THE TRIP of a lifetime was made extra-special for two holidaymakers when their cruise ship was detained in Madeira.
The MV Van Gogh and its 460 passengers were held at the port of Funchal for two days over a £2m debt.
But far from Irene and Brian Snaith’s holiday being ruined the Liversedge couple were delighted to spend an extra two days touring the Portuguese island for free.
So much so that Irene, 69, and Brian, 73, were almost disappointed when the ship returned to British shores last Sunday.
The cruise liner set sail on January 4 from Falmouth, Cornwall, for a round-the-world trip costing the couple £9,000 each.
The Snaiths booked the cruise, which toured the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Caribbean, Sydney, Mauritius and Cape Town, through the Examiner in 2004.
But the Van Gogh was held at Madeira on its return voyage as a result of a legal dispute. However, after an agreement was struck between the ship’s owners and the administrators she set off for the UK on April 3.
Mrs Snaith, a retired teacher, said: “When we arrived in Madeira the ship was arrested and we were stuck.
“There were a lot of police present and a gunboat sailing round us. But it was all very exciting. It wasn’t frightening.
“We were allowed off the ship and the weather was good, so it was like an extended holiday. It was a bit of a laugh and everyone was in good spirits.
“The company was extremely good and gave us a tour of Madeira’s mountains. It didn’t spoil our trip, if anything it enhanced it.
“It was almost disappointing to land back in the UK because it was cold!”