Keith Morgan was left stranded with no phone, no money and no passport in a country he didn’t know, 2,000 miles away from home – after his cruise liner left port without him. A relaxing break turned into the holiday from hell for the 44-year-old and his wife Bryden Loyer, when the luxury liner set sail from a port in Estonian. Sister Sue Clarke, 48, said: “He had no phone, no money and no passport. We didn’t even know if he had any cash.”
The couple had just visited a historic church in the Estonian capital of Tallinn when Bryden decided to go back to the cruise ship because she was tired. The pair agreed to meet back on the liner just before it was due to set sail at 5pm, local time. But as the Queen Elizabeth sailed out of the port, 44-year-old Bryden came to the awful realisation that her husband was not on board. Sue said: “She was absolutely distraught. His phone was in her bag, so they had no way of making contact.”
Fearing for Keith’s safety, his family alerted the local police and the foreign office, who began a missing person search. Sue, who lives half a mile away from her little brother and usually sees him at least once a week, said: “It was very unusual behaviour for him. He had been keeping in regular contact to let us know he was okay. It is very out of character for him not to contact us.” She added: “He’s the sort of person who likes his routine. He goes to visit our mother every Saturday lunchtime and we always know where he is.”
Keith, who works for the Environment Agency in Monmouth, first met Bryden online three years ago and travelled to New York to meet her. The pair married a year later and have since been on six cruises together. Bryden, who was working in a tower block close to the World Trade Centre on September 11, has been scared of flying since the devastating terrorist attack and the couple decided to book a cruise to avoid flying.
Sue said: “They had been looking forward to it for ages. They just wanted to get away from it all and it seemed like the perfect holiday.” The 13-night St Petersburg and Baltic Discovery Cruise departed from Southampton on June 18. The luxury liner sailed to Kristiansand in Norway, before proceeding to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki and St Petersburg. The ship docked in Tallinn port early in the morning of Thursday, June 27 and the couple enjoyed a relaxed stroll around Estonia’s largest city.
Sue said: “Keith is very interested in culture. They had gone to visit a church and he was saying how pretty it was. That’s the last we heard.” After nearly 48 hours without any news, his family began to fear the worst. Sue said: “We knew absolutely nothing. We just wanted some form of contact from him.” He finally managed to call his family around 1pm yesterday, reassuring them he was safe and well at a hotel in Tallinn.
Younger brother Lee Morgan said: “It is a huge relief.” A spokesman for Cunard Line said: “We can confirm that the passenger has been found and has made contact with his family. Our on board customer care team is giving every support to the wife of the passenger.” Bryden, who is still on board the Queen Elizabeth, will return to Southampton on Monday.
The cruise liner, which cost £350m to build, is the second largest of Cunard’s fleet and can carry more than 2,000 passengers.