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September 1, 2015

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Irate cruise passengers carried off ship

PASSENGERS had to be forcibly removed from a cruise ship docked in the city yesterday, in a dispute over a change of route.

Around 300 passengers refused to disembark yesterday morning when the Quantum of the Seas arrived at Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in Baoshan District, following a nine-day voyage.

The liner, which left Shanghai on August 23, had originally been scheduled to visit three Japanese cities.

But due to concerns about Typhoon Goni, this was changed to cities in South Korea instead.

Passengers argued that they should receive compensation for the change of route.

At 11:30am yesterday, more than 200 passengers had still refused to disembark and the standoff lasted till 1pm, despite talks between cruise company Royal Caribbean International, tourism and district authorities and tourists.

All the passengers were reported to have left the liner by 1pm, with the final few seen being removed by crew members.

A man was photographed by other passengers being carried off the liner by four crew members.

Negotiations between Royal Caribbean and passengers reconvened in a hotel.

A tourist surnamed Chen, who was among those who had refused to leave, told that she had been to South Korea before and had paid 46,000 yuan (US$7,200) for a party of three because the ship was due to stop in Japan.

“The route totally changed, and the solution offered was not reasonable,” she said.

Royal Caribbean said it was willing to communicate with tourists based on international and Chinese regulations.

However, it said it would not accept “irrational and illegal behavior,” including threats affecting other tourists’ vacation.

Officials with the Shanghai Tourism Administration said tourists should not use such methods in order to safeguard their rights.

Shanghai lawyer Liu Weisong said that a ship’s captain has the right to cancel stops or change the route based on a situation.

During the tour, Royal Caribbean said it provided passengers with free Wi-Fi and lobster dinners.

Following a number of disputes concerning changes of itinerary on cruise ship tours, a new recommended contract on these tours issued by Shanghai tourism authorities will be introduced this month, said tourism officials.


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