File photo: Passengers on a luxury liner staged a mutiny after their cruise turned into "the holiday from hell". Picture: Reuters

London - Passengers on a luxury liner staged a mutiny after their cruise turned into "the holiday from hell".

The 2 000 tourists on the Norwegian Spirit paid up to £5 300 (about R98 000) each for a once-in-a-lifetime "mystical fjords" tour, with excursions in France, Amsterdam, Norway and Iceland.

But passengers described the two-week cruise as "the worst trip ever" after the ship – which set off from Southampton on September 27 – failed to dock in Le Havre or Amsterdam, apparently because of high winds.

They were taken to Norway but the ship berthed in a "deserted" town which was closed to tourists, with the famous fjords viewable only from a distance. A stop in Reykjavik was cancelled and replaced with a trip to Greenock, near Glasgow – but the 900ft-long ship was refused permission to dock there on Monday morning, and the captain decided to head to Belfast instead.

By this point, passengers had endured three days at sea and the ship’s sewage system was "failing". Many passengers said food served in the restaurants had gone stale. There was further fury when US-based operator Norwegian Cruise Line declined full refunds and offered passengers only a 25% voucher towards a future cruise.

Footage shows hundreds of passengers protesting in the ship’s grand atrium amid chants of "shame on you", "we want refunds" and "get us off this ship". The passengers, including British, American and Chinese tourists, can be heard shouting "take us back to London" in front of crew members and security guards. One demanded: "I want to see the captain. He should be out here."

The "near rioting" was filmed on passengers’ phones but one tourist claimed the crew turned off the ship’s internet to stop the footage going online. Passengers later held up placards saying "shame on you" and "we want refunds".

Deena Roland, 48, from Taunton, Devon, who was travelling with husband Adrian, 48, said: "There are a lot of angry people on this ship and the lack of adequate explanation as to what’s going on almost caused a riot this morning.

"It’s been a nightmare of a holiday, and now many of the toilets in the cabins are overflowing with sewage. It’s really not my idea of a luxury cruise break."

Debbie Fuller, from Los Angeles, said the crew seized some passengers’ passports without explanation. She added: "They won’t speak to us or tell us anything.

"We were promised such an incredible trip to all these amazing places but it turned into the holiday from hell."

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line said: "Norwegian Spirit was forced to cancel her call to Greenock due to weather conditions as well as a delay caused by a departing Navy vessel that experienced a technical malfunction."

Daily Mail