A newly-wed couple have been left ‘devastated’ after they were forced to abandon their dream honeymoon after just three days when hurricane Irma struck Cuba.
Days before the disaster struck, Katie and Rob Young, both 34, of Wendlebury, near Bicester, were told they had to leave the island.
The pair, who had been saving for the holiday of a lifetime for two years, have been told by tour operator Virgin Holidays only the cost of unused hotel rooms would be refunded.
Katie, a nanny, and her new husband Rob, an accounts manager for British Gas, were in Havana and were due to travel to beach resort Varadero for a further 12 nights as part of the honeymoon which cost almost £4,000.
But last Wednesday they were told they were going to be evacuated home the following day.
Irma has caused destruction across the Caribbean, killing at least 30 people, causing floods and destroying buildings and infrastructure.
Mrs Young said: “We were told if we decided to stay we had to sign a disclaimer signing us off from Virgin – so we figured we didn’t really have a choice at this point – the flight was booked for 5.25pm the following day Thursday, September 7, three days into our honeymoon.
“We were told it was very dangerous to stay and their advice was to go.
“Virgin Holidays have told us we would get a refund for the hotel stay we haven’t used, at this stage we don’t know how much that is, but once taking the flights and the Havana stay out of the equation I can’t imagine it being a lot.”
Mrs Young said to make matters worse, the nine-hour flight home did not have enough food for the 400 passengers, so they were only given drinks, pretzels and a cereal bar.
The couple are unable to make a claim on their holiday insurance as the policy doesn’t cover cancellations or curtailment.
Mrs Young said: “We knew it was hurricane season when we were going but when asking the tour operator they said it’s not all the time so we booked thinking we would be ok.
“To now have the worry of losing the majority of that money is heart-breaking and to lose our two-week honeymoon to a three-day city break is so disappointing.
“To say we are disappointed is an understatement, words can’t describe how we are feeling at the moment. We had such an amazing wedding and the honeymoon was to be the icing on the cake. Instead we are back home in Bicester feeling very sad and deflated.”
A Virgin Holidays spokesman said the “safety and wellbeing” of customers was its “top priority”. He said customers would get the cost of unused hotels back, and individual customers can ask for their case to be reviewed by its customer relations team.