Storm Ciaran hit the UK with a vengeance last week with storm force winds leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

Saga Cruises cruise ship Spirit of Adventure put into Falmouth Docks to seek shelter from the impending storm, spending four days alongside as other ships in the Western Approaches and Bay of Biscay ran for shelter. The ship was outward bound from Portsmouth on a ‘Sunshine in the Canaries’ cruise when the decision was made to call here for shelter.

Out at sea her sister ship Spirit of Discovery was less fortunate, heading north from the Canary Islands after her master had previously cancelled a call at Las Palmas. The intention was to call at the Galician port of La Corunna, in north west Spain, but en route the port authority closed the port to all traffic leaving the ship with nowhere to run.

The Bay of Biscay, which takes no prisoners, is notorious for huge seas and heavy swell conditions under certain weather conditions. The £300m ship encountered very rough seas in the southern Bay of Biscay.

Up to 100 passengers sustained minor injuries when the ship turned in heavy seas. Five people needed treatment for more serious injuries in the ship's medical facilities, according to Saga Cruises.

Passengers were advised to remain in their cabins during the extreme weather. Saga caters for over 50s with many passengers being of retirement age. Unfortunately ships do get caught out in bad weather at times even when trying to seek shelter.

The ship arrived in Portsmouth on Monday evening to prepare for a 30 days Caribbean Island cruise.

A letter from Saga Cruises CEO Nigel Blanks to customers, said: “I appreciate it was an extremely frightening time but I wanted to reassure you that the ship remained safe.” He added that there would be details over compensation in the coming days following the “disappointing end to your cruise”.

A Saga Cruises statement said: "Spirit of Discovery was sadly caught in the challenging weather conditions this weekend, as she started her return to the UK.

"The ship remained safe at all times, but due to the impact of the storm some guests sustained injuries. All were treated immediately by onboard medical staff. While the weather is clearly beyond our control, we want to offer our sincere apologies to all those affected who are now safely on their way home in calmer seas.”

Many passengers said that the conduct of the ship’s crew was exemplary by the manner in which they assisted passengers under difficult circumstances.

Both ships are scheduled to call her again in 2024 as Falmouth is a favourite port of call for Saga Cruises and their passengers. Delivered in June 2019, the Spirit of Discovery was named by the then HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in July 2019. Registered in the UK these superb ships cater mainly for the British market.

Fred Olsen’s cruise ship Balmoral also suffered damage in the storm on deck four with windows smashed and cabins flooded.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines 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.

Balmoral sheltered in Bilbao for two days then sailed for Funchal where the three ships of the Fred Olsen fleet will all meet up tomorrow (Thursday, November 9).