A French tourist was thrown off a 'dream' cruise holiday after staging a protest over cancelled stops.
Alain Jan, 53, a chef who lives on the island of Reunion, was booked on the trip with his wife. It was meant to be a luxury cruise around the "Vanilla islands" of Madagascar, Maurice, Reunion and the Seychelles on the Costa neoRiviera liner.
Two days into the trip, the captain announced that three stops around the island of Madagascar would be cancelled due to a plague epidemic.
The island is suffering with an outbreak of bubonic and pneumonic plague that the World Health Organisation has said could be a risk to other Indian Ocean regions. Over 1,000 people in Madagascar are infected and more than 100 have died.
Mr Jan said the three cancellations were understandable for health reasons, but that two further stops were then cancelled as well as the stop at Mauritius being canned.
Passengers were then told they'd receive €150 to spend on board as recompense - and this did not go down well.
"Things started heating up - €150 when a major part of the trip is cancelled and a drink on board costs €5," Alain told The Sun.
"That evening, we organised a protest in the restaurant. There were 60 of us banging our fists on the table to alert other cruise passengers to this con job."
There was also a second protest in a theatre after the captain refused to change course.
The captain then rang the local police chief who came on board.
Mr Jan explained that he asked to speak to the French ambassador but that the policeman asked the captain if he wanted to disembark anyone and he pointed to back to him.
He then spent two nights in a hotel in the Seychelles before being flown home to Reunion on a flight paid for by Costa.
He says that the cruise liner turned into a 'floating prison', and that he felt 'ripped off', suggesting Costa knew of the plague cases but were not forthcoming about the change of programme before the cruise set off.
Costa Cruises denies this claim. A spokesperson told the Telegraph.: "The company made every effort to maintain the stop-offs on Madagascar, looking into all the alternatives," but that "security, health and wellbeing of passengers and crew are an absolute priority".
The company explained that authorities in Mauritius had demanded the liner be quarantined to ensure it had no sick passengers, adding: "Given the delays that would have created, and even longer ones if there were any suspect cases on board, and considering that passengers were already on board, the company was forced to restrict its trip to the Seychelles and Reunion."
The best cruise holidays for 2018
The best cruise holidays for 2018
2018 is set to be a bumper year for cruising, with innovative new ships launching, hard-to-reach destinations being introduced and more experiences on land creating holidays of a lifetime.
From electric car racing and laser tag at sea, to a celebratory trip to the Galapagos Islands, here's our pick of the most epic cruise holidays to take in 2018...
Part of Silversea’s new Couture Collection, which allows travellers to discover amazing, isolated places on Earth with five to 11-day land programmes, the Tibet: Standing on the Rooftop of the World itinerary includes the chance to observe morning prayers in a Buddhist nunnery, visit the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism, unwind with a meditation class led by a monk and picnic at the Yamdrok Yumtso Lake. The extraordinary programme can be added to the 16-day Tokyo to Hong Kong cruise (from £7,100) departing on 28 September 2018 or the 15-day Hong Kong to Tokyo cruise (£6,600) departing on 14 October 2018. The five-day land programme is priced from £12,499 per person.
Launching in spring 2018, the Carnival Cruise Line's 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon will offer a wide range of onboard innovations, including a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and a delicious array of dining choices. The ship will be the first to feature a colourful Dr. Seuss-themed WaterWorks Park and the wide range of accommodations will include spa cabins, tropical-inspired Havana staterooms add extra-roomy staterooms for families. Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage on 2 April 2018 with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port before heading to the States. The fly-cruise costs from £1,399 per person and stops in Livorno, Rome, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Messina, Valletta and Cagliari.
2018 is a year of anniversaries for the Galapagos Islands, with it being the 50th anniversary of it being managed as a national park and the 40th anniversary of the archipelago as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Celebrate the stunning islands by snorkelling with sea lions, walking across lava fields and marvelling at uniquely fearless wildlife on a seven-night luxury cruise. Pura Aventura's comprehensive Galapagos by Sea cruise allows you to spend two days exploring the Ecuadorian capital of Quito with a local guide, before flying out to the Galapagos and boarding a first-class yacht for the cruise. Expect to see giant tortoises, flamingos, rare Galapagos penguins and marine iguanas. The holiday costs from £4,825 per person and departs throughout 2018.
According to ABTA, of people who have never been on a cruise, 25 to 34-year-olds are the most interested in taking one, followed by 18 to 24-year-olds. With millennials in mind, Uniworld's new cruise brand U by Uniworld for 21 to 45-year-olds launches in April 2018, offering terrific experiences, such as sampling Budapest's abandoned buildings that have been transformed into trendy bars and clubs, chef’s table cooking classes inspired by your cruise destination aboard the ship and painting classes while sipping local wine. Try the eight-day Rolling On The Rhine (from £1,499 per person), which travels from Amsterdam to Frankfurt.
TUI has rebranded from Thomson and announced Marella Cruises as the new name for Thomson Cruises. Marella means 'shining sea' in Celtic and the cruise line is set to receive a new ship for 2018: the Marella Explorer. Based in Majorca from May, the ship will offer two new cabin types, a wider range of dining and top-notch entertainment. Marella is also launching exciting new itineraries across Asia for winter 2018. The 14 adults-only cruises aboard Marella Discovery will take in fascinating locations including Mumbai, Cambodia and Singapore. Try the Adventure to India cruise which costs from £1,488 per person and takes in Oman, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Mangalore and Kerala over 14 nights, departing on 29 November 2018.
2018 will see the arrival of the largest and most adventure-packed ship in the world, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas. Launching in April, the ship will feature the two-level Ultimate Family Suite as the world's most cutting-edge family stateroom (it includes a cinema room, in-room slide, and LEGO wall!), along with an AquaTheatre, the world's tallest waterslide at sea, a Bionic Bar and exciting places to dine. A seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise costs from £845 per person and departs on 21 April 2018 from Barcelona, stopping in Palma de Mallorca, Marseille, La Spezia, Rome and Naples.
Holidaymakers of all ages will revel in the chance to try out the newest features on Norwegian Bliss, launching in spring 2018. With a two-level electric car race track, an open-air laser tag course and two multi-storey waterslides, there has never been a better time to rally the whole family for a summer cruise. As well as daytime fun for the whole family, Norwegian Bliss boasts fine dining restaurants, an a la carte dessert venue and beautiful bars. Try the seven-day winter sun Eastern Caribbean cruise departing each Saturday from November and calling at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. A premium all-inclusive cruise costs from £1,119 per person, based on the 17 November departure. Visit cruiseexperts.org for more information about cruising.
Viking Cruises is set to offer its first river and ocean combination cruises in 2018. The river and ocean cruises provide travellers with the unique opportunity to explore legendary rivers and mighty seas in one trip. On the Rhine & Viking Shores & Fjords cruise, sailing on a Viking Longship and Viking Sun, you'll experience highlights of the Rhine River and discover Nordic wonders by sea over 15 days. You'll take in six countries and 15 ports, immersing yourself in rich cities including Basel and Cologne along the way. In Amsterdam, you'll board small ship Viking Sun and head for the North Sea to Skagen, Denmark, before sailing through Norway’s dramatic fjords and disembarking in Bergen. The cruise starts from £4,495 per person and departs on 30 June 2018.
In 2018, Disney Cruise Line’s Star Wars Day at Sea will transport families to a galaxy far, far away. During this special day long celebration, Jedis, Wookies, Droids and Stormtroopers will join guest onboard and give little ones the chance to take part in Jedi training and put their new-found skills to the test in a final face-off with Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister. Other activities during the day include Star Wars-themed arts and crafts for the whole family and the Summon the Force deck celebration, where guests can unleash the Force with games, music and a galactic dance party. Star Wars Day at Sea is available on 15 Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean sailings. A seven-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise calling at British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Disney Castaway Cay with a Star Wars Day at Sea costs from £1,269 per person, based on a 24 February 2018 departure from Florida. Visit cruiseexperts.org for more information about cruising.
Sovereign has added cruises to its tailor-made offering and partnered with the likes of Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea to add extra-special land experiences to five-star sailings. Its holiday with Seabourn invites you to take an overnight trip on the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from London to Venice, followed by a two-night city break to relax at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice, before setting sail from on Seabourn's seven-night Adriatic and Greek Glories cruise to Sibenik in Croatia, Kotor in Montenegro and Corfu, Lefkada, Gythion and Nafplion in Greece. The nine-night holiday costs from £6,130 per person and departs on 7 June 2018.