When Bobby and Mary Jackson took a £4,800 (R86 700) cruise from Singapore to Thailand, they were looking forward to all the experiences their luxury liner had to offer.
The one they didn’t bank on, however, was walking into their cabin for the first time to find a naked male crew member having sex with a woman on their bed.
Mr and Mrs Jackson were already hot and bothered, having been forced to wait to board at Singapore’s Marina Bay for two and a half hours in scorching heat.
He said: ‘When we finally got on the ship we first went to the bar for a drink because we were exhausted after standing around in the heat.
‘We were then shown down to our stateroom accommodation, which we were really looking forward to seeing.’
His wife added: ‘I could see the back of a man on the bed directly facing us, and it was obvious he was in the middle of having sex with a woman.
‘I shut the door immediately and we went next door where my sister was staying while staff sorted this out. I was traumatised and needed a glass of water.
‘I was horrified. What I witnessed was extremely unpleasant. Eugene, our cabin attendant, was present and he went to inform his supervisor. We are not prudes, but this was ridiculous.’
The couple were travelling with Norwegian Cruise Line for the week-long trip in October, their first cruise.
Appalled at what they’d seen, they complained, but there was no alternative room available on the Norwegian Jewel, a 92,000-ton ship that accommodates 2,376 passengers and 1,069 crew. To make matters worse, when they returned to their room, the man hadn’t gone.
Mr Jackson, 64, said: ‘We went back to the cabin, but although the woman had left, the male was still there. Two of the ship’s crew in white uniforms eventually persuaded him to leave. He looked very sheepish. I asked if the crew knew him and they told me he was a worker on the boat.’
After the couple complained, they were offered the equivalent of £100 (R1 800) to spend on the ship as compensation – an offer they said left them feeling ‘insulted’.
To make matters worse, Mrs Jackson, who works for the supermarket Iceland, was then taken ill with a stomach bug and spent most of her holiday in the cabin.
She said: ‘I was extremely frightened because I was very sick and I was a long way from home. ‘The ship’s doctor put me on a drip, gave me antibiotics and I was told to stay out of the sun.’
After returning home, they contacted Norwegian Cruise Line to demand compensation, and were offered £200 (R3 600) each in credits for another trip with the firm that had to be taken this year.
A spokesman for the firm said: ‘A full investigation has taken place and appropriate action has been taken. NCL has been in contact with the Jacksons regarding their request for compensation.’