Kicked off my cruise for peeing near the pool

Nice day for swim. / Photo by A. Tinworth - Flickr
When Karen Del Zoppo’s husband suffered a heart attack two years ago, he sustained severe anoxic brain damage, which left him with the mental state and motor skills of a two-year-old.

Del Zoppo didn’t want that to stop the family from enjoying a vacation. As a registered nurse, she’s more than capable of caring for her mentally handicapped husband. So she recently booked a getaway for the couple and her brother and sister-in-law — a western Mediterranean cruise that left from Venice, Italy.

And that’s when the incident happened.

Before I get to the details, a warning: This case is not for the squeamish and it contains some adult themes. If you are easily offended, please stop reading now.

After checking into the cabin, Del Zoppo and the rest of the party went to the pool and enjoyed a few drinks after the long flight. At one point, her husband stood, walked to the edge of the pool, and relieved himself.

I did run to my husband to attempt him to stop, but he gently pushed me aside to finish his basic need.

Please be aware, he did not pull his bathing suit down, but covered his penis by pulling it out of the top of the bathing suit, and held his hand around it, and nothing could be seen except the stream by the pool’s edge.

The passengers who witnessed Del Zoppo’s accident were outraged.

One irate passenger who saw this told me that my husband was an animal, and belonged in a cage, and not on this cruise. He continued to repeat this incident to anyone who would listen, and made an incident report.

Things did not end well. A Holland America representative suggested her husband might be a threat, because passengers saw her husband pushing her away while he tried to do his business. But she says they weren’t aware of his condition.

Anoxic brain damage happens when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen for several minutes or longer, and the damage is said to be permanent. In other words, while her husband looks like an adult, he is very much a child.

My husband cannot even make a fist, and lacks motor control in his hands. He can’t even open a soda bottle or jar for me. His equilibrium is also abnormal.

He has never been anything but friendly. Even the security guards that were posted at our room, said he was no problem and extremely pleasant.

But Holland America had made its decision: It said her brother and sister-in-law could stay, but insisted they disembark immediately, before the ship set sail. They returned to the States, and were told they couldn’t get a refund for their portion of the cruise.

“I am beside myself with this treatment that we encountered, and the loss of a great deal of my hard-earned money,” she told me.

She wants me to help her get a refund.

Holland America’s cruise contract, which passengers must agree to before boarding, is clear about its liability: it has none.

Section 6 of its contract spells it out, saying guests may be removed from a cruise for any reason, including,

(a) you are or become in such condition as to be unfit to travel or dangerous or obnoxious to other passengers or employees; (b) you are inadmissible under the immigration or other laws of any country included in the Cruise, Cruisetour or Land Trip itinerary or fail at any time to possess required travel documents; or (c) you fail to abide by the rules or orders of the Master or other ship’s officers.

And what are your remedies if you’re kicked off the ship? You have none.

If transportation is denied after departure, you and your baggage may be landed or transported to any port or location that we select, without any resulting liability for refund, payment, compensation or credit on our part. If you are disembarked or any other actions are taken for any reason pursuant to this paragraph A.6, you will not be entitled to any refunds or damages.

I have mixed feelings about this one. Yes, I could talk to Holland America about this involuntary disembarkation, and it might review the incident and offer her something — a cruise credit or a partial refund of the $11,000 she spent. Based on my past experience dealing with Holland America, I would say it’s unlikely.

But the cruise line was well within its rights to remove the passenger, at least as far as its cruise contract is concerned. Should it have done so? That’s debatable.

Update: (10 a.m.) The debate appears to be over. I just received a note from Holland America that while it stands by its decision to disembark the couple, it has decided to give them a refund. It says the decision was made last week. I am contacting the customer now to confirm.

Update: (1:30 p.m.) And here’s the confirmation from the customer to my question of whether Holland America had offered a refund.

Yes, they are. I kept posting on their facebook page. I think they weren’t too happy with it! I’m so GLAD!

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Jesse Robertson

    So her husband relieved himself in front of other people right after they got to the cruise? Why would Holland think that this isn’t going to keep happening? Would it be ok for a 2 year old to do this by her reasoning? If someone had a 2 year old who would relieve himself anywhere he pleases and his caregiver couldn’t stop him I’d think that even the 2 year old would probably have to be kicked off.

  • johnb78

    Bit confused by this one. Surely if you were travelling with a profoundly disabled adult, you’d notify the company of this in advance, and make the necessary arrangements with them? It sounds like this didn’t happen in Del Zoppo’s case (“she says they weren’t aware of his condition”)
    Which, if she failed to tell the line about her husband’s condition, is entirely her fault: hence, the crew treating him as if he were an obnoxious drunken adult. On the other hand, if she did notify the cruise line of her husband’s condition at the time of booking, but they failed to pass it onto the staff on the boat (or failed to tell her they weren’t able to cope with people in his situation, if that’s the general line policy), then that’s the line’s fault.

    So I’d say you should mediate if she informed the line of the severity of her husband’s condition in advance, but not if she didn’t.

  • J

    “My husband cannot even make a fist, and lacks motor control in his hands.”
    “Please be aware, he did not pull his bathing suit down, but covered his penis by pulling it out of the top of the bathing suit, and held his hand around it, and nothing could be seen except the stream by the pool’s edge.”

    He managed to get to the edge of the pool before the OP noticed, so she really doesn’t know what was visible. If the incident happened in the main dining room, and he pushed away a member of the crew who was attempting to stop him. Or what if a 2 year old was not being supervised closely and managed to get to the edge of the pool because their parents were drinking? What if he had wandered to the railing of the ship alone with his abnormal equilibrium? It seems that part of the OP’s position is that the passengers who witnessed the incident were not aware of her husband’s condition, but that doesn’t change the fact that someone who is mentally 2 years old and with enough strength to push an adult away was unsupervised in a potentially dangerous situation. So as far as the way they were treated (being watched by security and removed from the ship) I stand behind the cruise on this one.

    Would the OP accept a partial refund? If so, it might be worth mediating. But if she wants a full refund, or a full refund plus additional compensation, I think she’s asking for too much.

  • Jen Armstrong

    We need more information here. Was Holland America aware of his unfortunate condition prior to the cruise’s beginning, or at least before the incident at the pool? It was socially unacceptable what he did, but he obviously was unable to know better and she did try to stop him. It happened. Nobody was hurt. I can see not letting him near the pool again, but to kick them off of the cruise, I believe, was a little too much. If this was someone with a normal mental capacity, I would understand the policy, but in this case, I feel some leniency might be warranted. I’d suggest mediating for a credit for the unused days for a future cruise.

  • bc

    Your husband can’t make a fist and doesn’t have good motor control of his hands, yet he was able to simultaneously pull out his junk and cover it with his other hand? Oh, and at the same time “gently push” you aside? How many arms does your husband have, Karen? Right, I don’t believe you. 

    This inconsistency aside, your husband obviously needed far more attention then you were able to provide. He also pushed you aside while you were trying to stop him, which seems to suggest you can’t control his behavior. You may have spent a lot of money to enjoy this cruise but what about the other passengers? What about the money they spent? The ship hadn’t even left the dock yet and this occurred!!! What would you expect HA to do? You’re besides yourself? What about the people that had to watch that little display?

    While I’m sympathetic because your husband is disabled, but should the other guests have to worry your husband is going to relieve himself anywhere he pleases for the remainder of the cruise? How are the HA staff supposed to handle a grown man in this condition if his own wife can’t. I don’t think it’s fair to the staff or the other guests. The comfort of ALL their passengers is important, if one person has the capacity to disrupt an entire cruise, HA has a duty to address that. So what if only one person saw it, If I saw it I would report it to the ship captain or anyone else in the crew that would listen. 

    I voted NO to mediation.

  • bc

    If HA were ‘aware’ of the situation, how do you think that would have changed the outcome of this case? Do you expect HA to say, “oh yeah, we knew about that, he gets a slide this time”?

    Nobody was hurt? The cruise likely had to drain the entire pool, clean it, refill it and add chemicals to get it back to the proper pH. This is an additional expense for HA. Plus next time, maybe the husband tries peeing over the side of the boat and shoves a HA employee when they attempt to stop him? Or worse, what if he decides to jump into the sea? How is HA supposed to handle a situation when you have an adult passenger who isn’t under control and their spouse doesn’t seem to have control either. 

    I believe accommodations need to be made for special needs passengers, but I think HA has to draw the line somewhere. 

  • cybersal

    Without a dedicated caretaker, other than the wife, it seems risky to take a mentally disabled adult on a ship.  He could be a danger to himself and others. Since he would not obey her in this instance what makes her think he would obey in the case of an emergency. (Such as  boarding a lifeboat.)
    I think it is wonderful that she cares for him and he is not institutionalized but he has no business on a cruise without additional caregivers.
    Obviously she was not able to turn her back for even one second.  
    I’m sorry she lost her money but unless the ship was aware of the condition beforehand – and accepted it – they have no obligation to refund. Love is wonderful but this man is no longer the adult she married and sad as it may be their circumstances have changed. I applaud her dedication.

  • JenniferFinger

    I don’t see how even letting the cruise company know about her husband’s condition in advance could have stopped her husband from doing what he did.  Some people, no matter how good their caregivers are or think they are, just don’t belong on cruise ships or other public places because they can’t control their instincts or take care of themselves.   Having a mental/medical condition doesn’t excuse anyone from the need to respect the needs of others.   Karen, I’m sorry, but I don’t think your husband belonged on a cruise if his condition makes him think this is okay.  He is not able to control himself or take care of himself, and you clearly aren’t able to watch him every second-nor should the ship personnel do so.

  • Kathleen Proud Keyte

    I am sort of shocked that some people are voting yes. It’s quite obvious that Mrs Del Zoppo believes she can ‘control’ her husband but the incident clearly shows that she cannot be there 24/7 to make certain incidents won’t happne. If I was a passenger I would be disgusted at what happened too. Clearly perhaps a cruise is not the best type of holiday for these folks as there are other people whose needs and feelings need to be considered as well as hers.

  • jane4321

    I’m curious.  Does the cruise allow children?  Many do not.  If the man has the mental age and motor skills of a two year old and they do not allow children, then she had no business bringing him.  All of the other people would have bought their cruise with the idea that they were having a child-free vacation, i.e. a vacation free of these kinds of disturbances.  Personally I can’t stand when people bring small children to a fancy restaurant, for example, that is clearly not a family restaurant. They never seem to understand that other parents like me have arranged for a sitter ourselves and paid a lot of money for that so that we could have a child-free evening. I would be furious if I paid thousands for a child-free cruise and then had to deal with a child or with an adult with the mental age of a child.

  • MikeInCtown

    I agree with this. The cruise line was right for sending them off the ship, however, since I saw the total spent was $11k, I do think they should be offered some type of refund, since they hadn’t even left port.

    Also, I don’t care what was visable and what was not visable. The fact that a person would just relieve themselves in the pool is disturbing. if the wife knew how the husband acted because of his condition, why on earth would you travel like this? I don’t blame the passengers for being irate, and honestly if she cannot control her husband/take reasonable care of him and not allow him to push her away, then they needed to not be on the cruise.

  • MikeInCtown

    Drain and refill? Um, no… a couple cups of urine in a pool holding 30,000 gallons of clorinated or treated salt water will not make a bit of difference. The abundance of tanning lotion that people will lose in teh pool has more of an affect. Oh, and don’t forget, urine is sterile.(normallY)

  • MikeInCtown

    I cannot speak for everyone, but I voted yes simply because there goes $11k down the drain and they ship hadn’t even left port. I believe some type of voucher for future travel would be appropriate… Perhaps one that someone else could use.

  • absherlock

    I think Holland America was absolutely correct in removing them from the cruise – the man was not being properly monitored and he was a potential hazard to both himself and others. 

    That being said, I think a certain amount of sympathy is in order here. True, Ms. Del Zoppo is coming across as a bit oblivious to other people’s concerns, but I think her situation is a difficult one. She not only lost her husband within the past two years (or at least, everything about his personality that made him her husband) but now has to be his caretaker. This isn’t like having a child with a disability where you have a learning curve as they become toddlers then children until they’re finally adults – this is (no pun intended) being thrown into the deep end of the pool. It’s sad that she’s lost the life she previously had, but admirable that she’s attempting a new one WITH her husband rather than abandoning him. 

    It was a bad decision on her part to bring him on the cruise, perhaps bolstered by a false sense of confidence, but it was a compassionate decision. It would be a truly nice thing for Holland America to make an exception in this case and it would be equally nice if you, Chris, were to help it to happen.

    I vote to mediate.

  • backprop

    So we had a case of a woman whose child took a sip of rum and who subsequently wanted a full refund of the cruise price.  What if someone e-mails you about an awful Holland America cruise they went on during which their kids watched a grown man pee into the pool while they watched?  Will you mediate those to get them a refund?

  • backprop

     Why?  Do you think the cruise found a last minute passenger to book their cabins and board at the first port?

  • KCFluff

    I certainly hope that she didn’t allow her husband to have any alcohol — that may have dropped his lack of inhibitions even further. I have a son who was brain-injured in a car accident and his impairment is mostly due to lack of oxygen to the brain, too, so damage is very diverse. I don’t think my son is as impaired as this woman’s husband, but, while I could take him on a cruise, I could never just sit and talk with friends — my attention would have to be on him all the time. My son is very friendly and nice, too, but he could not just sit still and enjoy a cruise and conversation. It doesn’t sound like she was quite aware yet of all of her husband’s impairments. I think they were right to ask them to leave the cruise as it is obvious that while she is caring for him, she really cannot control him. It’s a very expensive lesson for her to learn.

  • backprop

    That logic doesn’t necessarily fly in the real world.  Remember when a hiker peed into the aquifer in California?  They drained tens of millions of gallons and refilled it.

  • Meredith Peruzzi

    Yes, the cruise allows children.  HAL does not have sailings where children are not welcomed on board.  Currently, European cruise lines (eg, P&O) are the only ones that have adults-only ships.  I’m not sure what “many” you refer to that do not allow kids. :)

  • TonyA_says

     Agree.  I am beginning to doubt the mental competence of a person who decides to take along a mentally incompetent person to a cruise. Looks like they are asking for trouble.

  • technomage1

    I find this story hard to believe. If HA felt the need to post guards outside their cabin, I’ve got to think there was more that went on than she’s admitting to.

  • TonyA_says

     Frankly, if I had any sense left, I would be too embarrassed to write an advocate about what happened.

  • MikeInCtown

    Well, after doing a search, that was Oregon, and it was treated water for drinking. It was not a chlorinated swimming pool where dozens of kids (and adults) urinate in it every day, but do so while in the water. It may be filthy or disguisting to you, but thats what happens on a daily basis.

  • MikeInCtown

    That would assume the ship was at 100% capacity. We don’t know that. What we do know is that the couple used NONE of the travel. They didn’t sleep in the room, dine there, drink there, or use the ship’s amenities in any way, except for “relief”. ;)

  • emanon256

    If I saw someone pee in the pool, and the cruise line did nothing to clean it, I sure as heck wouldn’t be going in the pool, and I sure as heck would be complaining to the cruise line.  Though I would not ask for a 100% refund like some people:

  • Anne88

    Holland America was 100% correct.  Her husband is still and adult and responsible for his actions.  If he is disabled to the point of doing inappropriate actions in public he should not have gone on a cruise ship.  

  • Rosered7033

    Maybe, maybe not. HA hierarchy could’ve decided that an uncontrollable adult should not be allowed free run of the ship, even with a significant other in tow.

  • TonyA_says

    Bless you.

    I grew up in a family compound with my Aunt who is “severely autistic”. (When I was growing up in the 50’s they told me she was “shell shocked” during WW2. Of course that was a joke so the kids wouldn’t ask too many questions.)  I don’t know of a better term to describe her situation. She can play the piano very well and that’s it. We cannot take her to public places because, just like what happened to this man, she could easily do something inappropriate if she felt like she had to go to the bathroom. I am now 58 years old, and my aunt is probably about 90 and alive and well. Because my grandmother was independently wealthy, she was able to leave a trust for my Aunt and that pays for a live-in nursing aide. While my Aunt can easily afford to pay for a cruise for the whole extended family, that idea would certainly never cross our minds. I don’t understand why the woman (OP) thought they could go on a cruise.

  • john4868

    Sorry but I agree with HA on this one while feeling sorry for the OP and her situation.

    Her own statements are inconsistent. So he lacks the motor control to make a fist but has enough to cover himself? He has the social awareness to cover himself as he relieved himself in the pool but not enough to find a bathroom or alert her he needed to go? He’s not a threat but pushed her out of the way when she attempted to stop him from doing something he wanted to?

    What happens when he decides to climb on the railing? What happens when a 6 yo gets in his way?

    How about the rest of the people on the cruise? What about their hard-earned money and vacation being put on hold so they could clean the pool?

    I think HA made the correct choice in removing them for their own safety and the benefit of the rest of the passengers.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Wow. I’m normally the mean one on here, and I was all set to say “no” to mediation until I read the 11K price tag. I feel terrible for the OP. She can only do so much in her situation (and yes, I think it was a bad choice to take her husband on a cruise when so many situations require better than average behavior, especially with the older HA crowd…)

    But my question would be: Had a similar incident happened before? If so, why wasn’t he wearing adult diapers? Agree that once the incident happened, HA had to close / flush / refill the pool. Obviously, if no one saw it, it’d be a different story. I’m sure people pee in the pool all the time.

    If I was HA, I’d probably allow a re-do, but only on a certain route / sailing that they know won’t sell out (perhaps offering the OP a sort of cruise “standby”?) It’s just that the punishment seemed kind of harsh…

  • User921394932

    If this is their policy did hundreds of little kids get kicked off the cruise too?

  • john4868

    My local pool has to close for a day everytime it happens to be cleaned and its a land based clorinated system.

  • Rosered7033

    I like to read the info, formulate my position, and then read what others’ viewpoints are. It gives me (most of the time) an empathetic view. That said, initially I sided with the OP, but now realize the OP was ill-equipped to handle her husband alone. I believe if she had witnessed someone else’s husband doing this, she would be siding with HA.
    I don’t think you do anything half-heatedly, Chris, but if you feel HA will probably not budge, maybe your efforts are better spent elsewhere.

  • cowboyinbrla

     Technically, Anne, he may not be responsible for his actions (it’s quite possible that she’s gone to court to have him declared incapable of managing his own affairs). What that does, however, is shift the responsibility to her.

  • TonyA_says

    10-4. Maybe they should be made to pay for all the other vacations they possibly ruined for others on the same cruise. I certainly would not pay $$$$ for a cruise only to see an old man urinate (in all his splendor) in front of everyone in a pool. This is just too disgusting. Who cares if he has a mind  or motor skills of 2 year old? That’s a shameful excuse for the person who put him in that situation. NO to mediation.

  • TonyA_says

    Besides a 2 year old would probably be in swimming diapers.

  • Lauren Bear

    I have experience with this exact sort of situation and that’s why they make condom (or Liberty 3) catheters, travel insurance and special needs offices.  It doesn’t sound like she took advantage of any of these, was over confident in her caregiving abilities and probably also in denial about the severity of this situation (as much of my family is about our disabled member).  I think the cruise line could have done better, but they were within their rights and since this already was affecting other passengers…I don’t see a problem with how they handled it.

  • TonyA_says

    Question: Why didn’t he just pee on the Grand Canal in Venice before boarding the ship. Sometimes the water stinks so much that it smells like a bathroom.

  • HeyItsK

    As sad as this situation is, if a caregiver thinks it’s okay to “have a few drinks” when she is responsible for an adult-sized toddler, then HA was right to put them off.

  • backprop

    I’m not arguing with your logic, but rather perception.  If someone saw someone physically urinating where their kids were swimming, despite what we all know goes on all the time “unnoticed,” I bet the pool got drained.

  • TonyA_says

    Harsh??? Didn’t Seabourne kick out a 84 year old woman (and he 90 year old husband) because she didn’t attend the drill?

    With this man’s state of mind, what else can he do next? Why re-do? At least they got to see Venice for $11K.

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    I think the whole situation is pretty sad – having a husband with diminished brain capacity and trying to live a normal life.  The wife may be used to his behaviors because she takes care of him.  But, going out in public may be another story.
    Because of the steep price tag – $11k – I think you should at least try to get some kind of partial refund for this woman.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Sigh! I can’t win! I tried to be the emotionless voice of reason and got bashed by the wheelchair people (strange because everyone else was saying exactly the same thing as me! And I notice that NONE of the bashers ever answered my simple question – if the incident happened exactly the same, what would they do differently?) and now I actually feel bad for someone!

    The Seabourne couple were unreasonably stubborn. HA probably saved some money on this couple’s meals and whatnot. They could’ve kicked them a voucher for a stay in Venice or something, no? Wonder if the OP actually did try to make a vacation out of it or if they just flew home straightaway…

  • KarlaKatz

    Good grief!  This is not even newsworthy.  The OP was totally responsible for the actions of her husband, just as any custodial parent would be (she, herself, stated he was a “two-year old”).

  • Stephen Mencik

    Did hundreds of little kids stand at the edge of the pool and take a leak? I’m sure the public visibility had a whole lot to do with this.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Really hating Disqus today. Second attempt at posting!!!

    1. I feel sorry for the OP but I’m siding with HAL.

    2. The OP could not “manage” her husband in this situation. If he could get up from the table where they were having drinks and walk over to pee in the pool, she probably wasn’t paying as much attention as she should.

    3. If this had happened on land in the US, he might have been given a “public urination/drunk and disorderly” ticket. How do I know this? Let’s just say that in college, I celebrated a bit too heavily after a rivalry football game and made friends with a tree at 2AM. But, note the difference in locales here–college town, closing time, bunch of drunks, and facing a tree. Ticket was dropped…But I digress.

    4. Cruise lines are under fire for safety issues these days. Read any of the reports about rape/assault/missing persons from cruises…and then consider the Costa mess. HAL was likely pulling a CYA because while the gentleman had mental issues, it is obvious they were uncontrolled.In this scene, he’s peeing in a pool, pretty much exposing himself to everyone around. The wife is trying to make him stop and he shoves her. Most other guests would be HORRIFIED to think we’d have to spend the next 10-14 days around someone who behaves like that, handicapped or not. 

    5. HAL does accept kids. Would you want your child around a man who for whatever reason thinks it’s fine to unzip and show himself to a crowd? While it isn’t the case here, John Q. Public would likely assume “sexual predator.” Would you want to be on a relaxing cruise you paid a lot of money for only to live in fear of this guy messing with your wife/girlfriend/kids?

    Once again, I feel bad for the OP, but HAL was right to remove them from the ship.

    I remember an OLD story on one of the travel (maybe cruise?) message boards about a young woman with mental issues traveling with her parents. She made dining horrible for another couple seated with them. It angered me to think that these people felt their right to a vacation trumped anyone else’s right to peace on a vacation. I wish I knew where I saw it but it was so long ago…err…maybe I’ll dig around for it later.

  • mike46

    She left out a few facts here. The $11K was the price for 4 people. Her brother and sister-in-law could have stayed. Only her and her husband were asked to leave.

    The other two left because they knew she could not handle him by herself to get home from Venice
    She stated in a post on the HA FB page that the Captain had to have them escorted off by guards. What does that tell you about their behavior?

    She posted a picture of him on the HA FB with a comment ‘This is the man that peed in the pool.’ or words to that affect. Why would someone even consider humiliating him like that? Oh wait, he doesn’t understand anyway so I guess she feels it is justified as long as it helps her cause in trying to bully HA into refunding her money.

    She also stated in another post that HA had issued her a full refund. So why are you helping her in an obvious personal vendetta with HA? And your headline is purposely misleading. He was standing ‘near’ the pool but he peed IN the pool.

    HA did the absolute right thing to protect the health and well being of the other 1000 or so passengers. She on the other hand did nothing right from the very beginning of this fiasco. She took her husband out of his comfort zone because SHE wanted to go on vacation.

    Why should HA loose $11K for her selfishness. This poor man should never have been put in that situation.

  • TonyA_says

    IMO there is a huge divide between emotions and fairness or reasonableness.

    I think refunds should be based on fairness and reasonableness. If a couple spent $11k on a Holland America Line (HA) cruise embarking from Venice, I assume they got at least one of those upscale suites (from ~$4k per pax). How do you expect HA to resell that cabin when they were kicked out right after they boarded? Also, why should HA take more risks with this man? It does not look like HA stood to gain more money by kicking them out. So why should they return the couple’s money? Just because $11k is a great deal of money???

  • sirwired

    Hmmm… this is a tough one, and tragic, but I am going to have to side with the cruise line.  If the husband is this impaired, and prone to do things like this, he should not have been booked on the cruise.  Period.  I can’t imagine that the unfamiliar and crowded surroundings were ever gong to go well.  (At the least, the line should have been warned ahead of time, although I’m not sure it would have done any good in this particular case.)

    They were right to eject them from the ship… all this happened before the ship even sailed; how is the line to know what would have happened during the rest of the cruise?  The cabin sailed empty, just as if they were a no-show, so the line did not “double dip.”

    The irate passenger was an ass, but that isn’t Holland America’s fault.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Kids peeing while swimming is one thing. A grown man, unzipping pool side, showing his stuff, and shoving someone trying to stop him is a whole other ball of wax.

  • sirwired

     Even if the line had been informed ahead of time, the line still would be not responsible for supervising him; that would be on the passenger’s party to accomplish, and they clearly failed to do it.

  • Raven_Altosk

    And don’t forget the “handicapped” woman who wants a full refund because the pool on the ship was closed for a few days.

    Cruise Losers: The New Reality Show

  • TonyA_says

     Nice sleuthing, thanks for posting. Sounds like they deserved it.

  • sirwired

     If a cabin is booked, but sails empty, the cruise line doesn’t save any money.  The food has already been bought, the staff for the ship sails and must be paid if the cabin is empty or full, the ship’s capital cost is amortized at the same rate, the fuel will still be burnt, etc.

  • bc

    Uh, we had someone in PDX urinate in the open air reservoir here and the sate required us to drain several million gallons of water. It wasn’t drained because they had to, but for the public’s perception. The same reason HA had to drain the deck pool. 

  • bc

    Yes, 11k was for ALL FOUR family members. Only two were required to disembark. Therefore, the difference is half that about $5500. This does lessen the blow a bit. 

  • Pdoggs

    I have to say that this is a post written with thoughtfulness and compassion and I agree wholeheartedly. 

    Perhaps she could get vouchers for a future cruise, one which she could use alone while her husband is cared for at home by a caretaker.  I know many caretakers burn out in short order.

  • Mel65

    I know it’s hard when you’re IN a situation, to have perspective, but surely Ms. Del Zoppe can take a step back and see that HA had little choice.  Had they allowed her husband to stay and he injured or offended another passenger AFTER they were aware of his cognitive issues, they would be jointly liable along with her for his actions.  The man took out his penis and PEED INTO THE POOL RIGHT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE… Were kids around? Ms. DZ tries a little too hard to minimize his behavior, but I know if I had seen it, I’d be disturbed, afraid to use the pool and nervous if I saw Mr. DZ wandering around by himself later on since he obviously has no impulse control. I’m also wondering about the “few drinks” they had and if the husband also was given alcohol which contributed to his behavior.  There are too many disconnects in what Ms. DZ says in describing her husband’s condition, her ability to control him and his behavior.  If he truly has the mental capacity of a 2 year old, then why take him on a cruise? I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on a 2 year old who simply doesn’t have the capacity remember or appreciate a cruise, and frankly,what’s to keep this full grown man frin seeking the company of children on the cruise and freaking them out since his wife clearly had little control over his behavior?   I hate to sound hearless, but you just don’t get to inflict your/your spouse’s condition on everyone else and then use that condition as an excuse for bad behavior … My sympathies to the Del Zoppos, but my agreement to HA for their handling of this one.

  • MikeInCtown

    I didn’t see where it said the total for 4 was $11k. It just said they had spent $11k. No mention it was for all 4.

    Either way, I am glad they are getting a refund as the update suggests. Good on the cruise line for stepping up and offering some good customer service.

  • Pdoggs

    Perhaps because this has not been a life long condition for Mrs. Del Zoppo, this is something that has happened only in the last few years.  Her whole life, marriage, home life, likely work life, had to change drastically.  It’s not easy to become a sole caretaker and I’m sure it’s certainly not what she was expecting. 

    While I agree that they should have been disembarked I do think a bit of compassion could be shown to her.  Perhaps not a refund but vouchers for future travel that she can use (on her own while she get a caretaker for the husband at home).   

  • Raven_Altosk

    You receive the Google-Fu Award of the day! 
    Interesting to get the whole story. I can’t believe she posted a pic of the poor guy!!!

  • TonyA_says

    Don’t expect compassion from a cruise line. You might be luckier with an airline (miracle). And, compassion is not something you demand from anyone. I wish them luck.

    More here:

    ADDED: Just read the update. Apparently, they are that lucky!

  • Lindabator

    Why on earth did she not inform them in advance of his problems, and why should she be shocked they’d take this stance when even SHE couldn’t control him.  I just think Holland went above and beyond in giving her the refund – nicely done.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    I don’t expect them to re-sell. That’s why I said to possibly put them on another cruise that is not a sellout. HA doesn’t lose anything. I wouldn’t refund.

  • adventurebaby

    I have a feeling that was in reaction to the shove her husband gave her, which sounds like it concerned the passengers and cruise line, but which she calls a gentle push. I’m not buying the gentle push.

  • TonyA_says

     I can’t find it. Please post link.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    There are enough “contestants” to make that a very long running show…

  • TonyA_says

      But the MAN can’t cruise.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Interesting. Good snooping!

  • TonyA_says

    Added: She probably thought she could handle him since she is a nurse.

    Looks like any vendor getting “nice publicity” here will think it is cheaper to settle. Elliott’s site must be getting very popular party due to Raven *snark* postings :-)

  • Chris_In_NC

    Well said, especially the “She took her husband out of his comfort zone because SHE wanted to go on vacation.”

    What really gets me is that Del Zoppo is a registered nurse aka trained healthcare profession, should know that better than to take a mentally disabled person outside of their comfort zone. Seriously, it either speaks to the competence of her nursing judgement or she had a serious case of denial.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    On my last cruise, there was a family with a severely physically / mentally disabled daughter (in a wheelchair) and lots of other passengers went out of their way to be really nice to her, learn her name, speak to her kindly, etc. I simply feel badly for caregivers of the mentally disabled because outwardly, they may not display any signs of their condition, and therefore do not get the sympathy / empathy that they deserve.

  • TonyA_says

    How would a 2-year old (MAN) enjoy a cruise??? I’m bewildered.

  • TonyA_says

    Did they put her on the pool ? Nah.
    That’s the point. The  family knew how to take care of her.

  • SoBeSparky

    Even without the update, it is clear the husband was not of sufficient capacity to take a cruise, period.  Sorry to say, but some places are simply off limits for the potential passenger’s own safety and the safety of others.  

    The wife should have known that something like this was not only possible, but likely.  A cruise is a special venue, and requires rules about passengers who are incapable of caring for themselves.  What if there were an emergency, or the wife was indisposed?  What if he fell in the pool, hit his head on the edge and died?  Would she sue Holland America?  I bet so.  No fence around the pool to protect the husband who was peeing.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    I was a lifeguard for years at a YMCA and was an assistant aquatic director.  Peeing in the pool is no big deal at all and it’s not drained for one person urinating in it.  Heck, it’s not even drained if someone leaves a “floater” behind.

    What does happen is the pool is closed for about 24 hours and it’s shocked.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Please post the link to the FB and pic. I can’t find it.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Asking the mike to do that b/c I can’t find it either and trying to scroll on facebook with my phone sucks.

  • SoBeSparky

    Yes, she seems to be guilty of misguided judgment.  If she really needed a vacation, then she should have left her husband at home in the care of professional caregivers and gone with her brother and sister in law.  

    Consider this, if this is an example of her professional judgment, then what does that say about the subsequent brouhaha for a refund?

  • mike46

    HAL took those two posts down.

  • Christopher Elliott

    I wondered about that, too.

  • bodega3

    Better watch the water you drink in NYC,as upstate NY’ers are doing this al lthe time as a middle finger salute to NYC for buying up all the water  rights in their area solely for NYC.

    Every cruise I have been on drains the water in the outside pools at night.

  • Christopher Elliott

    I’ve been trying to find it, too. It looks like HAL did a little reputation management on its Facebook site this morning. Had I known about her postings, it might have changed the story.

  • TonyA_says

  • Christopher Elliott

    Yes, and if you can find the cached version, take a screen shot and send it to me. I’ll repost it here. Clearly, there is a little more to this story — although I am happy HAL has resolved this.

  • TonyA_says

    Unbelievable, what an attitude?
    From her facebook post

    GUESS WHAT? This is for all the narrow minded people and their venomous remarks toward me. I just received a call from HAL. They are refunding my full cruise price after reviewing the case again. I guess if HAL could believe me, I AM NOT a LIAR, and have NEVER been a LIAR! I’m big enough to say HAL did the right thing. I learned one very important lesson>>>there are people in this world, that will ALWAYS find negativity in something. WHAT A SHAME and SHAME on YOU!

  • Rosered7033

    Bowed to pressure? Happy for the OP, very generous of HA.

  • J

    Chris, I have a question.

    After reading the OP’s comments on the HAL FB page, I wonder if you ever google the people who contact you before choosing which cases to write about? For example, would the fact that the OP is posting comments on unrelated posts on the HAL page and attacking other commenters become a factor in deciding whether or not to highlight her case? What if you found an incidence where someone posted details on another site that were inconsistent with what they’ve sent to you? I was just wondering what are some of the factors for and against writing about a case on your blog?

  • Raven_Altosk

    Here’s her FB with the photo of the husband and some other ranty-insane comments.

    My sympathy for this one is diminishing.

  • Raven_Altosk

    That’s her FB page with some of her Ranty-McRanterson nonsense. Photo of the husband is there as well. 

  • LeeAnneClark

    I’m in full agreement with the majority here who, while feeling compassion for the couple, believe that the OP should not have brought her husband onboard.

    Reading this article reminded me of a situation I encountered a few years ago.  My husband and I did a Backwoods bicycle/camping tour a few years ago in the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest.  There were about 15 people in our group, and one of them was a couple who brought along her mentally disabled brother.  He was a man in his 30’s who, while physically completely normal, had the mental capacity of maybe a 5 year old.  He seemed quite harmless, and the sister told all of us that he was sweet and wouldn’t bother anyone, she would take care of him and he would be no trouble at all.

    Well, as it turned out, he WAS trouble.  Not in any kind of disturbing way (and no public peeing), but he was disruptive – we would often be sitting around the campfire conversing, and he would jump in with nonsensical interjections, derailing the conversation.  There were several nights when we just couldn’t even talk to each other without his interruptions, so rather than being able to drink a glass of wine around the fire and get to know each other, we’d give up and go to bed.

    The couple also lost him a couple of times during rides, and others in the group would come across him and have to escort him to the next meeting point.  Another time, my husband and I were trying to have a romantic walk along the beach (alone!) and he kept following us, would run up to us and loudly break wind, and then shriek in laughter – pretty much the way a 5 yr old might amuse himself.  He also would interrupt guides at the museums and microbreweries we visited, so that we were unable to hear the full talks.

    I had very mixed feelings about all this.  On the one hand, I respected the couple for wanting to involve her brother in normal life, and I really did want to be tolerant and accepting.  On the other hand, a small-group bicycle/camping trip was NOT the correct venue!  While he caused no harm to anyone, he did negatively impact all of our experiences.  I wouldn’t say it “ruined” the trip for us, but it was far less enjoyable than it should have been.  And it was wrong of the couple to expect us to have a lesser experience so that they could give her disabled brother a fun time.

    I have nothing but compassion for people who are dealing with disability in their family.  And we should all do what we can to accommodate the disabled in daily life.  But when people are paying a lot of money for a vacation experience, is it fair to allow your disabled family member to disrupt and alter everyone else’s experience? 

    HA has been very generous (too generous, in my opinion) by giving them a full refund.  I can only hope that Mrs. Del Zoppo has learned something from this incident:  that, as sad as it is, her husband’s disability means he simply cannot do all of the things he used to do, and she can’t bring him anywhere.  While she may see him as a harmless child in a man’s body, there is a HUGE difference between a 2 yr old child, and an adult with a 2-yr-old mind. 

  • Raven_Altosk

    That’s the post I alluded to earlier. I found it a few years ago when looking up whether a booze cruise on Carnival was worth the 1.5 hour drive to Galveston.

    (Protip: It’s not.)

    ETA: Fixed link.

  • bc

    This was my first thought. While as disheartening it is to go on a vacation without your husband, especially in his condition, it seems that there might have been better vacation options for you than a cruise. Also, perhaps leaving your Husband at home with Family while you took a cruise. If you’re husband is such a handful, perhaps a well deserved vacation is in order. 

  • TonyA_says

    No wonder the Pizza and Bagels are great in the city. There is something magical about the water!

  • TonyA_says

    Too expensive option. Let the rest of the cruisers suffer … so they will know what it means to live with an invalid. Is that what’s in her mind?

  • TonyA_says

    Noticed they were traveling with another couple (sister or something like that). Did they bother to help shield him or something?

  • J

    Here’s the post about the refund:

    Here’s a post by her brother, in the comments he states they’ve contacted the local news:

    You can see that on May 31st HAL asked them to stop posting, and to contact the cruise line directly. They didn’t stop. I think HAL should have blocked them from posting on the page, instead of letting the circus continue.

    There’s more, her sister-in-law also posted, and the OP also posted on the HAL timeline and commented a several unrelated posts with negative things to say both about the cruise line and the other commenters into June, after HAL asked her to abide by their Facebook terms and stop the behavior.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I think the usual crowd here contributes to the popularity of the site, but I’m honored to be known for the snark. :D

    Also, I really do need to write up that Di$ney story from my travels last week.

  • Christopher Elliott

    I did a search, but it didn’t turn up the Facebook content that we now have the link to.

    I try to do as much due diligence as possible, including a pretty thorough search of a person’s social media profile, before posting. That said, it’s not a foolproof system.

    Some things are impossible to verify. For example, is someone using a real name? Sometimes, you just have to take readers at their word.

  • TonyA_says

    If the truth be known, she probably wanted to cruise and go to Italy (Del Zoppo: isn’t that Italian ???) with her brother and his wife. It was cheaper to take the husband (with the 2 year old mind) since she would have had to get a double room in the cruise anyway and maybe she did not want to pay for a care giver while she cruised. So it’s really ABOUT HER, (not the pitiful husband that 3 relatives were not able to stop from embarrassing himself).

  • Sandy Olson

    It’s a very sad fact of life but, when a medical or psychological impairment interfers with one’s ability to make sound judgements, certain types of travel are not logical.  Motor trips, family outings etc. can be scheduled much more comfortably for both the effected individual and his/her family.  You make the same types of arrangements you would when traveling with a little child.

  • J

    It appears she has a somewhat popular name. I found it by adding “HAL” to the search. I might have more time than most to spend searching :)

  • Deb Kelly

    Karen Del Zoppo spent a good portion of last week on HAL’s FB page telling anyone who would listen her story.  Instead of taking ownership of her and her husband’s actions, she wholeheartedly blamed the cruise line for “escorting them off the ship”, when in her opinion it was “no big deal” that her husband relieved himself in the pool in front of anyone.  This is what she stated on FB on HAL’s page, go there and read her comments if you’d like.

    All four of them DID leave the cruise even though the brother and sister in law COULD have stayed.  I don’t think they should receive ANY refund but they should definitely NOT receive a FULL refund since 2 of the family members decided to leave even though HAL told them they didn’t have to.

    This incident set a terrible precedent.  It’s telling people that even though the cruise line was perfectly within their right in asking them to leave (according to their contract), if you go on FB and publicly make a spectacle of yourself the cruise line will cave in and issue a refund just to shut you up.

    Karen Del Zoppo had NO business bringing that poor brain injured man to a strange country, onto a ship with hundreds of other people, if she could NOT control his actions. 
    Every other passenger paid good money to be on that cruise and didn’t deserve to witness such a disgusting act. 

    What this article conveniently leaves out is that Holland America needed to spend $$$$ to empty the pool, clean it and refill it before anybody could use it…therefore every other passenger was inconvenienced because of this incident.

    So my message to Karen Del Zoppo is the same as it was on FB last week….take ownership for your husband’s actions since YOU were the one who CLAIMED you COULD control him and take care of him.



  • SooZeeQ

    OK, situation resolved.

    But, with his condition, as detailed, I do not think it was in anyone’s best interest to undertake a vacation of this nature.

    Also, how aware of his surroundiings is he – would he even have enjoyed the cruise?

  • wiseword

    Takig him on a cruise was ridiculous. He would have been just as happy with a backyard swimming pool. Also, this is a sanitation issue, just as it would have been with a two-year-old. The woman may think she’s handling the situation well, but she’s elly in denial.

  • Christopher Elliott

    I’m a little ticked off about how this one played out. Del Zoppo contacted me several times, asking me to help her. I furnished her with HAL executive contacts and suggested she send a brief, polite appeal. I asked her to keep me updated.

    I requested her permission to write about this case, so she knew a story was in the works. If HAL decided to give her a refund last week, and notified her of the decision then, why not let me know?

    I’m also troubled by the tone of her interactions with the other HAL Facebook users. She was nothing but polite with me. But reading the responses from her and her family — I don’t know, let’s just say I can understand why HAL would be throwing the book in her face.

    That said, the debate about taking mentally disabled people on a cruise is one worth having. So in retrospect, I’m glad I wrote about this. Just wish I’d had the latest information when I did.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    While I can certainly empathize with the OP, it does sound as though her husband is a bit of a handful.  Were he actually a two-year old, I think everyone would have been more understanding – kids will be kids.  But he’s not a two-year-old chronologically and his actions are judged according to his being an adult.

    No, people don’t understand he suffers from a disability at first glance and he shouldn’t be forced to wear a t-shirt or sign stating thus.  However, he pushed away his caregiver who was attempting to stop his behavior and that’s not good.  It sets a standard for those watching as to how the rest of the cruise might go.  In addition, having the mind of a two-year-old means he’s probably subject to the “terrible twos”, which is annoying in a small child.  In an adult, it’s more than annoying; it’s frightening.

    I do feel the cruise did the right thing here in removing them from the ship.  I don’t think they did the right thing with initially refusing them a refund.

    I believe it’s commendable the OP takes her marriage vows seriously and stands by her husband in spite of the challenges it presents.  Too many people would just walk away because it was “too hard”.  I also find it admirable she works to maintain as normal a life as possible.  She could have left her husband behind with a caregiver, but didn’t.  More spouses should be like her.  “For better, for worse, in sickness and in health” really means something to her.

  • judyserienagy

    If this unfortunate man has the mentality of a two year old, why would she let him walk over to the pool by himself?  It is quite ridiculous to be upset if your husband behaves offensively; whether he is aware of it or not.  If she can’t control his behaviour he has no business being on a cruise.  Does this woman not realize that the entire pool would have to be emptied and cleaned if someone urinates in it?  How self-absorbed is she?  Very sad case.  I applaud Holland America for taking the high road here, a very good PR move … no refund was deserved but it’s a nice gesture.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Agreed. And in re-reading this post

    I realized you also were involved in that situation where the nutty woman was stealing food from other diners and being a PITA to everyone around her.

  • TonyA_says

     Jekyll and Hyde ???

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Agree with Pzonks and absherlock – this was well said and 100% spot on.

  • MN mom

    i can well imagine that Karen was all sugar and honey when contacting you – after all, she wanted something from you.  i believe you would have seen her true colors had you turned her away or suggested that maybe she didn’t have the right to ask for her money back. 

    It’s my humble opinion that Karen wasn’t completely honest with HAL when she was planning this trip.  All cruise lines ask if any passengers have medical issues that they need to be aware of and they have forms to fill out ahead of time detailing those issues. Let’s consider this – they won’t allow pregnant women on board if they are so many weeks into their pregnancy (i forget how many).  They have this requirement because they are not set up to handle premature births, complications, etc.  It is in the best interest of the mother and child.  i firmly believe that if Karen would have informed HAL of her husband’s medical and mental health needs and issues, then HAL would have – long before they reached the ship – been able to talk with her about the appropriateness and/or ability of taking him on a cruise in the first place.  HAL might have even advised her that he would not be allowed boarding due to his needs.  She never gave them that opportunity.  Yet she tried to blame them for the situation because they “didn’t know about his situation”.  Really?!!!

    i’m weary of people refusing to take responsibility for their OWN decisions, their OWN actions, and their OWN mistakes.  They are forever wanting someone ELSE to fix or pay for things when it is THEIR behavior or actions that caused a problem in the first place.  Painful?  Yes.  Expensive? Damn straight.  HAL’s responsibility?  Not a chance.

    Add to this the fact that HAL actually DID refund Karen LAST week and yet she allowed this article to be published.  Says a WHOLE lot about her integrity – or lack thereof –  doesn’t it? 

    i have to say that i am encouraged by the comments here, though.  People are seeing things for what they are and are not buying her story hook, line, and sinker.  Do they feel for her and her situation?  Of course.  We all do.  But as someone who personally saw her post the picture of her husband on the HAL fb page and then make jokes about him peeing in the pool, i am offended by people who attempt to use their loved one’s misfortunes for their own personal gains.  And that is exactly what Karen has attempted to do.  She exploited her husband in the most degrading way.  There is no excuse for that.  And there should be no reward for that, either.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    I’m starting to think this woman is embarrassed she got caught not doing her job and rather than accept responsibility for it she’s throwing stones at every opportunity.

    My guess is, this was a first for her (a vacation with her husband along) and she over-estimated her husband’s abilities.  Lesson learned, IMHO, and she should really just move on.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    I wonder how long before HAs lawyers send them a cease & desist?  Malice could definitely be proven and the OP and her family could lose everything they own, and then some.

  • Rosered7033

    Yes, you are SNARKTASTIC! (Wish I could take credit for that word but my SO just suggested it.). ;-)
    And what happened at Disney? I had a great time there just last month with my granddaughter ( & her parents).

  • TerryWarg

    Really Mr. Elliott, this has NOTHING to do with a person with a disability being allowed on a cruise ship. This has to do with a family, that obviously wasn’t supervising a family member who needed constant supervision. From the way the family acted on facebook with the rude and insulting comments to others, I’m sure their reaction to the Captain and crew on board was FAR worse. If they behaved on board like they did on Facebook, I can easily see why the Captain felt they were a security risk and had them removed. This isn’t really about the behavior of the husband, it’s about the behavior of the FAMILY. Karen and her family NEVER ONCE took ANY responsibility for what happened. EVERYTHING was someone else’s fault. They didn’t place security at their door because of the pool incident, there is far more than we are being told here. We had a family member disappear during the night on a HAL cruise. She was missing for more than hours. They had to wake the Captain and the Hotel Manager, as well as multiple crew members to look for her. The Captain and Crew could NOT have been more gracious to us. They didn’t put security in front of our door, nor did they force us to leave the ship. Next time I think you might want to do a little more research before you “jump in the pool”!

  • Bill Armstrong

    I sympathize with his condition, but you can’t have people peeing by the pool.  I”m glad they gave her a refund, but I can well understand that you can’t have things like that.  Sort of like we don’t put up with mentally incapacitated smokers lighting up in non smoking areas.

  • Jen Armstrong

     I really did not think that the whole pool would need to be drained!

    And if HA was aware of the situation, I do think that they hopefully would’ve been more lenient. If I was the one making the decision for HA, yes, I would have been. The man had a disability which precluded him from acting as an adult. I would have probably confined the couple to their cabin, or even asked that he be put in the supervised childrens’ program, but not kicked them off!

  • Deb Kelly

    As well you have every right to be ticked off. 

    Karen is what I would call an opportunist.  Her actions on FB last week were downright nasty and her use of her poor husband as a pawn to get what she wanted from Holland America was unforgiveable, in my opinion.
    A spouse should never flaunt and display her husband’s disability in the ways that she did on a public forum like FB.
    As another poster wrote…posting her poor husband’s photo with the caption of “the man that peed in the pool” (not NEAR the pool…IN the pool) was just shocking to me.

    She didn’t deserve one penny refunded.  Holland America showed us what a classy company they are by refunding this woman.

    I’m sure as part of her settlement she was told to not publicly speak of this incident again….I’m sure Holland America would be very interested to know that she’s still at it.  Perhaps you will enlighten them.

  • emanon256

    It truly is the best tasting water I’ve ever had.  I miss it after moving to CO.

  • Deb Kelly

    He peed IN the pool not BY the pool as the title of this story states.  Karen admitted this MANY times on FB that he peed IN the pool. 

  • Christopher Elliott

    You’re new to this site, so I’ll explain: The Monday post (originally titled “can this trip be saved”) is meant to determine if I should mediate a case. It isn’t a thoroughly-researched work of traditional journalism, and never claims to be.

    That said, had I known then what I know now, there wouldn’t have been a story, because obviously, I don’t need to mediate this any longer.By the way, I didn’t advise the customer to shame the company on Facebook. That’s not the kind of strategy I would ever endorse.

  • Christopher Elliott

    I’m troubled by these inconsistencies in her story.

  • Lindabator

    But not on a cruise ship – they WILL drain it.  And do!

  • Lindabator

    It was up to the travellers to ensure he is properly supervised, and she obviously could not control him.  What if the next time, he decided to relieve himself in the dining room?  No, HAL did the right thing, and the refund was above and beyond, but very much what I expect from them..  Classy.

  • bc

    Yeah, and the family/friends left the boat because the wife needed assistance with her husband in Venice. So this further proves she couldn’t handle her husband alone. I think this comes back to, if you have someone that requires 3 handlers to control, is a vacation like this a good choice? Until she has a better control of her husband a vacation with less interaction with other passengers might be more appropriate. $11k would go a long way towards renting a nice villa somewhere for 4 people and provide a more controlled environment. 

  • naoma

    I have been on many many cruises and had I seen this I would have been quite dismayed (nice term).  He may have problems, etc. but this is 
    totally unacceptable.  Not showing his penis, notwithstanding, I am no 
    prude, but this is just NOT ACCEPTABLE.

  • Deb Kelly

    Clearly she’s troubled.  Too bad you were dragged into it.!/karen.delzoppo?sk=wall

  • Lindabator

    AND they lose the onboard revenue.  And honestly – HAl usually sails full, and has even waitlisted most of its cruises, so in all likelihood, they lost on this.  But being the class act they are, they did end up refunding her – even though it was not something they had to do.  Nor should they have been expected to – as these clients clearly should never have been on a cruise in the first place under these circumstances.

  • Lindabator

    Great point!

  • Lindabator

    Oh, yes there are!

  • emanon256

    Wow, how sad.  I would have not handled it as nicely as Sandi did.  My wife works with people like Katie, and my brother-in-law has a condition like that himself.  The sad thing is, it’s all about the parents.  My in-laws would never stand for my brother-in-law to behave like that and should any incident start to occur, he would swiftly be swept away so as not to disturb others.  Parents who just let it happen and laugh about it are not doing anyone any good.

  • Lindabator

    Agree, you don’t DEMAND compassion, but from working with HAL so many years, was not surprised when they were refunded – have seen it happen as the case went up through channels before.  And where the ship has no way TO refund them, the higher ups generally will compensate, even when they don’t need to, or shouldn’t.

  • Lindabator

    Not necessarily – it was probably easier to control him in an enclosed environment till a decision was made.

  • Lindabator

    Yes, and clearly she cannot control him.  It was VERY nice of HAL to refund her.

  • Lindabator

    Yep – and they ended up refunding them, too.  Nice of Carnival Corp to keep paying out for these folks’ bad decisions. (Seabourn and HAl botrh owned by CCL)

  • Raven_Altosk

    I wonder which personality will show up here.

    *warms up the Snark-A-Q*

  • Michelle C

    The story is unclear.  Was the wife drinking or both the wife and husband? Acutally..It does not even matter.   HAL should have kicked them off.    If she chooses to care for her husband then she should NOT have been drinking.  I don’t “have a few drinks” while caring for my baby and no one should.   The husband should NOT have been drinking if he truly has an anoxic brain injury.  Sounds like she makes pisspoor decisions and wants no responsibility for herself. When that lady makes better decisions then I will have empathy.

  • TonyA_says

    You would wonder why almost everyone drinks bottled water in the city?

    I live near the border of NY and CT where the Kensico Reservoir is. That supplies NYC but I have to have a well in my house. :-)

  • TonyA_says

    Did you read this on FB?

    Karen Del Zoppo:  And I don’t need any luck with the media! They are only too willing to get a good story. Now that I think about it, I think I’ll even call “The View”! They can add this on as a continuation of their segment yesterday! They can call it “Peeing on Holiday! And….GOOD LUCK TO YOU DEAR! Contract or no contract, I can care less.

    Karen Del Zoppo:  Nancy>>you know what? I really don’t care if posting here is not going to get my money back. I’m here to get my $12,000 worth of posts. Some way or another, I will get that $12,000 back, even if it makes you miserable.

    Hyde-like, I should say. I am glad Elliott did not have to do much more for this character.

  • emanon256

    One of my co-workers in NY refused to drink the water, he drank bottled water only.  I always told him it was safe and would pour it out of the tap and drink it in front of him, yet he still insisted it wasn’t safe.  He must have spent several hundred dollars a month on bottled water, and at restaurants, he would only get bottled water which is even more expensive.
    I grew up near Croton Dam where some of the city water comes from as well; I didn’t get the city water there either.  The water we got, while safe, was not always as tasty or clear.  I through of the city water as a treat.
    I remember one year the city sent our water bottles as a marketing campaign saying that it was 100% pure New York City water and that they could be refilled from any tap.  I thought that was clever.

  • Parisfox

    I feel for her and her husband, but she should have known better than to take him on a cruise.  As said in some of the previous comments, even a 2-year old who would do this would probably be ejected from the cruise.  She was VERY lucky to get a refund.  I think she was WAY out of line to harass them on their website and if I were the cruise line owner I’d sue her for harassment.

  • TonyA_says

    Re: After checking into the cabin, Del Zoppo and the rest of the party went to the pool and enjoyed a few drinks after the long flight. At one point, her husband stood, walked to the edge of the pool, and relieved himself.

    But her sister in law said (in FB):
    WE were in Venice for two days where my brother in law took water taxi’s and walk around with no problem, but Hal america took two hours to decide that he was incapable of taking this cruise.

    So which one is telling truth?

  • TiaMa

    Like many here I sympathize with the woman’s position.  Perhaps this trip was a goal she and her husband had before his issues.  However, the current reality is different and as pointed out, he could have been a hazard to himself, his wife and the other passengers.

    That being said, I am disgusted to see she got what she wanted by making a nuisance of herself on HA’s Facebook page when she clearly underestimated the effort needed to take her husband on this cruise.

  • Raven_Altosk

    SRSLY. The crazy is strong with this one. 
    And if she considers The View a bastion of responsible and reasonable journalism, well, I got a bridge she might want to buy.

  • TonyA_says

    Karen Del Zoppo: And I, and only I, will call the END OF STORY!

  • TonyA_says

     Linda, apparently this cruise was a retake. Her sister in law (in FB) said:

    This trip was planed for over a year we had to cancel the first trip because of a sx my husband needed .The whole time my sister in law was in contact with her travel agent, We had made arrangements for both my Husband , and brother in law in advance, but a wheelchair for my husband who had four knee sx and walks with a cane was never provided,,My brother in law who is NOT A SAD PERSON as was quoted, is just the opposite, he is a happy guy who has a love of music, dancing, and people,  The incident that took place was made into something bigger then what is was.. AS far as the the not being a nursing home, I felt that I was on a nursing home since the average age is about 70.

  • MN mom

     Put a grown man – who has no ability to decide when or where it is appropriate to pull out his penis – into a supervised children’s program?!!!!  Are you kidding me?!!  Thank GOD you aren’t in a position to make such a decision!  If HAL would have done such a thing, then every parent of every child enrolled in that program would have had cause to take action against them. 

    Honestly, how is it EVERYONE ELSE’S problem to deal with this one man’s issues?  SO sorry that he has this brain injury, but that doesn’t give his wife the right to allow him to be in an uncontrolled environment and then cry “foul” when something goes wrong due to HER choices.

  • TonyA_says

     Tuscany villas or agro-turismos  with private pools would be great

  • Lindabator

    And as HAL does NOT provide wheelchairs (you must provide your own, and let them know what type you are bringing), and as this is the 1st time WE hear about a TA – something here just doesn’t sit right.  Beginning to think less and less kindly of this group.

  • Sadie_Cee

    Holland America asked the OP and her husband to leave the cruise because his behavior was unpredictable.  With his level of mental disability, no one would be able to predict how Mr. Del Zoppo would act from one moment to the next.  His caregivers clearly were unable to control his random actions.  As anti-social as relieving himself in the pool was, he could have done something to cause greater harm.  Once HA became aware of his condition, HA had no choice but to take the necessary action. 
    HA as a cruise operator has a wide range of responsibility and was forced to act in the best interests of all concerned.  If HA had allowed Mr. Del Zoppo to remain on board it would be opening itself to untold liabilities.  Clearly, Mr. Del Zoppo’s mental disabilities could cause him to injure himself, another cruise passenger, a member of staff or cause damage to the vessel itself.
    I do see how this case illustrates the truth of the statement that ‘love is blind’.  The OP obviously adores her husband and while on an intellectual level she is aware of the extent of his disabilities, emotionally she is unable to admit that a cruise of this nature would be an inappropriate environment for him.
    It seems that HA has made a refund which is very generous of them.  On the next family travel  venture, it would be wise for the OP to disclose to carriers her husband’s condition and find out their policies regarding disabled passengers in advance.

  • Lindabator

    This isn’t just a matter of inappropriateness – due to his size, and his wife’s inabiltity to control him, what’s to stop him from harming someone else or himself next time?  They have to put the safety of everyone on that ship first – she should never have booked this cruise without the proper care for him, and she was obviously not that person.

  • Lindabator

    AMEN!  Would it still okay to these folks if he pulled it out at dinner???

  • Lindabator

    You are too much!  :)

  • Rosered7033

    I now fully understand why caveats are issued with settlements. HAL should have only refunded her with the express understanding she cease & desist all relevant postings & discussions. She’s gone WAY overboard (excuse the pun) with this.

  • TonyA_says

    I gotta believe these folks were drinking cocktails when this happened.

  • TonyA_says

    Weirder Facebook Posting
    Please note the OP bought a GPS tracking device for her DH.

    Karen Del Zoppo commented on’m trying very hardly to get this equipment to work, but have not succeeded! The watch never fully charges via the locator icon (and does NOT shut off). Most of the time, the portable receiver just keeps locating forever with no results. It’s difficult trying to arrange times to correspond with customer support in Spain, as I need someone at home to help me with the testing.I CANNOT let my husband take off alone, and then try to find him! When I purchased this, I thought I would be communicating with someone in the US. I’m truly disgusted and annoyed right now with this system and correspondence.


    Wait a minute. If you buy a GPS tracking device, it means you are expecting your husband to walk farther away from you. Far enough to see street level maps. That’s the whole point for a GPS device. But from what we have learned about what happened in the ship, her husband cannot even be left alone within eyesight range.

    I now wonder. If she really bought a GPS device for him, was the husband left alone to wander by himself on the ship (while the other 3 went drinking)?

  • Lindabator

    Nope – too busy having drinks by the pool – didn’t even NOTICE his getting out of the chair.

  • Lindabator

    HAl has always been a classy company, I just think in this case they may have been too generous (as was Seabourn with the lazy wife)

  • Sadie_Cee

    Sounds like a real piece of work! 

  • Lindabator

    Amen – mine’s gone – too bad HAL gave her ANYTHING!

  • TonyA_says

     No wonder she bought a GPS tracking device for her husband.

  • Rosered7033

    Btw, on her FB page she rants about an “Alzheimer’s GPS watch” she apparently bought to help her keep track of her husband. Wrong on SO many levels.

  • Lindabator

    She still thinks she’s done nothing wrong, and everyone else should just deal with it.  She is one person who NEVER should have gotten this refund.

  • Rosered7033

    Well said- apparently you and I saw the same thing at the same time.

  • Lindabator

    Well, like HOUSE said – everyone lies!  (You do a great job, and its really terrible when folks like this use you as their tool, when they clearly are only out to punish HAL for their reckless and ridiculous choices!)

  • Lindabator

    Yes, they are a classy company – too bad they can’t say the same for all their guests!

  • TonyA_says

     Looks like the husband is a social person who wants to wander around. The way the sister-in-law described him (he is a happy guy who has a love of music, dancing, and people) and the need for a GPS tracking device points to that conclusion. Having said that, I don’t think you want him wandering around swimming pools.

  • Raven_Altosk

    “Special Needs Guy Stalks a Kid on a Di$ney Cruise”

    I’ll bet good money this isn’t the first time something like this has happened and a contributing factor to why HAL is totally CYA in the OP’s case.

  • LeeAnneClark

    And just the very fact that they think it’s no big deal when a grown man walks up to a pool and pisses in it, and that anyone who objects to it is making “something bigger than what it was” pretty much says it all.  The person I feel the most sorry for is the disabled husband, who apparently is being dragged all over the world and left unsupervised. 

    What a tragic story.

  • LeeAnneClark

    You have brought up a key point in this incident which I believe has been largely overlooked:  you simply cannot compare a full-grown adult male with a small 2 yr. old child.  This family seems to think that because he has the mental abilities of a 2-yr-old, he should be viewed and treated like an actual 2-yr-old child.

    But he is NOT a child.  He has the body of a man, and was obviously strong enough to push his wife away when she tried to stop him from doing something objectionable and disturbing.  If a 2-yr-old throws a tantrum in public when they don’t get their way (as 2-yr-olds are prone to doing), you pick the kid up and dash him off to his room and put him in time-out.

    Tell me, what do you do when a full-grown adult male throws a tantrum, or swings his fist in frustration, or refuses to stop doing something? 

    Just take a few moments to think about how normal, ordinary 2-yr-olds behave.  And now, imagine that 2-yr-old doing all of those things…in a man’s body.

    I find it utterly mind-boggling that this family seems to think that everyone is required to accommodate this severely handicapped person’s needs, whatever they may be including the need to urinate in public.  The selfishness and entitlement is stunning.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Yeah, I saw that.  Wow.  Just…wow.  I hope she publicly posts her future vacation plans, so I can make a point of not being in the same country, much less the same city or :::shudder::: on the same cruise ship with her and her overly-entitled I’m-the-boss-of-you attitude.

  • gritchie

    Holland America… in future, please don’t back down from people like Del Zoppo. You did the right thing in disembarking her and her husband. It’s just a shame you knuckled under to her ranting and gave her a refund.

  • backprop

    One thing is for sure after reading the facebook posts – this woman is a grade-A loser.  Total bottom of the trash heap.  Any remains of sympathy I had for the situation (though I was never for a refund) have since evaporated.  And I’m really disappointed that Holland America caved to this piece of garbage.

  • TonyA_says

    Anyway WELCOME! and come back (post) soon. Look’s like you’ll fit right in :-)

  • TonyA_says

     Hey, that is some very scary stuff. Stalkers in a ship!

  • Bagus Nourse

    Next time he should not pee near the pool, but while in the pool like everyone else.

  • Deb Kelly

    Depends on who you talk to and which day it is….the story keeps changing.

    I’ve always believed that if you tell the truth to begin with then it isn’t hard to remember what you said.

    Clearly, none of them practice that. 

  • Deb Kelly

    In the future if I were you, I’d search their name and add facebook at the end since most people do have accounts.  I’ve found her posts doing a google search with just her name. 
    I’m sure you’re thinking “fool me once….”  Better luck next week with whoever you decide to post about.

  • jennj99738

     Since you think the family should get a voucher for future travel that the husband should be put on another cruise?  What makes you think the next cruise will be different?  The wife unfortunately can’t care for her husband herself and he can’t go around urinating in public. 

    I understand this matter has been resolved but I am curious why you believe a voucher for a future cruise should be offered to this couple. 

  • Ann Lamoy

    Wow, that last post of hers is just pure obnoxiousness. You can believe I’ll put HAL on my list of cruise lines that I will trust if this is how they handle obnoxious people like her. It seems pretty clear they did remove them for good reason and refunded their money even though they didn’t have to. Although I wish they hadn’t. The cursetomer isn’t always right.

  • Ann Lamoy

    What an unpleasant person. I feel very badly for her husband tbh.

  • Ann Lamoy

    The only thing I feel bad for Mrs. Del Zeppo about is the fact that her husband suffered the heart attack and the brain anoxia. Other than that, I think she is a horrible person.

    My sympathies with this situation lie completely with the husband and HAL. The husband because his wife was selfish enough to take him completely out of his comfort zone and put him in a bad situation. And also for her to exploit him and put his picture all over FB? Disgusting.

    HAL did the right thing by making the couple leave the ship. They’ve also handled the whole brough-ha-ha brought about on their FB page with class and dignity. Frankly I wish they hadn’t refunded her the entire amount. The cursetomer isn’t always right.Hopefully they will pass her name around the cruise lines and they will ban her from taking a cruise.

  • Rosered7033

    Holy S***T, Mickey! That is one scary thread! Concerns me that the post was closed in less than two days – damage control?

  • Raven_Altosk

    That would be my guess. 

    I searched those boards for more info and learned that the locals there are annoyed because after that, Di$ney started strictly enforcing their age limits. No more 17 yr olds with the mental capacity of 7 year olds in the little kid area.

  • Linda Loudermilk Tomberlin

    I’m so very sorry for her husband’s condition, and I do understand that he can’t control his behavior.  However, that means you shouldn’t take him on a cruise where he will be expected to behave like an adult.  

  • Linda Loudermilk Tomberlin

     Who’s to say he wouldn’t urinate in a fountain?  Or a hallway? 

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Even worse is this one where she makes a joke about him getting ready to pee in the boat. 

    I’m all for dark comedy and “better to laugh than cry” and I certainly don’t envy her circumstances, but she’s over-the-top.

  • Jen Armstrong

     Well maybe he would have been better supervised in the childrens’ program. I’m assuming the workers there are probably prepared for someone who doesn’t realize that it’s not okay to pee in a pool, and the supervision would have been better than what he got from his wife. That’s why I suggested that.  Maybe he was overwhelmed by the huge crowds or something, and that led him to act inappropriately.  He might have even had more fun, and so would the rest of his family knowing they didn’t have to watch him so closely. I don’t think he would’ve been “everyone else’s problem” any more than a child passenger would have been. Or maybe going on a cruise wasn’t a good idea in the first place for them, but obviously I can’t make that decision.

  • Terri Lundberg

    I think her husband’s condition does not excuse the fact that he urinated in the pool.  In fact, his condition, in my opinion is irrelevant.  They probably had to empty that pool and refill.  So how long were the other paying customers without the pool because her husband’s actions?  Though I feel for her situation, she clearly did not have control of her husband/charge, and if I were in the pool and her husband starting peeing in it, I’d be irate as well, and would have complained as well. I don’t care about seeing his penis.  Who cares!  I’m a big girl.  What I don’t want to see is him pissing in the pool.  

    I don’t even think more information is needed.  Even if Holland America had known about his condition, I can guarantee they didn’t know he may pee in the pool.  If she had told them, “well I can’t control him sometimes and things may get a little out of hand or disruptive,” they may have told her to choose another cruise line.  

    They should consider themselves lucky they got the money back, because Holland America lost on that deal.  They had an empty cabin they could have sold to someone else, they had to refill the pool, and then they gave them back the entire $11,000.  SMH

  • pauletteb

    “…she’s more than capable of caring for her mentally handicapped husband.”  If that were the case, she would know that, just like a two-year-old, she had to keep an eye on him every second. Instead, she was too busy enjoying herself to notice that her husband had wandered off until he started relieving himself, potentially contaminating the pool area in the process. Holland America was well within its rights to kick Del Zoppo and her husband off the ship, for her husband’s safety as well as for the health and well-being of others. That being said, I can’t imagine the difficulty and heartache she experiences on a daily basis, and  I’m glad the cruise line refunded her money.  BTW:  The passenger who through the hissy fit is an ass!

  • cjr001

    Unfortunately, because she got her refund, I doubt she will learn anything from this.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    I’m sure you’re right, cjr.  Like the sun rises in the East, so will idiots like this go on being idiots.

  • cjr001

    What a manipulative… well, I shouldn’t finish that thought.

    Now that she’s ‘won’ this battle, there’s probably no end of things she’ll put her poor husband through for a little attention.

  • MN mom

     He is a GROWN man with a brain injury.  You don’t put a grown man in a child’s program.  This is a cruise ship – if you need a supervised program for him, then a cruise isn’t the vacation for him, plain and simple.  Do you think the  workers in the children’s program are trained to deal with brain injured adults and their issues?  If his own wife couldn’t control when and where he exposed and relieved himself, how do you expect the childcare workers to do that?  And what children are you willing to have him expose himself to in the process?  What if he decides to relieve other “basic needs” while there?  Would that be alright, too?  If he gets upset or angry, he is a full grown man – how do you suggest that HAL protect the children in the program against him if he turns violent?  And with brain injuries, there are no guarantees with behaviors – it’s sad, but it’s the facts.  Would you put YOUR child in that situation and be willing to accept the consequences of what might happen?  i wouldn’t, and i would never ask anyone else to, either.  i’d be furious with HAL if they expected other parents to put their children at risk in order to “supervise” an adult who clearly should not be on board due to health issues. This isn’t about equality for the disabled, this is about what’s right for THIS man and his needs……and it is obvious from all that has been detailed here and on fb that his needs are great and his abilities are few.  The decision to take him on such a trip was misguided at best, and asking an entire ship filled with passengers and crew to accommodate HER poor decision is rude, selfish, and beyond comprehension.  LOTS of people on that ship scrimped and saved in order to take THEIR dream vacation.  Why should they have to make sacrifices to their trip in order to accommodate hers?  Her behavior since has been deplorable.  HAL has been gracious with her and arranged contact with their guest relations to be in touch with her back in May – it’s all documented on fb.  At that point, she should have dropped from public sight and dealt straight with HAL, but instead she continued to badger other fb users, taunt people, call folks names, and generally behave in a highly inappropriate manner.  If i were HAL, i would have cut off all talks at that time and refused to even consider a refund.  HAL took the high road and did offer her a refund and she STILL chose to behave in a childish and boorish manner.  These are the people who make it difficult for the people who really need and deserve the compassion of a company to receive it.  Karen should be ashamed of herself, but i’m guessing she’s gloating all the way to the bank.  i feel for her husband, but i loathe that woman and her actions. 

  • Rosered7033

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Ms. Armstrong needs to put on her thinking cap before making statements such as those, and then trying to defend them. I would be enraged if HA allowed what she suggested.

  • MarkieA

    I’d be shocked, too if someone peed in me! Sorry, had to do it :)

  • Jen Armstrong

     Okay, you don’t have to be mean. For your information, I have a master’s degree and I know how to use my “thinking cap,” thank you! I was unaware how annoying the wife had been. I was simply commenting on the fact that the husband’s brain injury made him to act like a child, so perhaps the childrens’ program might have been an appropriate option. And for the record, I have a physical disability myself and that is what sparked my interest in this case.

  • LipglossandaBackpack

    Someone needs to call social services (on Staten Island?) and they need to investigate whether Karen Del Zappo is competent to act as the caregiver for her husband.  As a teacher, if the parent of one of my students was behaving in the manner of Karen Del Zappo, it would be my legal responsibility to call social services.  She is not demonstrating sound judgment or mental competence, and her husband may be at risk. 

  • MN mom

     i understand where you were coming from – i think – but just because an adult acts like a child – for whatever reason – doesn’t make it appropriate to put them in children’s programs.  Acting “like” children and being a child are two very different things, especially when adults have the strength and body of well, adults.  The wife’s poor behavior aside, a child’s program is no place for any adult with a brain injury.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    I know – you’re just going with the flow…

  • y_p_w

    While it sounds to me that the request may be reasonable even though it seems to be universally accepted that she royally screwed up.  It certainly wasn’t a good idea to bring her husband on this trip if it were indeed considered a “no children” cruise.  She may have also sounded like a total ass trying to badmouth the cruise line.

    Regardless of all her faults, I actually think it’s reasonable for HAL to refund their portion of the fare.  She wasn’t able to use the portion and I it wasn’t an intentional act such as someone picking a fight with another passenger.  Whether or not one feels sympathy for the cruise line for dealing with her should probably be considered separately from whether or not the request was reasonable.

  • davidglass

    The disdain in this forum for those who are handicapped is appalling.

  • davidglass

    Listening to you, one would get the impression that urine is as toxic as plutonium.

  • y_p_w

    I don’t see anything that faults her husband for the condition she has. All of the barbs are directed at Karen Del Zoppo for apparently bringing her husband on this cruise when she should have known that there was a high likelihood that he could do something that might not be well received by their fellow passengers.

    My take is that I feel that the cruise line could take a stand like the terms on the back of an event ticket – that “The bearer can be ejected for any time and any reason with the only recourse a refund of the purchase price.”  Kick them off, tell her never to bring him back, and give them their money back.  While it seem like she should have known better, it seems reasonable to me if they were forced off for that kind of transgression that at least a partial refund should be equitable.  A lot of the responses here indicate a wish that she not receive a refund as a punishment for her judgement and subsequent attitude of entitlement.  Perhaps she has been a total jerk about it, but simply being a jerk isn’t necessarily grounds for refusing an otherwise reasonable request.

  • TerryWarg

    David, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE HANDICAPPED HUSBAND! It has to do with the rude, beligerent, lying behavior of his wife! You are COMPLETELY missing the point and obviously have no idea what Karen and her “friends” did on the Holland America Facebook page.

  • TerryWarg

    It’s not that she should not have brought on the cruise, it’s that knowing his condition SHE did not properly supervise or care for him.

  • TerryWarg

    You DO know that there is no chlorine in the pools onboard David. Children who are not potty trained are NOT allowed in the pools, even in swim diapers, and that is a rule of the Center For Disease Control, not Holland America. Would you like swim in someone’s untreated urine. But again you miss the enitre point…this is NOT about the husband it’s about HER behavior towards the crew and other passengers.

  • davidglass

    I don’t care to search for or read the Holland America FB page. From what I can tell Holland America had a disabled passenger on one of its cruises and immediately kicked the disabled person off rather than work with the wife and try to accomodate his disability. Then tried to keep her $11000 payment. She is just fighting to right the wrong that was done to her and her husband.

  • davidglass

    Yea, disabled people shouldn’t go on cruises or out in public right Terry? Ever heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act?

  • TerryWarg

    I am not going to debate you, but you are 100% wrong…Even Mr. Elliot has admitted he was mislead and did NOT HAVE THE FACTS before he made this post. Nothing more to say. Here is what Mr. Elliot had to say,
    “I’m a little ticked off about how this one played out. Del Zoppo contacted me several times, asking me to help her. I furnished her with HAL executive contacts and suggested she send a brief, polite appeal. I asked her to keep me updated.
    I requested her permission to write about this case, so she knew a story was in the works. If HAL decided to give her a refund last week, and notified her of the decision then, why not let me know?
    I’m also troubled by the tone of her interactions with the other HAL Facebook users. She was nothing but polite with me. But reading the responses from her and her family — I don’t know, let’s just say I can understand why HAL would be throwing the book in her face.”
    That said, the debate about taking mentally disabled people on a cruise is one worth having. So in retrospect, I’m glad I wrote about this. Just wish I’d had the latest information when I did.”

  • Steve_in_WI

    On the other hand, the more of her posts one reads, the more one is likely to sympathize with HAL and not with her.

  • MN mom

     What you fail to understand is that Karen had an obligation to HAL to disclose her husband’s medical and mental needs/issues.  (i personally doubt she gave them ALL the information they needed.)  They require that of ALL passengers who are in situations where extra care or sudden care might be needed.  Remember folks, they are embarking on a ship heading into the OCEAN, they aren’t going to a hotel that has complete medical facilities just down the road.  There are only so many situations that HAL can pre-plan for or have equipment/staff/medications, etc., to handle.  It is unreasonable to think that any cruise line would be able to handle any and all medical and/or mental health issues – and who of us would want to or be able to afford to cover the costs to make them able to be prepared for such situations?  Passengers have to take responsibility for their OWN health and help the cruise line in any way possible.  i am certain that if Karen would have been totally upfront with HAL in the beginning regarding her husband’s brain injury and the complications that it created with his behavior, etc., that HAL would have been able to advise her properly about taking him on a cruise.  They may have had valuable information for her that would have eased her burdens, they might have had resources they could have offered or referred her to for assistance, or they might have advised her that a cruise wouldn’t be a good fit for him and saved her from this fiasco in the first place.  Bottom line, she didn’t give HAL the chance to do THEIR job for HER husband but she wanted them to reward her for HER not doing HER job for her husband.

    As for this being about disabled people, davidglass, think again.  This isn’t about being disabled – this is about PROPERLY informing a company of the limitations of a passenger who will be on a OCEANLINER and acting with grace and dignity when an issue arises that affects all the other passengers.  HAL ultimately had to have these people escorted off the ship by guards.  That speaks volumes to the behavior that went on and what the crew and Captain had to deal with while they were still on board.  Can you imagine what might have happened had they been at sea?!  Simply reading the fb posts by Karen on HAL’s page it is absolutely obvious that she was out of control on that ship.  HAL needed to consider the other 1800 or so passengers and THEIR dream vacations.  THOSE people weren’t acting in such a manner as to be escorted off the ship.  Karen was.  To be rewarded for that by getting her money back is a slap in the face to all the passengers and crew on that ship.  i wish HAL would have stood firm and not rewarded her for her outlandish behavior.  Let me repeat, it had NOTHING to do with disabled people.  It had everything to do with out of control people. 

    (Go on board a HAL cruise – or most any other, i assume – and you will see how the disabled are treated.  The crew goes out of their way to accommodate folks with special needs and they do it with enthusiasm.  i know – i’ve been there, done that.  We had nothing but gracious help all along the way.  And yes, there were certain things that we were unable to do, but we accepted that without issue and moved on and enjoyed our cruise!)

  • MN mom

     You don’t want to know the facts, you just want to have an opinion that HAL did them wrong?!! 

    “From what I can tell……”  and you go on – but from what you can tell from WHAT?!!!  You are refusing to consider the story or the facts, so that statement is ludicrous!

    Let me help you since you don’t want to do the work of finding the facts yourself:

    Fact:  woman has husband with brain injury that, according to HER, causes him to be unable to complete simple tasks or have the awareness of when/where it’s appropriate to relieve himself.  Woman also states that husband is like that of a 2 yr old child.

    Fact:  woman books cruise for said “2 yr old” husband but does not inform the cruiseline of husband’s limitations and/or lack of ability to understand appropriate behavior.

    Fact:  woman has a gps watch for husband because he wanders off and apparently she is unable to watch him 24/7 (understandable – don’t get me wrong – but if that is an issue, than it must be addressed when on a cruise ship for heaven’s sake!)

    Fact:  woman loses sight and control of husband on board while he wanders to the pool, pulls down his pants and pees into the pool.  When woman attempts to stop him, husband pushes her aside and continues to urinate into the pool.

    Fact:  crew on board attempt to deal with the situation but it gets to the point where the woman and husband are escorted off the ship by guards.

    Fact:  woman starts ranting on HAL’s fb page about how they were treated, but did NOT give any details – was vague and misleading – and never answered any direct questions by anyone attempting to understand just what happened.

    Fact:  woman posts picture of husband on HAL’s fb page and makes jokes and disparaging remarks about him peeing in the pool.  Then lashes out at other fb users when they suggest that she is being disrespectful to her husband by humiliating him in such a way.

    Fact:  HAL indicated on their fb page that their guest relations folks would be in contact with woman in order to discuss a solution to her concerns.  Woman continues badgering other fb users and grows more and more abusive as the days go by, still refusing to be upfront with anyone regarding what occurred on the ship.

    Fact:  HAL issues a refund to woman and woman goes on HAL’s fb page to gloat about “being right”, etc. instead of having grace and dignity in light of receiving a refund she did not deserve.

    Fact:  Four or five days AFTER refund, article by Christopher Elliott appears on HAL’s fb page and online asking if he should help woman get a refund and detailing – incompletely and inaccurately – the events that lead up to her leaving the ship.

    Fact:  People who don’t wish to find out all the facts but wish to spew their own uneducated opinions based on…….what again?……feel they are entitled to say what they want and it shall be taken as “the truth” because that’s how it is in their own little world.

    Fact:  The majority of the posters here were willing to read all the details and make informed comments that reflect the fact that the woman was wrong in ever attempting to bring her husband on a cruise in the first place, given his issues and her limitations in caring for him and that she behaved poorly once on board and should not have been rewarded for that behavior.  It’s also been noted that HAL went above and beyond in their willingness to extend a refund to her.

  • Mel65

    Wonder which one davidglass is related to, Mr. or Mrs. Del Zoppo.

  • Raven_Altosk

    And what accommodation should be offered for a grown man who exposes himself and urinates in the pool? The wife obviously couldn’t control him. 

    So please, you n00b, enlighten us…

  • pauletteb

    I wouldn’t use ANY pool with that kind of policy. Ugh!

  • y_p_w

    The ADA isn’t an unlimited license to allow anything under the cover of a disability.  There are limits.  If someone is physically unable to perform a task that’s necessary for safety, the ADA won’t force a service provider to accommodate such a disability.

  • y_p_w

    Most people are freaked out about the possibility of swimming in or drinking water that has any kind of waste in it, but it’s really not all that bad.  It’s the “ick factor”, which is more psychological than anything.  I drink water that was stored in lakes and reservoirs stocked with fish for recreational fishing.  Guess what those fish do?

    I’ve gone backpacking and drank water collected from streams.  I treated it with disinfection tablets, but otherwise I’m sure there were particles of this and dissolved that which came out of the ends of some animal.  It’s not as bad as most people think.  Humans have been conditioned to believe that human and animals wastes in water are inherently “dirty” even if the water has been properly treated.

  • Baelzar

    You know, Mr. Elliott, that every time you advocate for someone who doesn’t deserve advocacy, you do all consumer advocates a disservice…and you do all honest consumers a disservice.

    This lady screwed up, royally.  Taking a fully grown man with a severe mental handicap – we’re not talking Down’s Syndrome here, we’re talking a man with the mind of a TODDLER.  What if he gets angry?  Clearly he isn’t aware of much – what if he decides to hold some kid’s head under water?  Throw somebody over the railing?

    This is a slam dunk on HAL’s side; it sounds like you and she essentially extorted the refund from the cruise line, here and on Facebook.

    I’m a travel agent, and I would never have done that.  Of course, I wouldn’t have booked the cruise had I known this man’s condition.

  • john4868

    ADA wouldn’t apply to a foriegn flagged vessel departing form a non-US port although a European equivalent might. Regardless ADA only states that the service provider must make reasonable accomodations. Adversely effecting the entire population of a cruise ship for one individual whose caretaker can’t supervise him is not reasonable.

    Disabled people should be able to cruise as long as they travel with caretakers that make sure that their disability does not adversely impact others. In this case, his caretakers failed him, allowed him to do unacceptable things in public and demonstrated that they couldn’t control him. This caused him to be removed from the ship not the fact he had a disability.

  • Christopher Elliott

    I didn’t advocate for her. Every Monday, I ask readers if I should advocate for someone with a borderline case, which is what this was. I didn’t contact Holland America on her behalf.

  • Deb Kelly

    Obviously you are a relative of the Del Zoppo’s.  The only disdain on this forum is for his very mentally capable wife, Karen. 

    She is an opportunist who can not control her husband’s actions and untimately used him as a pawn to get her money refunded.


  • TonyA_says

    They should have 4 crew members (hired for $50 from a third world country) cover the view on all 4 sides with a white sheet so no one can see him pee. Finally the 5th crew member must follow him around with a bed pan. The rest of the party (3 people) should be given free passes to the bar for bringing a handicapped person on board (they deserve a break let the crew take care of him. :-)

  • Deb Kelly

    That’s such an ignorant comment.  Do you even know what you’re talking about?

    Disabled people who have caretakers that can TAKE CARE of them should and CAN go on cruises.

    This man’s caretaker, his wife, obviously can NOT handle him.  He pushed her away when she tried to stop him from urinating in the pool?

    He’s not a small man…we all saw his picture on FB that his wife so openly displayed to us.

    So you have a grown man with the mind of a 2 yr old (his wife’s description, not mine) peeing in the pool and pushing his wife away.

    That’s a little bit more than “disabled”.

    If he were just “disabled” the cruiseline would not have posted security guards  outside their stateroom.

  • Raven_Altosk


    Nicely done, Tony. Nicely done. :D 

  • Raven_Altosk

    Five bucks says she gave him booze before this incident, too.

  • Baelzar

    Honestly, what’s the difference?

  • Rosered7033

    The difference may be in trying to ascertain whether the incident happened as related to him, or whether there is more to the story, and if there is more (usually the case), then whether the claim is valid.

  • CherylW

    I am sorry for Mrs. Del Zoppo but that is disgusting.  I would be just as disgusted if her 2 year old son was peeing in the pool!  2 of my daughters have been lifeguards for over 10 years now and they say it is unbelievable what people think they can do in a pool, or swimming area.  If her husband honestly can’t control himself in any way then she shouldn’t be traveling without a companion to help her.  As a paying customer on the cruise I would absolutely expect the cruise line to kick both of them off the ship!

  • bigsparky

    Denying a disruptive passenger is not the issue as I see it. He was a danger to others and himself. (falling overboard etc.) The issue I see is the policy to steal the money paid for a trip.  Granted, the exclusion was at the last minute but why can’t the cruise lines (and air lines) find an “excuse” to deny boarding to everyone, tell the staff they are not needed for 5 or 7 days and just pocket the millions. In my state, if I were renting an apartment and gave notice and moved out 3 weeks early, the landlord can’t immediately re-rent and collect double rent. Why do we let cruise lines and airlines do this?

  • Stacey

     What do they do when a bird poops in the reservoir?  Or a bug lands in it?  Or mosquitoes lay eggs in it?  It is truly unfathomable that the people of PDX think an open reservoir would be ‘polluted’ by a few ounces of sterile water with some salts.

  • Deb Kelly

    “The issue I see is the policy to steal the money paid for a trip” “Why do we let cruise lines and airlines do this?”

    #1.  “Steal” is a strong word.   Expecting and requiring that people  be civil and act in a way as to not disrupt other PAYING passengers is perfectly acceptable. 
    Rules are in place for a reason and everyone agrees to those rules when they purchase a ticket.  If you take “issue” with that, don’t go.

    #2   We “let” airlines and cruise lines do this so that ALL of us can be safe on our vacations.

    #3.  If you don’t like the policy you don’t have to travel…it’s a choice.

  • bc

    The only reason it was drained is because of “public perception” and I agree, it was a ridiculous decision. However, a pool and someone doing this in other people’s presence would be very off putting and again they would likely drain it for the perception of being clean.

  • kanehi

    Passengers don’t know if this man had anoxic brain syndrome.  A two year old might be tolerated but a grown man peeing in the pool is another matter.  I wouldn’t use the pool if I saw someone peeing in it.  A full grown man’s bladder is much much bigger than a two year old!

  • 46Shasta19

    I don’t think this couple should be vacationing while her husband has such a difficult problem.  I too would be offended.  I think this falls under the ‘Just because you can do not mean that you should’.

  • HuntAll

    This inconsistency aside, your husband obviously needed far more attention then you were able to provide. He also pushed you aside while you were trying to stop him, which seems to suggest you can’t control his behavior. You may have spent a lot of money to enjoy this cruise but what about the other passengers? What about the money they spent? The ship hadn’t even left the dock yet and this occurred!!! What would you expect HA to do? You’re besides yourself? What about the people that had to watch that little display?

  • scapel

    I would be interested if the man had done inappropriate things before at home or when out and about. If so the nurse should have been on alert. She could have asked for help from the staff. If her husband was indeed unmanagable then he should have been removed from the ship.