Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Refunds given over delayed cruise

A cruise-liner company has offered passengers a full day's refund after their ship to Oslo failed to dock at the Kent port of Dover at the weekend.

The Balmoral was delayed for 24 hours due to the bad weather on Saturday leading to complaints from passengers.

Several contacted BBC Radio Kent to complain of a lack of help in finding hotels and being left out in the cold.

Nigel Lingard, from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said passengers had been given back one seventh of their cruise fare.

The ship was delayed on its arrival in Dover due to gale-force winds in the Bay of Biscay.

'Expenses covered'

The company said that on the ship's approach to the port it was accompanied by two tugs, but due to the weather conditions, there was heavy contact between the ship and the bow tug, causing minor damage to both vessels and affecting the Balmoral's communications systems.

The ship was taken back out to sea and was not brought back into port until the early hours of Sunday, once the winds had dropped.

It finally left Dover, with a revised cruise itinerary, on Sunday evening.

Mr Lingard said a large number of holidaymakers were able to return home on Saturday night because they lived in the south east, while others either found their own accommodation or were given local information to help them find hotels.

He said: "We will accordingly be covering all their expenses. People will also be able to claim delay insurance money.

"Everyone has received an allowance for the lost day of their cruise - that's automatic, and I fully accept that, and that has been handled on board."

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