The UK's biggest cruise ship travel company is refusing to refund thousands of cruisers whose voyages have been curtailed due to a faulty vessel. TUI Cruises’s owned ship Marella Discovery (operated by Marella Cruises UK) suffered an electrical fault on December 9, ~1 hour after departure from Singapore. The company announced there had been “localized burning within the transformer housing” (engine room fire).
Rather than returning to port for repairs, the ship's Captain decided to continue for Thailand, 2 days away, at reduced speed. TUI said that a repair would be carried out as soon as the replacement parts arrive. Meanwhile, the vessel was limited to around 1/3 less than her design speed of 24 knots (28 mph).
Upon their arrival at call port Laem Chabang (Bangkok), passengers were told Marella Discovery would continue the voyage at a reduced speed. The ship missed 3 ports of call (until Langkawi Island Malaysia) - Koh Samui Island (Thailand), Malacca (Malaysia) and Sihanoukville (Cambodia). Cruisers spent ~2,5 extra days at sea as the liner struggled to keep up with its schedule.
All passengers received GBP 250 refund (per person) plus GBP 100 in OBC (onboard credit) in compensation, though for some the payment represented as little as 7% of what they paid. The damage has still not been repaired and Marella Discovery has been sailing without her full propulsion for 3 weeks. Xmas cruisers who were expecting to spend December 25 on Samui Island instead found themselves at sea.
TUI adjusted its plans for the ship by assuming she will continue sailing at a reduced speed until at least February 2020. The cruise company decided to miss out on key ports of call, including Koh Samui and Malacca, and reduce the time on land in other locations.
For other Marella Discovery accidents and incidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.