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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cruise ship debt leaves people stuck midway

Imagine going a cruise, having spent anywhere between $ 10,000 - $40,000 per person for this cruise. You are having a nice time, traveling to exotic islands on the cruise in fine weather and having fun on a great ship as well. You are almost done with the cruise, with the last leg, and you are looking forward to another great time. And then suddenly, you find yourself nowhere because the cruise ship has been seized. This actually happened, if you read this story.

Several hundred passengers on a luxury round-the-world cruise-ship tour were stuck Thursday on an island in the Atlantic Ocean after the vessel's owners ran into legal troubles. The 460 passengers and 200 crew members were marooned after their cruise ship sailed into a port in the Madeira Islands, a Portuguese archipelago about 684 kilometers (425 miles) west of Morocco.
Portuguese authorities detained the ship -- the Van Gogh -- on Tuesday because of a legal claim against the ship's owners, said Marcus Neal, operations manager for Van Gogh Cruises. They seized it in the port of Funchal, a city of about 100,000. The passengers were making their next-to-last stop on a 93-day cruise around the world. They paid between $12,000 and $44,000 for the voyage.

So even though the passengers can leave, most of them are staying on, hoping for the situation to get resolved. And of course, there is a sense of puzzlement as to why the legal action happened during the cruise, putting passengers to some trouble (although by doing so, there is a higher amount of pressure to get this situation resolved).

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