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Old January 23rd, 2006, 08:36 AM
Design512 Design512 is offline
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From Cnn this morning.

The ship, the world's largest and most expensive ocean liner, had to cut three stops out of its Latin American tour because of a problem with one of its four propulsion motors, said Eric Flounders, a Cunard lines spokesman.

Cunard offered the 1,000 passengers scheduled to disembark in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a 50 percent refund to make up for missing stops in Barbados, St. Kitts and Salvador, Brazil, Flounders said.

Some were unhappy with the offer and met the captain to discuss it, the spokesman said.

"The captain has been having meetings with various groups of people. Some people have made that point to him, that they will not get off in Rio," Flounders said.

He said only a small number of passengers were protesting, but he did not know how many.

The British-flagged ship's departure last week from Port Everglades, Florida, on a 38-day voyage with 2,500 passengers to South America was delayed after one of its four propulsion motors was damaged.

Flounders said Cunard did not know until after the ship left port how much speed it would lose and how many ports of call it would have to skip to get to Rio de Janeiro on time on January 26.

Passenger Alan Berg told the British Broadcasting Corporation that many people on the ship were extremely unhappy and demanding full refunds.

"We have been lied to and misled," Berg, 63, of Manchester, England, was quoted as saying on the BBC news Web site.

"We should have been allowed the option of getting off at Fort Lauderdale and not taking the cruise at all. It is not in fact a cruise now but rather a voyage by sea to Rio. Many guests are on once-in-a-lifetime holidays and I have seen several in tears."

"The mood among passengers is extremely angry and becoming more so," he said.

Flounders said Cunard feels its refund offer is fair and that many passengers have accepted it.

"Cunard takes the view that they are on board, they're enjoying all the facilities of the QM2, all the food, the entertainment and so on, so while we very much regret they're missing the ports, we feel the 50 percent compensates for that," he said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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