More than 200 passengers have voiced their fury after spending thousands of dollars on a dream cruise holiday only to have their ship transformed into a construction zone.

Two thousand passengers embarked on the two-week voyage between Miami and Los Angeles via the Panama Canal on the Norwegian Sun.

Despite paying thousands of dollars for their holiday, the upgrades closed restaurants and amenities, caused excessive noise and leaked the smell of chemicals.

Passenger Mae-Claire Locke says her family endured “16 days of hell” on the cruise.

“It wasn’t a vacation,” she said. “It was a full-on construction zone.”

Passengers Annie Barber and Alan Taylor sent a letter to the cruise line in the hope of receiving some compensation for their ruined holiday.

“We made many complaints to Guest Services as the noise was becoming impossible and we were getting quite worried by what we might be inhaling and ingesting through food and drink,” she wrote.

“We were also concerned that some deck areas (some still open to passengers and some not) were being used as storage areas for what looked like chemicals and paint tins, plant equipment etc.

“There was constant noise from equipment workmen were using, such as jack hammers and sanding/sawing equipment. Old deck flooring was being removed and new liquid flooring laid and then polished, existing metal supports were also rubbed down when old decking was being removed. Debris from this work was constantly falling everywhere on the ship and airborne particles were very evident.

“There was a strong smell of chemicals for long periods during the cruise, not only in the public areas but also in our stateroom. A lot of passengers were complaining of irritation to eyes/skin/breathing. Workmen were provided with industrial masks.

“ … We will be looking for a refund of our entire so-called holiday — cruise fare, all flights and transportation costs. We would also expect some compensation for the ruined holiday of a lifetime, the stress and discomfort that this work created and now the amount of time that we are having to spend dealing with all this.

“We are also concerned at potential long/short term health problems passengers may suffer due to inhaling and ingesting these unknown chemicals and substances throughout the entirety of this cruise.

“ … Had we been informed prior to the cruise that this extensive work would be carried out, we would have cancelled.”

Read the full article on the Over 60 Australia website.