Gale Winds Force Delays and Itinerary Changes for U.K.-Bound Cruise Ships

June 8, 2012

(Update: 6/9/12, 5 p.m. EDT) -- We are waiting for word from MSC and Celebrity regarding the time of Opera's and Celebrity Eclipse's respective departures. Spokespersons from P&O and Princess have confirmed that Oriana and Grand Princess both departed Southampton as scheduled on Saturday.

(12:45 p.m. EDT) -- With gale-force winds battering much of the United Kingdom today, at least two cruise ships have faced delay or diversion due to high wind and rough seas.

MSC Opera, which was scheduled to dock Friday morning local time (GMT) in Southampton, made it into port at 4 p.m. GMT on Friday, according to a port spokesperson. A statement from MSC Cruises cited the adverse weather conditions and focus on passenger safety as the cause for the delay. From Southampton, MSC Opera is scheduled to depart on an 8-night Baltic & Northern Europe cruise. It is not yet known whether the ship, which is supposed to depart Southampton at 10 p.m. GMT on Friday, will face further delays.

A second ship that faced weather-related difficulties was Costa NeoRomantica, which was unable to dock in Dover, the ship's turn-around port, Friday as scheduled. A Costa spokesperson told Cruise Critic that the ship was redirected to Amsterdam to offload passengers from the current cruise and pick up those scheduled to sail on the next, an 8-night Baltic & Northern Europe cruise.

Upon disembarkation in Amsterdam, passengers will be flown back to the U.K. as required, and guests who had been due to embark in Dover will be flown to Amsterdam to meet the ship. The line is covering the cost of all flights, and no further itinerary changes are expected.

Cruise Critic will update this story with any further itinerary changes related to the current weather conditions.

--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Content Editor