Cruise Ship Mutiny; Stranded Passengers Rebel after Three Days of Blackouts, Food Rations and Broken Toilets
Byline: Lucy Collins
IT was meant to be a luxurious and relaxing break, with passengers enjoying stop-offs at Amsterdam, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg and Copenhagen.
But the ten-day cruise quickly turned into a nightmare for the 1,700 people on board - including 400 Britons - when their luxury liner broke down in the Baltic Sea.
Holidaymakers aboard the stricken MSC Opera staged a mutiny after enduring blackouts, food shortages and no running water or working toilets for almost three days.
The passengers were yesterday towed to land in Sweden and placed on flights to take them home.
The cruise liner had set sail from Southampton on Saturday, May 7. But it ran into trouble in the Baltic Sea off Sweden on Saturday when the ship's electricity - and attempts to restart the engines - failed.
Retired Isle of Wight hotelier Mary Birch, 65, said her fellow passengers directed their fury at the captain and were placated with free alcohol by anxious staff.
Mrs Birch said: 'We stopped in the middle of the Baltic, nobody knew why, for about three hours. Then it came across the tannoy that the boat was experiencing some difficulties and then it stopped again for 12 hours, and then finally they got some tugs out to pull us in.
'The toilets were unusable and then they got them working and then they didn't work again. There was no water. Food-wise, we've just been on rolls.'
Mrs Birch, who was speaking to Isle of Wight Radio, added: 'The captain we haven't seen, there was a bit of a mutiny [on Sunday night], everybody shouting for the captain but he never appeared and then they decided to give us all free drink. …