On the 20th January the Fred Olsen ship, Boudicca, left Southampton for an 18 day sailing to Cape Verde and the Canary Islands. I had booked a lovely couple to join the ship and they were looking forward to some sun, warmer climates and a relaxing break away. However unfortunately in the early hours of the morning on the 25th January an engine fire started, which also resulted a few days later in the cruise being cancelled and all the guests being flown home.
My guests advised they were woken about 4am to an announcement in their cabin calling for the crew. At first my guests thought it was a bit odd hearing a crew announcement go through the cabin and then they heard another announcement advising there was an engine fire and for all crew to close all fire doors. There was complete silence throughout the whole ship and you could just hear the closing of the doors. The power then went off and this then made the whole ship an extremely eerie place to be, until the emergency lighting came on and lit a small path down the corridors.
According to newspaper articles the guests on board were told to don their life jackets, however this was not the case. A few people did choose to do this, and then wandered around the ship wearing them, but was not a compulsory request by the Captain.
The fire was quickly put out and the ship continued on the one engine to Tenerife where it was going to make its repairs. Fred Olsen soon realised it was going to take longer than initially thought, so made the decision to curtail the trip and for everyone to return home. Flights were booked back to Southampton or Bournemouth and then there were Eavesway coaches on arrival to take the guests back to their drop off points. For those who couldn’t there was a team who were taking guests back to the UK overland.
My customers flew home, however one of them suffers from clasutrophobia and had never been in an aeroplane before, but with the help of the ships doctor (supplying some medictaion) and the team from Fred Olsen she was able to board the plane and make it back to the UK.
All guests on board receive 100% of their cruise back (and was received by my guest at the weekend), they also receive 50% of the fare they paid of their next Fred Olsen cruise if booked by the end of this month, and is combinable with Oceans Discounts and also any other offer ie 10% cruise sale. They all also were allocated the whole cruise length of points for the loyalty club.
My guests were extremely happy with the way Fred Olsen handled the incident and have already used their 50% off by booking another cruise.
Praise goes to the crew and Captain onboard, as well as the team that handled the operation to get everyone home and refunded so quickly, its a shame not every cruise line can act so fast.