Ferry passengers endured horrendous 30 hour journey through violent storm and only got to spend SIX MINUTES in Amsterdam (in the dark)
British tourists hoped to spend all day on Saturday in Dutch capitalPassengers spent minutes in car park before boarding bus to ferry home
16:48 GMT, 27 March 2013
17:55 GMT, 27 March 2013
British tourists who booked a weekend 'mini-cruise' to Amsterdam spent just six minutes in the Dutch capital after their overnight ferry crossing turned into a 30-hour journey from hell.
More than 300 people booked the 48-a-head break to the Netherlands, which should have entailed them arriving in Holland at 9am last Saturday and spending all day in Amsterdam before boarding an 11pm boat home.
But after they boarded the DFDS Princess Seaways service from North Shields on Friday afternoon, their boat was lashed by such high winds and rough seas that their arrival at the Dutch port of Ijmuiden was delayed by 13 hours.
Passengers on the DFDS Princess Seaways endured a nightmare journey to Holland as the ship was battered by high winds and rough seas
Instead of arriving at 9am on Saturday, the weary – not to mention nauseous – passengers did not reach land til 10pm.
They then had to board a coach to take them to the Hook of Holland so they could take an alternative Stena Line Hollandica ferry route back to the UK.
Mark Dunn, 25, from North Shields, went on the cruise with ten of his friends and said they spent a total of 45 hours travelling and just six minutes in Amsterdam.
He said: 'There were about 350 round-trip passengers like us on the ferry.
'When we set off on Friday, it was blowing a gale, and then an hour into the journey, I think it was about gale force eight or nine.
'We didn't get there until 11pm on Saturday night. We spent about six minutes in the ferry terminal carpark in Amsterdam before they took us onto coaches.
'We thought we were going to see Holland, but they just drove us to the Hook of Holland and put us on a ferry to Harwich.
The tourists had been looking forward to seeing the canals and shops of Amsterdam, pictured
'We didn't even get a cabin. We just had to sit there. Everything was out of control.'
After arriving in Harwich at 10pm on Sunday, the passengers were taken by coach to North Shields, arriving at 4.30am on Monday morning.
Amusement arcade manager Mark said: 'I wish I'd never bothered. I think I've done more miles than Judith Chalmers.
'The annoying thing is I don't think they the ferry should have left – they would have known about the weather.
James O'Neill, 31, paid to fly home rather than go endure another nightmare crossing
Father-of-one James O'Neill, 31, who runs an electroplating business in Bedlington, Northumberland, said: 'It was horrendous – I still feel like I'm on a boat. We should never have set off, people were being sick all over the place.
'I was on a stag do with a group of lads and ended up getting off on the Sunday morning and paying to fly home as I had an important meeting to get to on Monday.
'They've offered us another trip but I never want to get on a boat again.'
Max Foster, DFDS Seaways UK passenger director, said: 'I would like to apologise to all passengers who were affected by our delayed mini cruise sailing on our Amsterdam route on Friday, March 22.
'The delay was caused by unpredicted severe adverse weather conditions on the North Sea, which resulted in the outbound crossing of Princess Seaways from Newcastle being delayed.
'Our primary focus at DFDS Seaways is always on passenger safety. Our crew and shore-based team worked hard to ensure our passengers were able to make their way home as quickly and safely as possible, whilst endeavouring to keep them informed of the situation throughout.
'As a result, our passengers disembarked on Sunday morning and were transported to the Hook of Holland to travel back to Harwich via another ferry service.
'They then continued by coach back to Newcastle. We have offered all passengers affected by the delayed sailing the opportunity to take their mini cruise at another time convenient to them.'