As gusts and gales battered the U.K., trains were cancelled and roads blocked. Even the Port of Dover was closed on Monday, 10 March. Meanwhile, down in Southampton, P&O Cruises' smallest ship Artemis braved the inclement weather -- though it did take to the seas a day late (the 10 March 36-night Caribbean itinerary actually departed at around 9:45 a.m. GMT on 11 March). Unfortunately, even with the precautionary delay, the 45,000-ton, 1,188-passenger ship couldn't fight the might of the wind and rain, and sustained some minor damage to its anchor stowage area shortly after leaving the port.
Though the damage didn't affect the overall safety of the ship, some repairs were required before it could continue into the Atlantic for the crossing to the Caribbean. The vessel turned around in the early hours of Wednesday when it was close to the northwest tip of France, and made an unscheduled call at Falmouth, Cornwall, later that day. After an inspection from P&O and Lloyds inspectors, Artemis underwent repairs; it departed from Falmouth to continue on its cruise at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The ship was scheduled to stop at Spain's Corunna on Wednesday, but missed that call due to its time in Falmouth. The next port of call on the schedule is 19 March at Antigua; P&O does not anticipate any future changes to the itinerary, but we'll keep you posted.
Were you at sea during the storms this week? E-mail us if you had unexpected problems.
--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor