Pensioner stranded after £17,000 dream cruise left without him

Pensioner stranded after £17,000 dream cruise left without him
New friends are dancing to a steel drum band on a cruise!

A 72-year-old man was left stranded in the Philippines for weeks after his dream cruise set off without him.

Christopher Capel splashed out £17,500 for the round-the-world trip that set off earlier this year. Halfway into the cruise, Chris started feeling nauseous and lightheaded, which he reported to the doctor.

He was sent off the ship for examinations and medical tests, which turned out to be mild heatstroke. By the time the tests were complete, the cruise had left without Chris.

He and his worried niece Karen Williams, 51, contacted the cruise organisers, P&O and travel insurers, Nationwide, who explained that he had a critical medical condition that made returning the absent passenger difficult, as did his fear of flying.

Doctors deemed him unfit to fly to Manila, so he took this part of the trip back by boat but could be brought the rest of the way by plane with medics escorting him.

On Good Friday, Chris set foot on British soil for the first time in months.

Chris, a retired youth worker from Swindon, Wiltshire, said: "The doctors who brought me home were lovely; I could not fault them, though they weren't sure why there were required because they just gave me Diazepam to calm my nerves and there wasn't anything else wrong with me.

"It seems like a comical cock-up. The person who sent me away from the ship didn't even examine me and must have known that the hospital tests would have taken longer than the ship would be at the port.

"If there is a critical medical situation, as P&O keep saying, why haven't I been told more about it or shown their medical report?

"They have failed in their duty of care, first by leaving me on the island and now with all this secrecy about my health.

"It does worry me, and I will book a full medical examination very soon, but I feel alright, just a little achy and feeble."

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He called the ordeal an "absolute nightmare" and "terrifying" at times.

"I kept telling the nurses 'I need to get back to the ship' but they kept taking more tests and asking about my breathing difficulties and chest pains when I didn't have either of those symptoms. I don't know what they had been told by the P&O doctor.

"When I went into a coma, I wondered if that was it, that might be the end, but I came around the following day.

"I was then stuck in a hospital bed with nothing wrong with me; it was ludicrous. I should have been allowed back on board; it wasn't a serious health issue.

"I can't believe the power one person can have over your life, to just leave me in this mess. I've been treated so badly by these companies."

Despite everything, this ordeal has not put Chris off cruise trips entirely - but future voyages would be less far away, stop at destinations with train routes back to the UK, and not be with P&O Cruises.

He added: "My holiday of a lifetime was ruined, as were the holidays of my friends who remained on the ship.

"I had a call from one of the other cruise passengers, who is now in Cadiz, asking how I was since no one knew what had happened to me, and everyone was worried.

"Karen has been suffering while trying to sort this all out; it's been such a strain on her.

He added: "Now I just need to get the rest of my stuff back."

A P&O Cruises spokesman confirmed they would cover the costs of returning his luggage.

Credit: SWNS.

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