Cruise Passengers Say Christmas Day Was an ‘Absolute Disaster’: Report

  • Passengers on a cruise liner’s first voyage said their Christmas Day was “an absolute disaster.”
  • Lynne Wheatley and her husband, Richard, paid almost $7,000 for a two-week trip.
  • They told The Times they’d booked a table for Christmas dinner but the reservation was lost.

Some passengers on a cruise liner’s first voyage said their Christmas Day was an “absolute disaster,” with some forced to wait until 11 pm to have dinner.

Lynne Wheatley, 67, and her husband, Richard, 73, from Boston in Lincolnshire, England, were among the passengers on the Arvia’s maiden two-week journey and told The Times of London they paid almost £5,300, or about $6,400, for their trip.

The Arvia features a “SkyDome” pool with a retractable roof, an infinity pool, an aerial obstacle course, 16 decks, and 12 restaurants. It’s owned by P&O, part of Carnival Corp., and departed from Southampton, England, Friday for Spain, Portugal, and the Canary Islands.

The Wheatleys booked a table for Christmas dinner last month but were told on Christmas Day that their reservation could not be found.

Lynne Wheatley told The Times: “We waited two and a half hours and the food was awful. We were in a restaurant with no tablecloths — it was more like your kitchen table.”

She said another couple didn’t get to have their Christmas dinner until 11 pm: “Don’t get me wrong, the ship is beautiful [but] it’s a shame because it’s ruined Christmas for a lot of people.”

Another passenger, Gwyndaf Jones, 57, told The Times that he, his wife, and friends were “lucky” to have their Christmas dinner in the late afternoon, adding: “In hindsight they were not ready to sail.”

He added: “The WiFi is non-existent. It’s the worst I’ve experienced at sea. I can’t even get my emails, let alone stream as they promise.”

Dominik Scott, who reviews cruises on YouTube with his partner, Tom Hughes-Lewis, said some “teething” issues were to be expected on a maiden voyage.

“On Christmas Day we were quite lucky. Other people’s day was an absolute disaster,” Scott told The Times. “We didn’t experience anything half as bad. People like to stop and talk to us because they recognize us from YouTube and a lot of people aren’t very happy.”

A P&O spokesperson told The Times that IT and connectivity problems “caused dining issues and restaurant delays for a proportion of guests on Christmas Day.”

The spokesperson added: “This service was certainly not up to our usual high standards and we wholeheartedly apologize.”

P&O Cruises didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider.

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