A GOUROCK couple fear their £6,000 dream cruise could hit the rocks.
Les Gillespie, pictured, and his wife Eleanor were looking forward to their luxury 26-night voyage from New Zealand to Singapore via Indonesia, Bali and Kuala Lumpur.
But just days before their big adventure, the couple discovered that due to ‘technical issues’ with the Norwegian Star vessel — which has previously visited Greenock — they will miss FOUR of their ports and will also spend an extra night in port before they leave.
The couple, who were due to fly out to Auckland via Dubai to board the boat on February 18, say this is completely unacceptable and are now demanding a full refund from Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Eleanor said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday but it has turned into a nightmare.
“I booked the holiday in September last year because I thought it was a good deal and it was also an early birthday present for Les as he turns 70 in June.
“But with just one week until we leave, we have discovered that we are spending an extra night in Auckland before we leave and that the boat won’t be calling at the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, Brisbane, Bali and Kuala Lumpur.
“We are so angry.
“We feel like we have been mis-sold a holiday as we’ve since discovered that there have been ongoing problems with this boat since last year.
“They have known about this problem but they still took our money.”
Eleanor says the company kept them in the dark about the issues with the ship and their change of itinerary.
She said: “We were never officially informed about the problems with the boat. It was one of my friends who told me about the fact that it had made headlines in Australia, which prompted us to contact them.
“So just a week before we go, they tell us that we’re not getting three of our port of calls and that we won’t be leaving until a day later.
“How are they getting away with selling these cruises?
“As compensation for this, we have been offered $250 dollars each plus 25 per cent off our next cruise — it’s ridiculous.
“We would like a full refund.”
The Norwegian Star vessel, which sailed in to Greenock just five months ago, recently hit the headlines in Australia after it suffered mechanical problems, forcing disgruntled passengers to disembark in Darwin, Australia.
Les only found out about this after one of the couple’s alerted them.
He said: “Our friend told us that the cruise ship was all over the Australian news after it suffered mechanical faults and missed out lots of stops.
“From what I can see, it looked like there was a riot on board as the passengers were so angry about it.
“There’s no way we want to just sit on a boat and not get our port of calls.”
Eleanor booked the holiday through Scotland’s Cruise Centre and has spent hours on the phone to them trying to sort the situation out.
She added: “They have been great but we are waiting to find out what happens next.”
Leigh Collis of Scotland’s Cruise Centre told the Tele that they are doing all they can to keep their customers informed.
He said: “This is a fluid situation. We are doing everything that we can to keep our customers informed and to make ourselves available to them.”
Norwegian Cruise Line have apologised to passengers who have been affected.
A statement said: “Due to a technical issue with the ship’s ABB-manufactured Azipod propulsion system, Norwegian Star will now sail a revised itinerary for the current cruise that departed on January 16 from Hong Kong, as well as the cruises departing on February 6, February 18 and February 24.
“The ship’s system experienced a technical malfunction on January 24, which resulted in the ship’s speed being restricted from full capacity.
“Norwegian Cruise Line sincerely apologises for this unexpected but necessary change in itinerary for our guests onboard this and the following cruises.”
The statement continues: “We understand that our guests were looking forward to the original itinerary, and it is always our intention to sail that whenever possible.
“All guest activities, amenities and services onboard the ship are functioning normally.
“While the speed of the vessel has been affected, there has been no interruption to any guest services and there are no safety concerns.
“Safety and security is, and will always remain, our number one priority.
“The itineraries for the February 18 cruise are being finalised, and will be shared with guests in the coming days.”