‘I’d swim back to shore if I could’: Solent cruise passenger frustrated as ship takes unexpected detour

Paddle Steamer PS Waverley in the Solent on a previous trip Picture: 
Shaun Roster Photography/
www.shaunroster.com
Paddle Steamer PS Waverley in the Solent on a previous trip Picture: Shaun Roster Photography/ www.shaunroster.com

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A cruise passenger has told of his frustrations after his trip along the south coast took an unexpected detour.

Robin Kay and his sister Glenda paid £35 each to book onto a Waverley cruise trip from Portsmouth to Swanage today so Robin could meet friends in the Dorset town.

But after leaving the harbour at 10am, the boat has gone as far as Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight before appearing to turn back east and head back round the island.

Robin, from North End, said passengers had not had any announcements to tell them what is going on.

He said: ‘Every year, for several years, we have got the Waverley cruise to Swanage via Yarmouth and Bournemouth.

‘We got on at 10am and were greeted by the crew on the gangway. We spent about an hour on the deck and then came inside.

‘We gradually started to hear rumours. After we left Yarmouth I looked out of the windows and did not know where we were heading.

‘People were saying we were not going to Swanage and so I went to the office, where there was a queue.

‘They were asking for a refund but were told no.’

Robin, 73, told The News the ship had sailed back past Fawley Power Station, and had been told it would be docking back in Portsmouth at about 6.30pm.

He added that passengers had received an announcement about the weather conditions but not about the change of route.

He said: ‘I was thinking that I have better things to do. It’s like I’ve been kidnapped and held hostage.

‘I told staff I would swim back to shore if I could.

‘One year we had someone taken ill at Bournemouth and that delayed our journey. But we were told what was going on.

‘If we had been told I could have got off at Yarmouth and carried on my day as normal.’

A Waverley Excursions spokeswoman said passengers who pre-booked were told by email last night that because of poor weather conditions west of the Isle of Wight, the itinerary had changed and would not include a stop at Swanage.

She added: ‘The Captain had assumed that all passengers already knew in advance via email message, our website and telephone recordings or had seen the poster with the new timetable on the ship.

‘We now know this was not the case and our Purser has apologised to those affected onboard.’