A Wiltshire couple were left stranded in a Chilean port after an Imagine Cruising bus transfer failed to show up.
Peter and Margaretta Russell, a couple in their 60s from Corsham, booked a three-week cruise, which began on March 4, through Wootton Bassett-based cruise line Imagine Cruising.
Their trip took them from Rio de Janeiro to Santiago in Chile via the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship, which they disembarked in Valparaiso ahead of a 75-mile bus journey to their final destination.
But the idyllic voyage became a nightmare when the Russells, and their travelling companions Ian and Jayne Newman, found no Imagine Cruising bus headed for their Santiago hotel when they reached dry land.
Mr Russell identified some Imagine representatives headed to different locations, who assured him a bus to the hotel was coming before boarding their own buses and leaving.
Despite having a booking confirmation of their transfer, the Russells and eight other travellers, six of whom were pensioners, were abandoned in a foreign port.
He recalled: “It was absolute chaos in the terminal, and we had no bloody idea where to go.
“We found two buses with Imagine representatives who said they couldn’t help and buggered off on a bus and left us there.
“To leave pensioners there alone in the heat is absolutely reprehensible. I’m normally relaxed but they can’t get away with this, we were abandoned.”
The worry was worsened by the fact Mrs Newman had undergone brain surgery last year and had been warned to avoid stress.
The group were fortunate they found a local bus driver willing to take them to Santiago and quickly clubbed together to pay him a fee of $375.
Upon their arrival, Mr Russell received a WhatsApp message from somebody who claimed they arrived at the port at 10.30am, an hour and a half after the scheduled transfer, to pick them up but could not find them.
Mr Russell insists he was still at the port at this time.
But despite the ordeal, Mr Russell claims he has had no formal apology from Imagine Cruising, although they say they have credited his account with $37.50.
“It’s just banging your head against a brick wall”, he said. “They say they’ll look into it but there’s been no real apology and we certainly aren’t going on holiday with them again.”
Imagine Cruising have been contacted for comment but have not provided a response.
They have reportedly told Mr Russell they are investigating the incident and that this process will take 28 days.