A French man was kicked off a cruise in late October after reportedly trying to stage a protest over the ship’s canceled itinerary.
The Telegraph, who referred to the man’s actions as a “mutiny,” reports that 53-year-old Alain Jan and his wife boarded a Costa cruise bound for the Vanilla Islands of the Indian Ocean on Oct. 26. After two days of travel, however, the captain announced that three scheduled stops in Madagascar had been canceled due to an outbreak of the bubonic and pneumonic plague on the island nation.
"We said OK, it's for health reasons,” Jan told Le Parisen, reasoning that there were other stops planned for other cities in Madagascar, as well as a stop in Mauritius.
The next day, those stops were canceled as well. But as a consolation, passengers were told they’d be credited with 150 euro, or around $175, to spend aboard the ship.
Angered by the news — and reasoning that even a beverage aboard the ship could cost upwards of $5 — Jan rallied his fellow passengers in a protest at one of the ship’s restaurants. "There were 60 of us banging our fists on the table to alert other cruise passengers to this con job," said Jan, who reasoned that the cruise liner must have known that they couldn’t stop in Madagascar or Mauritius before the trip started, but deliberately failed to notify passengers before the voyage.
The passengers staged another protest later that evening, forcing the captain to call the authorities in the Seychelles. According to Jan, a police chief boarded the ship, listened to both men’s version of events, and ultimately escorted Jan and his wife off the cruise liner at the captain’s request.
Jan, however, finally got the stop-off he was hoping for.
"I spent two nights in a hotel in the Seychelles with my wife, then were flown home paid for by Costa. That's how I was freed from the floating prison," Jan told Le Parisien.
He further claims that upon returning home — Jan lives on the island of Reunion — he met with other passengers from the cruise, who agreed that they were treated “like cattle” and “ripped off,” the Telegraph reports.
Meanwhile, Costa Cruises maintains that they “made every effort” to keep to their schedule, but were unable to do so due to health concerns, according to a statement obtained by the Telegraph. The company added that authorities on Mauritius were the ones who insisted that passengers stay quarantined on the ship.
"Given the delays that would have created, and even longer ones if there were any suspect cases on board, and considering that passengers were already on board, the company was forced to restrict its trip to the Seychelles and Reunion," said the statement.