June 27, 2022

‘Bucks night for 1200 people’: Families horrified by cruise bender

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By Taylor Auerbach A Current Affair reporter From 9 News AU

A dream cruise for dozens of Australian families hijacked by more than 1000 men from an Indian tobacco company on a wild work bender has forced Royal Caribbean International to apologise to distraught passengers and issue mass refunds.

The lavish Voyager of the Seas was turned into the “voyager of the sleaze” shortly after leaving port when roughly 1300 employees from Indian company Kamla Pasand took over the ship’s pool decks and bars – blocking shocked passengers from many parts of the 140,000 tonne vessel.

Burlesque dancers and scantily clad women dressed as Playboy Bunnies were brought on board by the “pirates of the Royal Caribbean”, sending the huge contingent of colleagues into a frenzy as they jigged and jived on the ship’s main deck while families took refuge inside.

Workers from the boozy company conference in September accounted for more than a third of the ship’s capacity of 3000 passengers, meaning the much-coveted buffet was off-limits to many guests who were ushered into other restaurants on board by stressed Royal Caribbean staff.

The workers also brought “crates and crates” of their own food onto the ship which underwent extensive refurbishments in 2014.

“It was almost like a huge bucks party – a bucks night for 1200 people,” western Sydney passenger Cassandra Riini told A Current Affair’s Steve Marshall.

“Their doors would be open and you would walk past and be like what am I going to be looking at when I walk past this door?”

Mrs Riini’s daughter Tahlia said the Kamla Pasand employees on board were filming her and her friends with smartphones.

“It is hard to forget after seeing all the flashbacks of these men around all the time, 24 hours a day, like we could not escape,” she said.

“Cameras everywhere – everyone had a camera in their hand.”

In an extraordinary turn of events, even bingo – usually a staple of cruises worldwide – was cancelled due to a lack of interest from the passengers on board who seemed more interested in the poolside cabaret.

“Even on the trivia nights they didn’t have enough numbers there so we just ended up with the staff member making our own game,” Mrs Riini’s husband Daniel told A Current Affair.

“If ignorance and arrogance was part of the ticket to get on board the ship then I think they did a good job, Royal Caribbean International, by getting these people on.”

Central Coast woman Christine Weyling was also on board and appalled by the maritime mayhem.

“It was crazy … little Playboy bunny outfits, you know this is a family boat,” she said.

“I think that they should have notified us that there was a big group that had been booked and had booked the pool deck out … everyone on that ship should have been notified.”

The ship’s enormous outdoor cinema screens – installed to play Hollywood blockbusters for families on board – instead featured company videos from the Kamla Pasand group.

It is not the first time the corporation has found itself in hot water after sneaking illegal tobacco advertising onto the boundary ropes during the test series between Australian and India in 2012.

After being approached by A Current Affair, Royal Caribbean International launched an investigation to ensure the cruise from hell would never be repeated.

“During (Voyager of the Seas‘) three-night sailing on September 6th, a group onboard caused complaints to some of our guests. We were quickly made aware and provided them with a satisfactory solution,” said managing director of Royal Caribbean Australia and New Zealand, Susan Bonner.

“We operate with the safety of our guests and crew as our highest priority, and are currently looking into all guest feedback regarding this incident to ensure it does not happen again.”

The families were grateful to Royal Caribbean for listening to their concerns and were issued full refunds.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018


Families thanked Royal Caribbean for its post-cruise handling of the issue. (A Current Affair)

About 1300 employees of an Indian company turned the boat into a “bucks night”. (A Current Affair)

Customers said they were unable to use many of the facilities onboard. (A Current Affair)

The Voyager of the Seas has issued full refunds after families claimed their cruises were ruined. (A Current Affair)

For more on this story go to; https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/10/01/15/49/royal-caribbean-cruise-nightmare-families-horror-playboy-bunnies-wild-bender

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