(7:30 a.m. EST) -- Worried passengers due to set sail on Thomson Majesty tomorrow are questioning whether the cruise will still go ahead.
The ship has been detained in La Palma, Canary Islands, by police following the deaths of five crewmembers during a routine lifeboat drill on Sunday, but is due to set sail from Tenerife tomorrow.
Passengers are posting on the Cruise Critic message boards and Thomson's Facebook page and via Twitter to try and get information on the sailing. A link on the line's Twitter feed which states: "For the latest news regarding Thomson Majesty please click here" takes passengers to a page which details airline delays -- but nothing about the next sailing.
Thomson posted the following on its Facebook page in response to numerous questions about whether the ship will set sail as planned:
“Hi All, We thank you for your patience in this matter and I understand the frustrations. As soon as we've got further new and up-to-date information we'll be in contact with you to further update you. James.”
According to one member, berrybrow, the delay is being caused by extensive safety checks.
“They were testing all the lifeboat falls today which involved lowering the boat, sailing it away and attaching a huge bag to each fall, this was then hauled up and pumped full of hundreds of tons of seawater. If they all pass I believe they are hoping the ship will get a safety certificate and can cruise again from friday.
“It's good to know that the lifeboat cables are being tested. I'm sure a lot of people will be relieved to hear that. Wonder why Thomson can't share the news that this is being done to reassure future pax?”
Thomson also updated its compensation package to those affected passengers with a statement on the message boards:
"Customers on a package holiday with us are being given a full refund of their holiday cost, including their flights. For those who are on a cruise and stay holiday, they're being given a 50% refund of their total holiday cost to cover the cruise element of their holiday. They've also been taken to Tenerife to continue the stay. All customers who've been affected by the curtailment of the cruise will be contacted by our After Travel Customer Support Team within 28 days to confirm their refund.
Thomson Majesty is owned and managed not by Thomson, but by Louis Cruises and Thomson has been directing all operational and safety questions to the Greek-based line.
The accident happened when a winch cable snapped during a routine lifeboat drill as the boat was being winched back up. It flipped over, trapping five crewmembers in the water; another three were taken to hospital and have since been discharged and are back on the ship.
--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor