Crash Bang Wallop. Loud Noises Ruin Cruise
Mr. and Mrs. Milner paid £59,000 for a world cruise on the inaugural cruise of the Cunard ship, Queen Victoria. They booked 18 months in advance to make sure they got just the stateroom they wanted – a balcony stateroom midships. The cruise started in Southampton and went to New York, and then to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal, on to Honolulu, bound for Australasia, Hong Kong, around south-east Asia, India, through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean, returning to Southampton 106 days later.
It was a disaster from the start. When the ship pitched the effect in their cabin was that the floor plates flexed and vibrated and loud noise reverberated throughout the cabin. In particular there would be loud bangs which came out of the blue of the sort that once you have heard it, you cannot really settle down after it because you never know whether another one will be coming.
The Milners were moved from cabin to cabin ‘like gypsies’. Some were inside cabins, some were designed for the disabled, some were suites but all were temporary. The kept their clothes in one cabin and commuted to others during the day. Sometimes they moved to another cabin in the evening in their night clothes.
Not knowing where they would be moved to next caused distress and anxiety. Eventually when the ship reached Hawaii they decided to disembark. By this time they were suffering again from sleep deprivation and were both unwell. Mr Milner was suffering from stress related mouth ulcers and Mrs Milner suffered from bad chest breathing. They had only completed 28 days of the cruise.
Cunard refunded the couple £48,000 for the part of the voyage they did not take and the Court of Appeal awarded them a further £12,000 for distress and disappointment, diminution in value for the part of the cruise they actually took.
One item of loss which the court did not make an award for was to cover the cost of the 21 formal gowns that Mrs Milner had bought especially for the voyage for the four formal dining occasions each week onboard which she was not able to use.
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