October 29, 2013 Updated October 29, 2013
The so-called "St. Jude's Day storm" -- which caused deaths, widespread damage and travel disruption across the UK -- wreaked havoc on cars in Dover's Western Dock car park when hurricane-force winds caused heavy seas to breach protective breakwaters during the night.
Damage to the vehicles included "flooding, smashed windscreens and significant dents," according to a statement from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and the Port of Dover authority.
The cars belonged to passengers onboard both Fred. Olsen's Braemar and Black Watch cruise ships, and the line said all guests were informed of the damage as soon as it was discovered.
"For those who had their cars parked at the Port, we provided them with a free phone call to allow them the chance to contact their insurance companies and/or family and friends," said Mike Rodwell, Managing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Representatives from both Fred. Olsen and the Port of Dover said they would assist customers with making onward transport arrangements and making insurance claims upon their return.
Braemar is due back in to Dover on Tuesday, 5 November, and Black Watch will return Saturday, 16 November. Braemar is currently on a 22-night cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Watch is on a 28-night round-Mediterranean cruise.
After being closed for a brief period on Monday, the Port of Dover resumed ferry services from the Eastern Docks, but has kept the Western Docks closed, saying further work is necessary to assess the full extent of the damage. Port spokeswoman Barbara Buczek said that a cleanup was underway, and that the port would still be able to run cruise operations for upcoming arrivals and departures.
"The only change we have to do is swap the terminal for a couple of incoming cruises, but that won't be a problem," Buczek said.
The storm also affected the itineraries of a handful of cruise ships, with Princess Cruises delaying Crown Princess' departure out of Southampton by two nights, forcing the ship to cancel port calls in Le Havre, Vigo and Ponta Delgada. Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas also made minor adjustments to scheduled sailings, though the line did not disclose details of the changed itineraries.
--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor