The squeaky wheel really does get the grease. After a technical delay forced the cancellation of three port calls, a group of passengers onboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 threatened to stage a sit-in unless they received a full refund of their cruise fare -- and the cruise line has decided to pay up.
Cunard has increased the original compensation offered to guests disembarking in Rio, which was a 50 percent refund. These guests now have two options: Receive a refund of full cruise fare including air, or take 50 percent of their refund in cash, plus another 75 percent as a future cruise credit for another Queen Mary 2 departure between now and the end of December 2007.
In a statement, Cunard says that they had hoped their guests would have "found much to enjoy during this liner voyage" and apologizes that "this has not proved to be the case for a significant number of people. In particular we recognize that the mood onboard may have further contributed adversely to our guests' experience ... while we believed that our initial offer would have been fair compensation, we have decided to make an additional compensatory gesture."
The ship is also running a day late and instead of arriving in Rio on January 26 as scheduled, it will arrive on January 27 -- which means some passengers will miss return flights. Because of this, all passengers on the leg to Rio will also receive a full refund of their airfare, whether it was booked by Cunard or by the passengers themselves.
Cunard's President Carol Marlow will meet the ship in Rio and is planning to personally apologize to guests onboard, and to thank the officers, captain and crew for doing their best under difficult circumstances.
Queen Mary 2 will depart for the second leg of its voyage tomorrow at 5 p.m. At this point, Cunard does not anticipate canceling any other port calls (though visits to Montevideo and Acapulco will be shortened); the ship will arrive in Los Angeles as scheduled on February 22.