Christmas market cruise canceled with more than 1,000 on board in south Essex

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A festive cruise has been canceled for more than 1,000 guests who were set to sail from south Essex.

About 1,400 people had boarded the Christmas market cruise from Tilbury to Zeebrugge in Belgium when it was canceled after issues were found with the lifeboat station on board.

Guests were to set sail on the ship Ambience on Sunday.

Ambassador Cruise Lines, which operates the vessel, confirmed the three-day Festive Market Getaway cruise had been canceled yesterday evening.

The issue with the lifeboat station was identified after annual maintenance works was conducted.

Ambassador Cruise Line said the firm chose to “immediately address this as a precautionary measure”.

The ship left Tilbury this afternoon to go to Bremerhaven, where the work and tests will be completed.

The firm said it was “too early to say whether any future itineraries will be impacted”.

However, it has confirmed the works won’t be finished in time to operate the Christmas and New Year’s Canary Islands cruise, which was due to sail on Wednesday (December 21).

A spokesman tweeted: “We can only apologise for any upset and inconvenience this announcement will cause our valued guests and your business partners.”

In a statement to BBC Essex, the company said: “It is never an easy decision to cancel any itinerary, particularly at this time of year, and we would like to apologise to all those guests that were due to sail with us.

Guests have been invited to remain on Ambience overnight to enjoy dinner and our evening entertainment before disembarking in the morning, after which time works will continue.

“We have communicated transfer and compensation options to our guests, and any additional concerns they might have will be dealt with by the Ambassador on a case-by-case basis in the days to come.”

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