PASSENGERS on a Christmas cruise from Portsmouth to St Malo had a shock when they woke up in Cherbourg – 120 miles away from their original destination.
The cruise, hosted by Wave 105 FM, was supposed to take passengers to the historic French port for a day out on Saturday and bring them home on Sunday morning. But the Brittany Ferries ship was diverted after problems with boarding equipment were discovered at St Malo.
Passengers, who had paid up to £95 each for a return trip and on-board party, were told of the diversion as they awoke after the overnight crossing.
Chris Jones, a Brittany Ferries spokesman, said: ‘There was a technical problem with the linkspan bridge facility at St Malo.
‘Unfortunately we didn’t know until late at night that the ship wasn’t going to St Malo, so people were alerted when they woke up.’
The ferry was due to leave France at 10pm on Saturday, but passengers were then told by text message that they could not board until 10.15pm.
Passenger Emma-Jane Sangster said: ‘It ended up a very tiring long few days. The second evening was ruined by the fact we could not board until 10.15pm. We ended up spending more money than planned.’
A scheduled Floor Fillers party on the return-leg went ahead as planned after Wave DJ Mark Collins hosted a pop quiz on the way out.
But John Burns, who has worked in shipping for 42 years and was on-board the ferry, said: ‘These people thought they were going to St Malo and ended up in Cherborg. You might as well take them to the Moon.’
In a joint statement, Wave 105 and Brittany Ferries added: ‘We have successfully run nearly 30 trips of this nature over 13 years together and this is the first time we have been blighted by any problems. Although these were out of the control of either Wave 105 or Brittany Ferries, we do acknowledge that they resulted in a less than satisfactory trip for many, and are therefore contacting all of the passengers concerned.’