The impending storm across England has resulted in several cruise lines changing their itineraries to avoid most of the bad weather. Southampton has sometimes had ships divert from Dover Cruise Port and it’s very rare Southampton is closed. One example was MSC Opera having to anchor south of the Isle of Wight in 2012.
26th October 2013
Crown Princess and Independence of the Seas were in Southampton, the former due to sail at 4pm, the latter half an hour later. Crown was in Ocean Terminal and not transmitting on the AIS, so it was easy to believe she’d sailed. By 7pm, she was being towed, with the aid of Lomax and Svitzer Bentley, to Mayflower Terminal, where she would remain until 4pm on the 28th rather than sail to Le Havre. Princess told Cruise Critic it was due to weather. Meanwhile, the media are ignoring that Indy’s scheduled call to Zeebrugge was cancelled but she still left on time, sailing straight to Le Havre, arriving at 1.48am CET where she would remain until the night of the 28th, returning to Southampton.
27th October 2013
This was the day the storm was due to hit late at night, after being blustery on and off with sunny spells during the day. Adventure of the Seas was scheduled to sail to Cherbourg at 4.30pm and left slightly early, planning to anchor (although shipping movements stated Vigo). She reached her destination in under 6 hours.
Meanwhile AIDAsol was originally scheduled to be in Le Havre on the 28th and Southampton on the 29th but swapped them over, arriving for 10.30pm.
Update: 15th February 2014
The storm didn’t prevent any problems into the new year either.
3rd January 2014
It had only been Oriana scheduled, preparing for a trip to the Canary Islands. While she left reasonably on time, Aurora was coming back early to avoid the impending storm. She sailed on her world cruise the following day.
5th January 2014
Saga Sapphire had been due to arrive on the 6th but arrived a day early while Balmoral was originally postponed 2 days but left later that night.
6th January 2014
Queen Elizabeth arrived and sailed on schedule but Adonia, due the 7th, picked up the pilot. It was so rough in the Solent, he had to board in more sheltered waters.
7th January 2014
As most of the ships had disappeared for winter or on world cruises, things weren’t too bad when the country got battered again until February when one as bad as October’s was poised to strike. But we had an inkling something was afoot on the 10th when VTS double parked (pr piggy-backed!) Oceana and Oriana in Ocean Terminal, despite only Oriana due that day.
Oceana arrived fresh from her Canary Islands cruise on the 13th and her departure to the Caribbean that afternoon cancelled as the Atlantic would be hellish. She had already done the trip in January and hit rough seas. Meanwhile, Oriana was docked by 3pm on the 14th in City Terminal, both ships preparing to ride out the storm.
The storm abated and, despite a strong weather warning in force after 3pm, Oceana left just before that time then Oriana at 5.20pm.
Meanwhile, things weren’t so lucky on Marco Polo when they were hit by a freak wave, resulting on sadly one death. CMV released a statement:
MEDIA STATEMENT Saturday 15 February 2014 (1200hrs)
Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) confirm that following a freak wave that hit their cruise ship m/s Marco Polo yesterday afternoon during adverse sea conditions, the ship is now in calmer seas en-route from the Azores to her home port of London Tilbury.
We regret to advise that one elderly passenger has died and a second unrelated passenger was airlifted for further shore-side medical assistance where we understand her condition is not life threatening. 14 passengers have sustained minor injuries and were treated in the ship’s medical centre. All of our passengers have been kept fully updated of the situation.
Marco Polo has sustained some damage in the Waldorf Restaurant and following reparation works will sail tomorrow evening from Tilbury on her scheduled 14 night cruise to Norway and the Land of the Northern Lights.
The vessel sailed from Tilbury on 5th January and is carrying 735 mainly British passengers and 349 crew.
Our thoughts and prayers are very much with these passengers and their families during this difficult time.
Let’s hope that is the last of this awful weather.