(8:03 a.m. EDT) -- Nearly 500 passengers were held overnight in Lisbon, Portugal after their ship was denied leave from the port.
MV Azores was served with a court order issued by Portuguese lawyers concerning allegations of an unpaid debt, and the harbour master refused to let the ship leave for its next port of call in Bristol, UK according to the <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3030959/Hundreds-British-tourists-stranded-impounded-cruise-ship-Lisbon-harbour-unpaid-debt-owners.html" rel="nofollow" target=_blank" class="plain">Daily Mail. The ship was near the end of a 15-night Azores cruise.
Azores is currently on a long-term charter with UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages, and the line said the delay was related to a "historic local issue with the vessel's owning company, Portuscale Cruises." Reportedly, the ship was scheduled to depart at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, but left at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, when Cruise & Maritime Voyages came to an agreement with Portuguese authorities to allow the ship to sail after a 19-hour delay.
Chris Coates, Commercial Director for Cruise & Maritime Voyages, said in a statement: "The dispute involved a previous crewing issue going back to 2014 and was settled first thing this morning. On behalf of Cruise & Maritime Voyages, I would like to extend our sincere apologies for the delay and any disruption caused."
MV Azores is now en route back to the UK. Passengers on the ship will receive a 40 percent future cruise discount on selected CMV cruises and a further 10 percent off their onboard spend as compensation.
--By Jasmine Shaddock, Cruise Critic Contributor