Appeals Judge Rules $40,000 Dream Cruise Suit 'Excessive'
Cunard Queen Victoria
Terence and Cynthia Milner had paid £59,000 (over $90,000) for a 15-week world cruise on the maiden voyage of Cunard Cruise Lines Queen Victoria. Shortly after setting off from Southampton in January 2008, the ship hit heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay. The waves caused the metal floor of the couple's cabin to flex loudly, prompting the couple to be moved between several cabins.
The couple, who are in their late 60's, became ill while onboard the ship. Mr. Milner contracted mouth ulcers and his wife suffered "breathing problems." After only one month of the 103-day voyage, the couple ended up leaving the cruise early in Honolulu, Hawaii where they spent six weeks in a luxury hotel before taking the Queen Elizabeth II back to Southampton.. According to the UK's Daily Mail, Mrs. Milner said the trip left them "in a terrible, inconsolable state."
Last May, the couple was awarded £22,000 (nearly $40,000) compensation by a county court judge. The pay-out was for distress and disappointment, plus wasted expenditure for Mrs. Milner's wardrobe of formal dining gowns. However, when the case went to the Court of Appeal, a judge ruled the initial award "excessive and disproportionate," and reduced the damages to £12,000 (around $19,000).
Sarah Prager, lawyer for the Milners, told judges the couple had looked forward to the cruise for 19 months. Mrs. Milner said the 21 formal gowns she purchased, amounting to £4,300 (around $7,000), have become "an unwelcome reminder" of the trip.
According to the Daily Mail, the judge in the case "ruled that the cost of holidays should not be used as a benchmark to calculate compensation." The decision is thought to set a precedent for future cases, which could include future suits brought on by thousands of travelers recently stranded abroad by the cloud of ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull Volcano.