When Australian grandmother Cheryl Stuchbery and her husband, John, set sail with Royal Caribbean cruises from Sydney to New Zealand, they thought they were embarking on their dream holiday.
But some dreams are destined to turn into nightmares, as Cheryl soon learned, when it was revealed that staff aboard the cruise liner had lost her suitcase.
For the next 11 days, Cheryl was left without so much as a change of clothes, forced to wear the same outfit time and time again. John helped as much as he could, offering his own underwear so that his wife wasn’t entirely going without.
Speaking to Australia’s A Current Affair, Cheryl admitted that the entire experience had left her “very depressed. I was in tears a lot at the time.”
“Cheryl ended up wearing my knickers,” John explained, adding that it only made sense, because his clothes had actually been available.
“I’ve put a pair on, but the only thing is, I couldn’t fill out the little pouch in the front,” Cheryl added.
When the staff were unable to locate her bag on the second day of the trip, they offered to wash her one outfit for her. Every morning, they would drop by, collect her things, and take them off to wash and dry.
While this ensured Cheryl had clean clothes to wear each day, it also meant she started them with three hours sitting in her cabin and waiting.
“They [would] give Cheryl a t-shirt and a dressing gown,” John explained, “so for the first sort of three hours each day, we’re sitting in the room waiting for the clothes to come back.”
In the time since, Cheryl has tried to find humour in the whole situation, though she certainly hadn’t even been able to consider it at the time.
It wasn’t the first time the couple had set out on a cruise, it was just the first that their belongings hadn’t made it along with them.
“They did say it was very unusual for a suitcase not to turn up at all,” Cheryl noted.
“For quite a bit of time we felt that it had been stolen because they’d searched the ship,” John said.
And, in timing that came as no help to the cruising couple, Cheryl’s bag turned up the very day after they’d arrived back in Sydney.
To make matters even worse, it had been onboard the whole time.
As John put it, “it had been on [the] boat all the time and they say, ‘well, that’s okay, you’ve got your case back’.”
Royal Caribbean have since issued a statement in apology, writing that they “sincerely apologise for misplacing Mr and Mrs Stuchbery’s luggage. During their cruise, Mr and Mrs Stuchbery were provided with complimentary express laundry, an onboard credit to assist with purchasing incidental items, and specialty dining.
“The luggage was located on return to Sydney and Mr and Mrs Stuchbery have been offered additional compensation and documentation to support a claim via their travel insurance.”
But it hasn’t done anything to help the sour taste of the whole ordeal left in the Stuchbery’s mouths, with Cheryl declaring that she still “feel[s] very angry.”
Images: A Current Affair / Nine
This article first appeared on Over60.