Irish family caught up in Venice cruise ship crash criticise firm

Family obliged to pay for alternative flights, accommodation and travel costing €1,500

The US president Donald Trump and the first lady touched down at Stansted Airport ahead of their three-day trip to Europe. Video: The White House

 

An Irish family caught up in a cruise ship collision with a tourist boat in Venice has hit out at the company’s treatment of passengers left stranded in the aftermath of the accident.

Charlie and Anne Lumsden and their daughter Nichola were on board the MSC Opera when it into the dock and a smaller tourist boat as it approached the Giudecca canal in the city.

Mr Lumsden said they were on deck, going for breakfast before their departure after a week-long cruise when the accident occurred. “We didn’t feel the collision,” he said, but the alarm went off and staff rushed up stairs and along each deck.

The incident happened at 8.30am and Mr and Mrs Lumsden were due to fly back to Dublin at 12.15, but nobody was allowed off the vessel until 2.50pm until the port authorities had finished their investigations, he said.

In the end they had to organise and pay for their alternative flights on Monday, overnight accommodation in a hotel outside Venice and taxis at a cost of about €1,500.

When they asked about what would happen if they missed their flight they were told MSC would contact the airline and arrange alternative transport.

Mr Lumsden said they checked at customer service a number of times and were repeatedly told to come back.

“The manager fellow then told us we would be met at the airport and flights to Dublin would be arranged,” via Frankfurt on Sunday afternoon, Mr Lumsden said. “But when we got to the airport the MSC people said they knew nothing about it. They didn’t want to know us.”

Damage to San Basilio dock in Venice after the MSC Opera cruise ship crashed. Photograph: Manuel Silvestri/Reuters
Damage to San Basilio dock in Venice after the MSC Opera cruise ship crashed. Photograph: Manuel Silvestri/Reuters

Mr Lumsden said: “I’m really disgusted with them.” Their flights were not booked directly with MSC but Mr Lumsden said staff at customer service on the vessel said it would be taken care of.

His daughter Nichola said: “I speak Spanish which was the common language of the reception and had to intercept/interpret/translate on the behalf of many customers, in particular an elderly couple one of whom has Parkinson’s.”

She said the man’s medication was in his suitcase “which had already been disembarked. The MSC staff offered zero assistance to this couple, they were trying to force them off the ship without any information regarding their options.”

She added: “MSC is responsible for this and today they refused to assume responsibility for any of their actions, customers or errors.”

An MSC representative in Italy said he could not comment as he was only authorised to speak to Italian, not international media.