Passengers describe conditions on cruise ship MSC Opera

Passengers returning to the UK have described the conditions they faced on board a cruise ship which lost power in the Baltic.

About 400 British passengers arrived at Bournemouth and Stansted airports late on Monday after being flown from Sweden following the MSC Opera voyage.

Fears over safety, blocked up toilets and no light were concerns from some, although others praised the crew.

MSC Cruises apologised it could not offer "its usual standards of service".

It added that passengers would be given credit vouchers for the full value of their trip.

The Italian ship left Southampton on 7 May with 1,800 holidaymakers for a trip visiting Copenhagen, Helsinki and St Petersburg.

But after the power went off close to the island of Gotland on Sunday, it was towed by Swedish coastguards to the port of Nynashamn near Stockholm.

It had been due back to Southampton on Tuesday.

'Lots of freebies'

Geoff Simms, from New Milton, Hampshire, described the last few days of his holiday as "shocking" with passengers left in "total darkness".

He said some passengers raised concerns over how safe they were.

"People were getting very, very worried," he said. "People were very fed up and scared as well as we were drifting.

"We were in total darkness, the toilets filled up and wouldn't flush for 10 hours."

Mike O'Shea, from Bournemouth, had to travel back to Southampton to pick up his car.

"It wasn't too bad for the first couple of days, then the generator broke down," he said.

Image caption The MSC Opera left Southampton on 7 May for a 10-day cruise

"The biggest problem was the toilets. As long as they pay me the full amount they say they will then I'll be quite happy."

First-time cruiser Trudie Excell, of the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, praised the staff for organising her return.

"The staff have been brilliant, I have got no complaints whatsoever.

"A lot of people have come off that ship with a lot of freebies."

Fellow passenger Catherine Jardine, from Hebburn, South Tyneside, had to spend the night in a hotel in Southampton before travelling home.

"It was disgusting, really bad," she said.

The company has cancelled its next cruise which was due to sail from Southampton on Wednesday.

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