Angry passengers who ran screaming for their lives when 30ft waves crashed over the side of their cruise ship are preparing to sue Saga for millions of pounds if they are not offered adequate compensation.
The Spirit of Discovery cut short its two-week voyage back to Portsmouth on Saturday after tourists feared for their lives amid the terrifying storm in the Bay of Biscay.
About 100 of the 980 people on board were injured, with Saga claiming that most of them were injured when the ship’s safety system was activated, causing it to veer dramatically and stop, but passengers on board said that many others suffered emotional trauma.
In a letter to passengers, Saga CEO Nigel Blanks promised a compensation offer by the end of the week, but a group of at least 25 passengers is already gathering evidence in anticipation of a court battle.
Richard Reynolds, 60, traveling with his wife and elderly parents spent £19,000 on the cruise, during the terrifying Bay of Biscay crossing his mother was injured after losing her balance by a giant wave and spent two nights in the center doctor. .
Richard Reynolds, 60, who traveled with his wife Jayne (pictured before hitting the storm) on The Spirit of Discovery cruise ship, feared for their lives during the cruise when they were caught in the middle of a terrifying storm in the Bay. from Biscay
The Spirit of Discovery cut short its two-week voyage and returned to Portsmouth on Saturday as tourists feared for their lives during the storm in the Bay of Biscay.
Most of the injured were injured when the ship’s safety system was activated, causing it to veer sharply and stop, according to Saga.
The ship lay motionless at the mercy of towering waves for 18 hours, with passengers claiming the waves were up to 54 feet high, higher than three double-decker buses.
He said: “There were many people injured, but many more suffered trauma from what happened.”
‘My wife hasn’t been able to sleep the last two nights, my mother was crying when she got off the boat.
‘The whole experience was horrible. The waves reached the fifth floor windows, people screamed and furniture, plates and glass flew in all directions.
‘People were screaming for their lives, things were hitting and crashing around us and they thought they were going to die.
‘We were there accompanying my elderly parents, my mother was in the medical room because she had a fall. They were so saturated that they had to convert the main dining room into an improvised first aid area because it was completely overrun.
‘She witnessed three members of staff resuscitating someone.
“We are waiting to hear what Saga says about compensation, but we have formed an action group including people who know much more about the law than I do to gather video and photographic evidence and we are not ruling out any legal action.”
As the cruise ship was battered relentlessly for 18 hours, some desperate passengers wrote notes to loved ones in case they didn’t make it home, while other traumatized travelers wore life jackets for two days straight.
As the cruise ship was battered relentlessly for 18 hours, some desperate passengers wrote notes to loved ones in case they didn’t make it home, while other traumatized travelers wore life jackets for two days.
The ordeal forced part of the dining room to be converted into “a makeshift medical area” and passengers were asked to remain in their cabins for the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday.
About 100 of the 1,000 people on board were injured, but some passengers who witnessed the carnage with their own eyes warn that the number of injured could be closer to 150.
A map showing the intended route of The Spirit of Discovery. The cruise ship was crossing the Bay of Biscay when 100 passengers were injured
Responding to questions about the decision to return to the UK via the Bay of Biscay, Saga maintained that continuing with the original route or choosing an alternative route would have meant facing the storm head-on.
The crew had initially planned to dock at the port of La Coruña in northwestern Spain, but along the way they were informed that the port had been closed due to bad weather, forcing them to continue north and pass through Vizcaya. on the way to the UK.
The company maintains that the ship was adequately prepared for the difficult conditions anticipated.
But Reynolds says Saga prioritized getting the ship ready for the next cruise.
He added: “The bottom line is that we shouldn’t have been there, we were the only cruise ship that didn’t seek shelter.”
‘Three days before the storm hit we were told we were trying to get ahead of it. The only thing they cared about was getting back in time for the next cruise.
‘At the end of the day they gambled and it didn’t pay off and now they need to correct it.
‘All we have received is a letter from CEO Nigel Blanks apologizing, which was normal corporate nonsense, saying they will be in touch this week regarding compensation.
‘I know very well why they are doing that. When we return to our nice and cozy homes, older people begin to forget about the trauma.
Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Discovery is pictured at Portsmouth International Harbor following the weekend incident.
The ship’s automatic safety system activated, causing the engines to fire and the ship to swerve, reportedly causing injuries.
‘What they’re trying to do is split up the riders so they can get 50% off their deal, then 20% could take it a little further and then they’ve reduced 30% who they might have to do something with.
“The next stage is to wait for correspondence from Saga, but they need to know that this will not go away.”
A statement from Saga Cruises said: “The Spirit of Discovery was sadly caught in difficult weather conditions this weekend as it began its return to the UK.
‘The ship remained safe at all times, but due to the impact of the storm some passengers were injured. All were immediately treated by the onboard medical staff.
“While the weather is clearly out of our control, we would like to offer our sincere apologies to all those affected who are now safely back home to calmer seas.”