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Failure to launch: Island Cruises postpones start of ferry service

Hundreds of day-trippers hoping to cruise to Southend this weekend have been left disappointed after Sheppey firm Island Cruises postponed the launch of its new ferry service.

Organisers were busy cancelling bookings this week after they realised their new 100-seat boat the Spirit of Sheppey would not be ready for tomorrow's sailing.

The first three voyages had all sold out.

In hot water: Dave Wilcock, boss of Island Cruises.Picture: Gary Browne (1605121)
In hot water: Dave Wilcock, boss of Island Cruises.Picture: Gary Browne (1605121)

A disappointed Dave Wilcock said: “This is terribly sad news. The last thing we wanted was to let people down. But as a responsible company we realised it would be wrong to push ahead.

"I have called everyone personally to explain and only two asked for refunds. The rest have rebooked later. That shows the support we have.”

He blamed bad weather at the start of the year for blowing its schedule off course.

He said: “Snow, ice and high winds meant we couldn’t get the boat from Gloucester to Sheppey when we wanted. Its voyage was delayed by three weeks.

“We truly thought we could still meet our deadline and even carried out essential maintenance on the five-day trip to Sheppey. But we just ran out of time. We are so sorry and would like to apologise to all our customers.”

The company has offered new dates for anyone who has booked or refunds for those who cannot reschedule. The full service will now start on the second May Bank Holiday weekend on Saturday, May 26.

The Spirit of Sheppey at Queenborough.
The Spirit of Sheppey at Queenborough.

* For details visit islandcruisesuk.com or call 01795 700187

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