Uniworld is suing MSC Cruises for damages following a cruise ship collision in Venice last summer.

MSC Opera crashed into Uniworld’s River Countess near the San Basilio Cruise Terminal in Venice on June 2 after the ocean liner appeared to lose control.

Nobody was seriously injured from the incident.

Uniworld chief executive and president Ellen Bettridge said conversations with MSC since the incident had been unproductive and the luxury river line had been forced to cancel 14 sailings as a result of the crash.

“We are extremely disappointed with the unprofessional manner in which MSC has decided to ignore the gravity of the situation, which has disrupted our guests, our partners and our team,” Bettridge said.

“Aside from the severe damage to our ship, we were forced to cancel 14 voyages, frustrating our guests and travel partners during the peak summer season.”


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The Italian authorities are still investigating the incident which Uniworld claims has affected more than 1,600 passengers.

The line estimates its losses, which include passenger reimbursement, ship damage, lost revenue and protection of travel agent commission, to be in excess of €11.5 million.

Bettridge said Uniworld did “not like to litigate” but it had felt “compelled to do so based on the stonewalling and delays by MSC and its representatives – even after receiving a letter of guarantee by their own insurance agency, West of England”.

She added: “We expect more and better from a fellow member of the cruise industry and regret having to go to court.”

Bettridge also added: “The company prides itself on delivering service which exceeds our customers’ expectations and that is put to the test most not when things go right, but when things go wrong. We are holding MSC to that standard.

“This situation has been incredibly distressing, particularly for those guests and crew who experienced the traumatic moment onboard first-hand and those who watched the terrifying videos in the days to follow; we wish for nothing more than to put this behind us.

“It’s time for them to come to the table and make us whole.”

An MSC Cruises spokesperson confirmed that the line had been working “constructively with all parties” following the incident.

The spokesperson said: “MSC Cruises has been working constructively with all parties and their legal advisors since shortly after the incident, and has been facilitating a close cooperation between those involved including their insurers.

“As liability in this matter is still under investigation by the responsible authorities it is inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

“MSC Cruises is committed to continuing to cooperate fully in order to resolve this matter.”