Cruise ship bound for Gotland, Sweden, forced back by harsh winds

One of Viking Line’s cruise ships, the MS Cinderella, with about 1,500 passengers onboard, was stuck in strong winds outside Gotland for several hours on Friday, Swedish media reported.

Shortly after 02:00 p.m. local time (1200 GMT), Viking Line announced that the cruise ship would be turning back to Stockholm.

“We have just been told that we are returning to Stockholm,” Eleonora Hansi, Viking Line’s information manager told Swedish news Expressen.

On the Baltic Sea, just west of the Swedish island of Gotland, gale-force winds were blowing at 15 meters per second throughout Friday, causing high waves and preventing the MS Cinderella from making safe entry into the port of Visby in Gotland.

Docking attempts failed several times between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Hansi told Swedish news SVT.

The cruise ship made a final attempt to dock at 2:00 p.m., when the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) predicted that the winds would start to die down. When that attempt failed, Viking Lines decided to turn the ship around and head back to Stockholm instead.

“Visby is not one of our regular destinations,” Hansi told SVT. “This week we have made three special crossings there and the two previous ones have gone well.”

The 1,500 passengers on board were reported to be safe and calm, though eager to make landfall.

“It is clear that they are eager to get ashore, but at the same time they can see how hard the wind is blowing and understand that safety comes first,” Hansi told SVT, adding that if the winds had not died down sufficiently by early afternoon, the ship would then have to return to the mainland.

“Then we’ll head back to Stockholm and take care of the travelers as well as we can,” said Hansi.