlement of individual on board credit arrangements. According we invite you to agree to this counter proposal as an appropriate interim arrangement.

Since the itinerary changes have affected all passengers in different ways, this counter proposal is made on the express understanding that it is to be regarded as an interim arrangement and that in no way does it affect or limit the rights of the signatories below to pursue their own individual claims for compensation against Costa (or their travel arrangers) on their return to their respective home lands.

It is however hoped that, should you agree to this counter proposal and therefore accept responsibility for your failings, this will mean that there will be significantly fewer claims for compensation that Costa will have to deal with in the future.

Yours etc.

Of course, when insult was added to injury by the visit to Reunion being cut to an hour only, and that only because some of the passngers had to disembark there, our position hardened considerably, as I'll explain later.


  1. Hi Ship Mates

    Yes me again!!!!!

    Just to update on this bit.
    The proposal was delivered to the Customer Services on board and also to the Captain direct.
    I also handed to the Captain when I got him on stage the complete list of signatures.

    I recieved copies of this letter and the signatures delivered to my cabin (6031) at 2am the morning of disebarcation, complete with a letter stating that it had all been sent to Costa H.O. in Genoa and would be recieving attention and that I would hear from them on my return.
    Our clain for compensation has now changed somewhat, since our promised call to Reunion was aborted to a meagre probable tour to the Town for approx 40 minute after a 1 hour long wait for most of us for a transfer bus.
    We are now going for a full refund for our "ruined Cruise", (quote" the Captain on stage to us all)
    I did caych up with the Captain on our departure from the cruise, where he wished us a safe journey home, and wished us all good luck with our future claims ( *%$@**) mmmmm, really!!!!

    Your Ship Mate,

  2. Thank you terry for all you are doing

  3. This is a letter of protest sent to Costa's London Office:-
    Carnival House
    Costa Cruises, Customer Relations 5,Gainsford Street London SE1 2NE

    I don't expect that we were the only ones affected in this manner

    3rd.March 2009

    Dear Sirs

    I wish to register the following grievances in connection with the cruise on

    The Costa Europa from Mauritius on the 14th February returning to Mauritius

    On the 28th February and claim compensation for loss and inconvenience.

    Firstly in respect of the part compensation offered of 300 euros per person for

    myself and my wife, we only benefited to the extent of our on board A/c which

    totalled 434-76 euros and found it impossible to collect the balance in cash of

    165-20 euros due to the long queues and the chaos at the customer services as we

    had an early homeward flight and consequently we were amongst the first passengers

    to disembark, therefore insufficient time was available. We were informed by friends who were on a later flight and did collect their cash balance that they queued for over

    1 hour 30 mins.

    I therefore put it to you that it would be a simple & honourable matter to refund the 165- 20 euros by way of credit to my MasterCard a/c (I fail to understand why this could not have been done automatically) or alternately to send a cheque to my home address above.

    I would also reaffirm that I agreed with the gist of what was said in the joint letter sent to you Costa & the Captain of the Europa on the 26th February 09 stating that the compensation offered was inadequate in the circumstances. These being that only the Seychelles and Mombassa were visited out of the original 6 or 7 ports of call, ignoring the 1 hour spent visiting a market in Reunion which is neither here nor there. The ship’s faulty engines were substantially to blame for this fiasco of a cruise. I

    understand for safety reasons the two stops on mainland Madagascar did not go

    ahead, which was very disappointing, but neither did the stop off on Nosy Be which

    was not affected by the unrest.

    I await your response which I trust will be a fair and acceptable one.

    Yours sincerely,

    Also while asleep one day on the side deck I was splashed a little on my sandals leg and shorts with red paint by a workman above carrying out maintenance. This should not have been carried out while passengers were underneath