Passengers looking forward to an early winter escape to Southern Spain and the Canary Islands with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines were instead given a severe pummelling when their ship got caught up in a nasty storm in the Bay of Biscay.
After battling gale force 8 winds and waves as high as 10 meters for two days, the 43,500-gt cruise ship Balmoral (built 1988) diverted to the Spanish port of Bilbao, where it docked on Thursday night.
“Our trip to the sun so far….! Broken windows, deck 4 partially flooded, hatches firmly battened down and just docking in Bilbao when we should be in Cadiz,” said one relieved passenger on a social media post.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, in an update posted on its social media, said that the rough seas caused some damage on deck four of the ship “which has affected a small number of cabins and an area of our Neptune Lounge”.
The company added that worsening sea conditions made it impossible for the Balmoral to continue on its planned course to the Canary Islands. The ship will remain docked in Bilbao’s Getxo port until at least Saturday, when the weather is expected to improve.
“Our Captain is keeping guests on board up to date with any information on our onward plans,” the company said.
There have been no reports of any injuries to passengers or crew.
The Balmoral is part of the cruise company’s fleet of four ships serving the UK cruise market.
Fred Olsen Cruise Line is owned by Bonheur, a Norwegian-owned investment company that also owns DN Media Group, the parent company of TradeWinds.