Costa cruise ship
Wikimedia/Sean MacEntee

Cruise Passenger Stages Mutiny After Bubonic Plague Upsets Vacation Plans

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The ship canceled its stops in Madagascar because of bubonic plague

A French chef on a luxury cruise in the Indian Ocean was kicked off the ship after staging a “mutiny” in the ship’s dining area after several planned stops were canceled, even though they were canceled because of an outbreak of the bubonic plague.

According to the Telegraph, a 53-year-old French chef named Alain Jan and his wife boarded the Costa Cruises neoRiviera cruise liner on October 26 in Réunion Island, where Jan owns a restaurant. The boat was meant to make stops at Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles, but a couple days after the boat left, the captain announced that the Madagascar trips would be canceled because of an outbreak of bubonic and pneumonic plague on the island.

While nobody likes canceling plans, the bubonic plague is a pretty good reason to alter one’s travel arrangements. The World Health Organization says the outbreak is a serious threat to the area. At least 1,000 people have contracted the plague, and 100 have died from it.

There were five planned stops in Madagascar. Initially, the ship canceled just the first three of them. The fact that people are dying of the plague might put the relatively small annoyance of canceled travel plans into perspective. But Jan was furious when he heard the remaining two Madagascar stops would be canceled, and the ship would not be stopping in Mauritius either.

Because of the inconvenience, all the disappointed passengers were given $175 to spend on the boat. Jan said that did not come close to making up for being trapped on what he called a “floating prison.”

"Things started heating up - €150 when a major part of the trip is cancelled and a drink on board costs €5," he said.

Jan reportedly organized a protest in the ship’s dining area. He says 60 people showed up, and they all shouted and banged on tables. Still, the captain refused to change course, so the protesters started another demonstration in the ship’s theater. The ship was near Seychelles, so the captain called the local police. Jan says he asked to speak to the French ambassador, but instead the police chief removed him from the boat.

Jan was pretty happy with that outcome, though.

"I spent two nights in a hotel in the Seychelles with my wife, then were flown home paid for by Costa. That's how I was freed from the floating prison," he said.

Jan does not sound like he enjoyed his “floating prison” very much, but if he’s not too soured on sea travel, maybe next time the chef would have a better time on one of the 9 best cruise ships for food.

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