Weekend Travel Update: Ferry stressful

Simon Calder
Friday 19 August 1994 23:02
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HIGH summer can be a low point at Britain's airports. Mr T G Shelley of Cambridgeshire, mindful of the stresses of air travel, decided to take his wife to Scandinavia by sea: she is recovering from an operation, and he felt the Harwich-Gothenburg sea crossing would be gentler.

When the Shelleys turned up for the return leg, however, they found the ferry had been cancelled. Instead of sailing straight home, they were obliged to stay overnight at Gothenburg, wake at 5am for a ferry crossing to Denmark and then drive 200 miles to the port of Esbjerg. They were re-booked on the overnight sailing from there to Harwich, but the two-berth cabin Mr Shelley had booked was not available. 'We had to try to sleep on bench seats,' he says, 'during one of the roughest crossings I have experienced'.

By way of compensation, and to cover the extra fuel costs of the drive through Denmark, most passengers had been given Kr800 (about pounds 65) at Gothenburg. But by the time Mr Shelley reached the front of the queue, he was told the staff had run out of money, and that he should write to Scandinavian Seaways at Harwich for a refund. His two letters, he says, have been ignored. 'The only communication I had so far is from the company's market research department, headed 'We hope you enjoyed your trip with Scandinavian Seaways,' and asking us to complete a questionnaire about our enjoyable trip'.

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