Passenger sues over 3.30 alarm call

//Passenger sues over 3.30 alarm call

A cruise passenger is suing for the refund of the full cost of a seven-day holiday because of the distress he claims was caused when he had to get up at 3.30 am to be ready to go through immigration procedures.
David Bookbinder, a former leader of Derbyshire County Council, was on a Red Sea cruise aboard Thomson Celebration.
Passengers were told they had to be ready at 5.00 am to be interviewed by Israeli officials before they would be allowed ashore in Eilat. Mr Bookbinder, 71, who was travelling with his 86-year-old brother, claims the early start was made in order to sell shore excursions and that the immigration checks could have been carried out at “a more acceptable” time.
He said the experience caused a level of distress which ruined his entire holiday and is suing Thomson Cruises and travel agent Thomas Cook for £1,532.
“This was supposed to be a luxury cruise aimed at an elderly population. I’m happy to get out of bed at 3.30 am if the ship is sinking – but not so excursions can be sold.
“My brother is wheelchair-bound and at the time he was 86 years old. He has many health problems and the aggravation and stress of getting him up at 3.30am was immense. He was jittery afterwards and complaining to me about the situation. All the benefits of the holiday were lost.”
The ship had not originally been scheduled to call at Eilat, but had diverted from Egypt after political unrest in the country.
A spokeswoman for Thomson Cruises said: “We are sorry to hear that Mr Bookbinder was unhappy with the way the immigration process in Israel was handled.
“Israel has very strict immigration procedures and interviews customers and crew on board. Customers are therefore required to make an early start, which we warn them of in advance.
“This immigration process is common practice for all ships visiting Israeli ports.”
A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook added: “Inevitably there are times when travel companies have to alter certain elements of people’s holidays but we always work hard to keep those to a minimum.
“In this specific case we acted as the travel agent so the delivery of the cruise holiday wasn’t within our sphere of control and we’re sorry Mr Bookbinder feels it necessary to take this step.”
Mr Bookbinder says he is confident of winning when the case comes before a small claims court next week, but says: “Even if I lose, I will have exposed a great wrong.”

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:41+00:00 8 November 2012|Cruise News|3 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Richard Moby 8 November 2012 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    What a ridiculous man! There is no great wrong to be exposed. Even if he feels aggrieved at one lost lie-in, the claim that his entire holiday was ruined and that he deserves a full refund is ludicrous. I hope he loses. Thomson should counter-sue him for wasting their time, money and effort. And they should make sure this silly man is never allowed on any of their ships ever again

  2. Dave 8 November 2012 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    Can agree with his arguement but not sure suing will actually result in anything, other than getting a free holiday.

  3. David 10 November 2012 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    I agree with Mr Bookbinder, it would have spoilt my holiday too. As for suing in the small claims court (which is easy to do), it might make Thompsons think twice before hauling people out of bed at such an awful hour, improve the customer experience and hopefully put pressure on Israel to smarten up its tourist act. Ive been on hundreds of cruises in the med, Black Sea and Baltic and have never had that happen.

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