TWO thousand British tourists who were trapped in Spain will soon be docking in Southampton.
Due to arrive between 1700 BST and 1900 BST, some 2,200 holidaymakers will shortly arrive back in the UK after being rescued from Bilbao by a luxury cruise ship.
The sight of the 500-million euro Celebrity Eclipse was a dream come true to Britons stuck in Spain after the Icelandic volcano eruption grounded their flights.
“What better way to bless a new ship than by doing a small bit of good in a very big problem.”
After days of uncertainty and camping out on airport floors, they were finally able to relax and enjoy five-star service served up by the lavish ferry.
Tourists were offered champagne as they enjoyed the free ride home – paid for by travel companies Thomson, First Choice, Thomas Cook and Cooperative Group.
Many Britons had endured epic coach journeys to reach Bilbao from all over Spain.
The brand-new liner had been scheduled to complete a promotional mini-cruise, but instead made its first journey from Southampton to rescue the marooned tourists.
Richard Fain, chairman of Celebrity Cruises, said: “What better way to bless a new ship than by doing a small bit of good in a very big problem.”