A LUXURY Panama Canal cruise ended on a sour note for a Bournemouth couple when they had to fork out an extra £3,600 to get home two days late, after missing their connecting flights.

Elizabeth Mitchell, 62, and her husband Brian, 66, from Old Bridge Road, Iford, are demanding compensation from Celebrity Cruises after splashing out nearly £11,000 for the Christmas and New Year trip with their daughter Samantha and son-in-law Jay from Middlesex.

“It was a really stressful end to a lovely holiday,” clerical officer Elizabeth told the Daily Echo. “It was our 13th cruise with the company and we had never experienced any problems in the past.

“I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before we’d left and I needed to get back for the operation.”

She added: “We knew we wouldn’t make it to San Diego airport on time three days before we docked but cruise staff insisted that we had nothing to worry about.

“We disembarked at 11am and the flight was at 11.25am so of course we missed the connecting flights.

“We were given two options but neither would have got us home in time for the hospital appointment on January 7 so we booked our own flights at a cost of £3,600.

“At first Celebrity Cruises offered £200 off the cost of another cruise but there’s no way we would travel with them again.

“Now they are offering £900 compensation for each couple. I want other people to know how shabbily we have been treated.”

Celebrity Cruises spokeswoman Emily Cuthbert said: “Celebrity Cruises sincerely apologies for the inconvenience Ms Mitchell experienced following immigration delays in San Diego outside our control, as part of her return journey.

“Celebrity Cruises worked hard to re-book all affected guests on to alternative flights. Ms Mitchell chose not to take the flight options offered to her and booked her own flights outside the package agreement without consulting Celebrity Cruises.

“Celebrity Cruises has offered a contribution towards these costs in recognition of the challenging end to her holiday.”