Rescued British holidaymakers sail home in the lap of luxury

//Rescued British holidaymakers sail home in the lap of luxury

All aboard! Celebrity Eclipse is on her way back to the UK carrying 2,200 holidaymakers who were stranded by the volcanic ash flight ban.
Many of them can’t believe their luck. Yesterday they were stuck in Spain, not knowing when they would be able to return home. Now they are travelling in five-star luxury, with free meals, on a brand new cruise ship which would normally cost more than £1,000 a week.
Most of the holidaymakers boarding the £500 million ship in the northern port of Bilbao this morning had been brought by bus from the Costas. Others had been flown into Spain from as far apart as Mexico and Egypt by tour operators Thomson, First Choice, Thomas Cook and Co-op Travel.
Martin and Jane Greenford and their two children, Sarah, 13, and Luke, 11, took a 15-hour overnight bus trip from Fuengirola, in southern Spain. Mrs Greenford, 44, a nurse, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, said: “We have been stuck since Sunday. The bus ride was a nightmare.
“Thomas Cook said going home on a liner might be an option but we never expected anything like this. It’s like a palace.”
Honeymoon couple Felicity and David Gardner, from Staffordshire, had a nine-hour journey to reach the port. Mrs Gardner, 25, and a teacher, arrived on the ship – which has three swimming pools, 13 bars, and a half-acre lawn of real grass – and said: “This is a bit of a contrast with Benidorm.”
Richard Fain, chairman of Celebrity Cruises, said the tour operators were paying for the ship’s fuel. “The rest is on us, but I don’t even know how much it is costing.”
The passengers will be fed and entertained free of charge during the 30-hour voyage, and the ship will arrive in Southampton on Friday evening, in time for her naming celebrations to go ahead as planned on Saturday.
Another cruise ship, the appropriately-named Island Escape, is due to arrive in Falmouth tomorrow morning, carrying 1,400 Thomson and First Choice holidaymakers who had been stranded in the Canaries and Madeira.
And Thomson Dream has embarked on her maiden voyage from Palma to Livorno, Barcelona and Villefranche after ferrying 2,800 people from Majorca to the Spanish mainland when they were unable to fly.

By | 2010-04-22T15:57:13+00:00 22 April 2010|Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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