abandon ship

Newlyweds stuck on cruise ship desperate to escape homophobic staff, say their honeymoon is “ruined”

A gay couple from the U.K. say their honeymoon has been “ruined” after enduring days of endless homophobic abuse from staff members aboard a cruise ship in South East Asia.

25-year-olds Dan and Chance Walton-Ashmore were married last year. They’re currently aboard the Marella Discovery, a TUI cruise liner, on a belated honeymoon. But things haven’t been so sweet.

According to Dan, they’ve been receiving horrible treatment from staff since first arriving on the ship 11 days ago, including being ignored by waitstaff, made to feel “invisible,” and laughed at when they danced together.

In a post on social media earlier this week, Dan wrote: “We have received so much homophobic abuse from Tui staff on board the Marella Discovery. We want to come home. TUI are a disgrace!”

Speaking to The Mirror, he explains, “Initially, it was that they refused to provide a double bed rather than the two singles we were given, even though the booking did state it was our honeymoon.”

Dan says that when he mentioned this to a person at the reception desk, “they simply pointed and laughed at us. I had to push them together myself for it to be done.”

He also claims when he complained about the treatment to another staff member, she allegedly said: “I find it hard to believe as I’m the minority on this ship as a heterosexual woman, not you.”

According to Dan, TUI got wind of his social media post and tried to make amends by offering the couple champagne, strawberries, and a free meal from the a la carte restaurant. But by then their honeymoon had already been tainted.

“This is not good enough and is in no way a sufficient apology and does not make up for the 11 days that we have been through,” he says.

“We have the support of passengers on board and people back at home. We just want to come home now as we are a laughing stock for the TUI staff on board.”

He continues, “We only have a few days left but it has really ruined our honeymoon and we do not feel safe on board or comfortable enough to be the honeymoon couple we should be able to be.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for TUI said: “We’re very concerned to hear of the Walton-Ashmore party’s experience onboard Marella Discovery and we take claims of this nature very seriously. We are currently investigating this internally.”

“Our team onboard are doing everything possible to address the customers’ concerns and give them the best possible experience on their holiday.”

Related: United Airlines allegedly made a disabled gay man abandon his mobility device, ruining his honeymoon