Mutiny on the Harmony: World's biggest cruise ship a 'serious risk to all passengers'

She was supposed to be the last word in luxury on the open waves when she set off on her inaugural trip to great fanfare just over a week ago.

But the world's biggest cruise ship has been branded a floating "construction site" that puts passengers at risk by those on board.

Furious cruise fans who left on £800 million (NZ$1.74 billion) Harmony of the Seas' "maiden voyage" from Southampton to Rotterdam and a subsequent trip to Cherbourg complained contractors were still carrying out vital work on board.

Exposed planks and wooden boarding could be seen at the doorway on the ship with muddy looking carpet on either side. Photo / thericket Twitter
Exposed planks and wooden boarding could be seen at the doorway on the ship with muddy looking carpet on either side. Photo / thericket Twitter

Gaping holes were left in floors and walls, the hot water cut out, 90 per cent of children's rides were out of service and sleep was impossible in some rooms as drilling carried on through the night.

They also said the top deck of the 1188ft-long vessel was littered with hazards including loose cables, blow torches, open paint tins and power tools.

Ladders were left lying around and tables were dumped beside railings, leaving children at risk of climbing up and falling into the sea.

"Hundreds" of passengers have besieged the customer services desk throughout the sailings, according to witnesses.

Some that were offered compensation accused owner Royal Caribbean International of trying to gag them by saying they could not discuss what compensation they were offered with others on board.

The company yesterday tried to dampen down the furore by describing the North European trips as "pre-inaugural sailings" before the "official maiden cruise" leaves from Southampton for Barcelona tomorrow.

Missing safety glass. Photo / thericket Twitter
Missing safety glass. Photo / thericket Twitter

But passengers said they had paid a lot of money and the vessel should have been ready.

Georgina Davie, 40 - who dubbed the ship Disharmony of the Seas - said: "The ship is a construction site and is unsafe and a serious risk to all passengers.

"I understand contractors sometimes don't deliver but Royal Caribbean should have taken responsibility for it and given people their money back or reduced it and told people before getting on board instead of leaving them stuck in the middle of the sea where they can't do anything about it."

Unfinished construction near the kids' attractions. Photo / HayleyHas Twitter
Unfinished construction near the kids' attractions. Photo / HayleyHas Twitter

Mrs Davie, who was with a group of 10 family members paying £389 (NZ$850) each, said her two children had nothing to do because almost all of the attractions for youngsters were closed including the flumes, splash pool and zip line. Xboxes in the kids' club weren't working and there weren't enough skates for ice skating.

The Jacuzzis were also out of order and there weren't enough high chairs in the restaurants, which were often full. Ordering room service didn't solve the problem as it never arrived. "When I booked it I was told it would be amazing, the trip of a lifetime," said Mrs Davie, an office administrator from Southampton who has been on five cruises before.

"They never said 90 per cent of the kids' attractions wouldn't be finished and there would be contractors all over the ship. There was one day of sunshine and we were on the deck and all the contractors were congregating there. You're trying to sit there in your bikini and they're standing there staring at you."

In publicity pictures release prior to setting sail, a ride called The Ultimate Abyss could be seen on the ship. Photo / Supplied
In publicity pictures release prior to setting sail, a ride called The Ultimate Abyss could be seen on the ship. Photo / Supplied

When she finally managed to speak to customer services her group was offered US$300 (NZ$450) compensation to spend on board for each of their five balcony rooms - totalling just over £1000 (NZ$2184). But she said it was pointless as they had an all-inclusive package including food and drinks and weren't interested in "buying a handbag or massage".

They were then offered the sum in cash at the end of the cruise but ended up empty-handed when they disembarked as no money was available. The group is now demanding a full refund.

A disgruntled customer shared this shot, ranting: "This ship is not finished totally unacceptable and so disappointed". Photo / dianekh00014 Twitter
A disgruntled customer shared this shot, ranting: "This ship is not finished totally unacceptable and so disappointed". Photo / dianekh00014 Twitter

Jonny Hardy, 29, from Loughborough, who was also in a family group on the same cruise, described it as an "absolute disaster" and a "shambles".

There was no safety glass on Deck 15, meaning a child could have "dropped into the ocean", he said, his father-in-law got fresh paint on his trousers and there were overflowing toilets. He complained Royal Caribbean had led everyone to believe it was the maiden voyage, saying: "Online you could buy clothing that said 'Inaugural cruise'."

Blocked urinals in the men's toilets on board the Harmony of the Seas voyage from the UK to Rotterdam. Photo / MisterJayNKate Twitter
Blocked urinals in the men's toilets on board the Harmony of the Seas voyage from the UK to Rotterdam. Photo / MisterJayNKate Twitter

Philippa Pickford issued an "SOS" yesterday while on a £499 (NZ$1089)-a-head three-night return cruise to Cherbourg with her daughter. She tweeted: "Reported our broken toilet three times!!!! Please sort it." Speaking from the ship last night, she said the toilet was fixed after 24 hours but the staff were "blasé" about all the problems. "They're saying it's just finishing touches but finishing touches are putting flowers in the foyer, not drilling and pouring concrete."

Other problems included a loss of hot water and baby changing facilities being closed.

Unfinished construction work on the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship maiden voyage. Photo / dianekh000 Twitter
Unfinished construction work on the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship maiden voyage. Photo / dianekh000 Twitter

Passengers took to social media to voice their anger. David S complained: "Not good enough. Works all over, venues closed." He also posted a photo of a lounge filled with cardboard boxes, some leaning haphazardly against the wall, with the hashtag "#disgrace".

Hayley Lewis fumed: "Sharp debris in kids' pools and shockingly safety glass missing in several places on top deck!" The cruise ship begins a season of seven-night Western Mediterranean sailings on June 7 before moving to her home port of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from November.

Royal Caribbean International confirmed the trip to Rotterdam was an early sailing and not a "shakedown cruise", during which systems and facilities are tested. In a statement it said it had provided "early sailings" following early delivery of the ship.

Unfinished construction work on the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship. Photo / dianekh000 Twitter
Unfinished construction work on the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship. Photo / dianekh000 Twitter

It added: "Whilst the ship is cleared for operations and many of its features are already being enjoyed by thousands of guests, as with any new build, we are still finalising some finishing touches and thank guests for their patience as we complete these.

"As always, Royal Caribbean's highest priority is to ensure the safety of all its guests... and any final maintenance is being carried out in accordance with strict safety guidelines."

A spokesman said just one facility - the Aqua Theatre - was yet to open and denied any knowledge of attempts to "gag" passengers.

- Daily Mail

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