HIGH winds forced a Southampton cruise ship to abandon its scheduled stop at a European port and head home.

Azura set sail from Southampton on Saturday morning, heading to the Belgium capital Bruges but passengers were woken up by an announcement early yesterday morning telling them the ship would not be docking.

A spokesperson from P&O Cruises told the Daily Echo that the port of Zeebrugge was closed due to winds in excess of 60kts, leaving the ship with no option but to turn back.

The ship remained at sea and arrived back in Southampton this morning on schedule.

A spokesperson added: “We are very sorry for the change of plan but hope everyone enjoyed the weekend on board.”

They confirmed that passengers would not receive compensation for missing out on their visit to Bruges because it was weather related.

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