'We felt like criminals' - blind women forced to leave cruise were dubbed 'health and safety risk'

  • Watch report from ITV Meridian's Andrew Pate

Two blind women from West Sussex say they were left upset and humiliated, after being escorted from a cruise ship because of 'health and safety' concerns.

Pam May and Jennie Bailie say P&O Cruises knew they were blind when they booked the trip, and had agreed to take them on the holiday from Southampton last month.

But the crew onboard the Ventura handed them a letter, saying it was a matter of health and safety - and told them they had to get off the ship.

Pam and Jennie had booked their holiday through TUI in London Road in Bognor Regis and say the team dealt with their concerns and liaised with P&O.

But when they went onboard the cruise ship, the situation changed.

"It was humiliating. We actually felt like criminals," Pam said.

"We were standing there and having to argue why we had the right to travel, and go on holiday on our own, the same as everybody else."

Jennie added: "We were marched off, and even said we wanted to go to the toilet, because we had been on the ship for quite a while by then.

"We weren't allowed to use the toilet on the ship, and she escorted us off the boat like two criminals.

"It was totally and utterly embarrassing, and very very upsetting."

  • Pam May and Jennie Bailie

P&O Cruises told TUI that most of their ships have Braille cabin numbers, lift buttons and menus.

They were also told that Pam and Jennie would be offered an orientation tour when they arrived onboard.

In a statement a P&O Cruises spokesperson said: “Whilst we want all our guests to have a wonderful time with us, clearly the safety and wellbeing of all onboard is our priority at all times.

"We are so sorry that these guests were unable to travel with us and we will be offering them a full refund for their holiday including any travel expenses incurred.”

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