A cruise ship company recently ordered two blind passengers to leave a ship before it set sail. The passengers, Pam May and Jennie Bailie told ITV News they were asked to leave a P&O Cruises Ventura ship in May for “health and safety reasons” and said it was “humiliating” and that they “felt like criminals.”

During the interview, May expressed their frustration, stating that they had to argue for their right to travel independently and enjoy a holiday like anyone else. The friends, hailing from West Sussex, said that the cruise ship staff confined them to a room for two hours before its members escorted them off the ship in Southampton, England. They mentioned requesting to use the restroom before leaving but were denied access. Bailie recounted they felt utterly embarrassed and deeply upset as they marched off the ship.

Upon returning home, P&O Cruises charged both May and Bailie a cancellation fee of approximately £900 ($1,130) each, equivalent to the total cost of the cruise. May expressed disappointment, explaining that the cruise company has not given the passengers the opportunity to showcase their capabilities. P&O Cruises allegedly did not inquire about their individual abilities or take the time to get to know them but instead made the decision to exclude them due to their blindness.

Expressing Regret for the Blind Passengers

P&O Cruises addressed the incident in a statement to Insider, expressing regret for the passengers’ inability to travel with them and offering a full refund for the vacation expenses incurred. They emphasized that the safety and well-being of all passengers onboard is their top priority, even though they strive for all guests to have a wonderful experience.

Problems with disabled passengers happen frequently in the tourism industry. By law, airlines and cruise ships must provide accommodations for passengers with disabilities, but many still struggle to do so effectively.

In 2022, Victoria Brignell, a wheelchair user, was left stranded on a British Airways flight for 95 minutes. Paralyzed from the neck down, she expected to wait for assistance. Upon landing, the company moved her into an aisle chair, a special wheelchair designed to take wheelchair users to the airplane’s door. She spent 95 minutes propped up by pillows in an uncomfortable position. And since commercial airlines only have standard tiny restrooms, Brignell did not have an accessible bathroom to use.

As Travel Noire reported, Brignell made it clear that this is not an isolated incident.