While a cruise attorney is usually consulted following an accident at sea, medical emergency or onboard crime, one angry passenger may soon try to file a case to recover expenses after his dream of witnessing a total solar eclipse was shattered.
Thousands gathered along Cairns and Port Douglas to witness the solar eclipse in Queensland, Australia at around 6:30 in the morning. However, one cruise passenger was unable to watch the rare event he had been so eager to see because the vessel he was travelling on arrived at its viewing spot later than scheduled.
The passenger, an astronomer who chose to remain anonymous, was one of several others who paid over $799 for a 10-night P&O cruise aboard the Pacific Jewel that was to sail around the Pacific Islands. He claims that P&O promoted the itinerary as offering the “best view” of the eclipse, but no one onboard was able to see it because the vessel sailed on a longer route to its destination.
“The ship simply headed towards the wrong position in the ocean,” the passenger told news.com.au. “[The vessel went] on a longer route that took us away from the eclipse… As a result, we were an hour late and thus unable to witness a unique moment in life for many of us: a total solar eclipse. I’m an astronomer and I was baffled by this mistake and I had to check it again and again, I couldn’t believe it.”
David Jones of Carnival Australia, which owns P&O, denied the passenger’s allegations that the cruise ship’s operators made a mistake, but admitted that the vessel had experienced rough weather conditions on the way to view the eclipse.
“Pacific Jewel left earlier than scheduled and made good speed going north but was slowed by some heavy weather conditions on the way,” said Jones. “However it was in a position for passengers to enjoy what has been described as close to the totality of the eclipse.”
Jones added that there was photographic evidence of passengers sitting on deck chairs watching the eclipse, but he was unable to provide the photographs because of privacy concerns.