UK man’s round-the-world voyage came to a sudden end when his P&O Cruise ship left him stranded in The Philippines.
Christopher Chapel is a 72-year-old pensioner from Swindon, Wiltshire, England, who thought that he was going on the adventure of a lifetime: a 100+ day voyage around the world with P&O Cruises. But miscommunication turned the adventure into every cruiser’s worst nightmare.
P&O Cruise Ship Leaves 72-Year-Old Behind
For many, the chance to embark on a multi-month expedition destined for all corners of the world never becomes more than the stuff of dreams. And this septuagenarian made it possible, reportedly spending over £17,000 to do so.
However, about halfway through the trip, Chapel experienced nausea and lightheadedness. He says he was instructed by the ship’s doctor to seek medical attention at a hospital when the ship docked at the island of Palawan in the Philippines on March 4.
The hospital staff ran a series of tests just to confirm that Chapel was suffering from light heatstroke. It is unclear how long he was kept there, but by the time he returned to the port, he discovered his ship had left without him.
He says that he was never fully checked out by cruise medical staff, and the island nurses would not let him leave until all tests were completed.
While most cruisers’ minds would immediately race to crucial items left in their staterooms, like passports or money, Chapel, a diabetic, had to come to terms with the fact his insulin was sailing away from him.
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With his blood sugar running low, he was able to return to the hospital before falling into hypoglycaemic shock and then a brief diabetic coma. He recovered the next morning, waking up to the nightmare once again.
Stranded 7,000 Miles Away from Home with a Fear of Flying
What made Chapel’s situation even more difficult was his fear of flying. Standing nearly on the exact opposite side of the world meant that his ship was the preferred method to get home.
He spent several days in Palawan in order to receive necessary medical care, and he said he was able to enjoy his time there, especially the people.
He was later transferred to the capital city, Manila, and then back to England. After he was cleared to fly, doctors sedated him and escorted him for the long-haul flight. He arrived home on Good Friday. Four weeks after being left behind.
Chapel says he enjoyed the first half of his lifetime adventure and intends to continue cruising in the future. But, he and his family are still furious at P&O Cruises for failing in their duties.
It is unclear if he retrieved all his stuff from his ship and how things will be settled with the cruise line. P&O Cruises is UK-based cruise which is owned by the Carnival Corporation. The cruise line operates a fleet of seven ships and they all offer different type of voyages, including world cruises, mainly based out of Southampton, UK.