A COUPLE’S dream eight-day cruise around the Western Isles and Scotland came to an abrupt end — just hours after setting sail.

Norman and Theresa Stott, aged 74, of Acre View, Harwood, were on board the flagship cruise liner, the Ocean Countess, when it came to a halt due to an electrical fault.

The gremlins struck soon after the Ocean Countess left Liverpool, the first cruise liner to leave the port in 40 years after the govern- ment gave the go ahead for cruises to begin and end in the city.

Despite the problems, Mrs Stott, who paid £2,000 for the trip, said: “It’s laugh- able that it broke down.”

The ship was diverted to Holyhead, in Angelsey, just after 11pm on May 29.

Cruise staff arranged coach trips of the area for passengers on May 30 and 31. Mrs Stott said: “The staff did a brilliant job of organ- ising 10 coaches to give us holidaymakers a tour of Anglesey and Snowdon.”

Passengers were given two options — a full refund of the cruise ticket and a coach back to Liverpool, or a 25 per cent reduction and £50 spending money.

Mr and Mrs Stott, who are cruise veterans — this was their 69th — picked the refund and are now waiting to get their cash back.

The Ocean Countess was finally repaired on May 31, but only ventured to the Western Isles, leaving out Aberdeen and Edinburgh, which were part of the planned itinerary.

Mrs Stott was so disap- pointed that she and her husband, aged 80, missed visiting Edinburgh that they later decided to drive to the Scottish capital.

The failure of Ocean Countess has not deterred the couple from cruising andtheyareduetogoona six-week Amazon cruise next year.

Richard Baristow, the operations director of Cruise and Maritime Voy- ages said: “We are pleased for our passengers that the repairs have been promptly completed and that we can now resume our scheduled itinerary.”