HomeVillage GuideThis PageWhat's OnThings to doNoticeboardLocal IssuesFeedbackCommunity CouncilFife CouncilLocal Links
Open Golf News
The QE2 visit to Anstruther
back to Local News

Complaints of QE2 booking-in "shambles"

The Courier, 22 July 2000

What should have been a holiday of a lifetime to St Andrews for the Millennium Open Championship on board the liner QE2 has turned into a nightmare for some of its passengers.

There were a number of complaints again yesterday to The Courier from several of those on board the cruise ship, which has been chartered from Cunard by the holiday firm Scotia Travel.

A number of passengers expressed "great disappointment" with the whole episode, and one described it as "a shambles."

The liner arrived in the Firth of Forth on Wednesday afternoon after sailing from Southampton and is moored around a mile offshore from Anstruther harbour.

It emerged yesterday that around 100 passengers trying to book in at the company's temporary offices at Waid Academy in Anstruther were left standing when the baggage handlers shut up shop earlier than expected. They were then left to take their own bags down to another check-in point at the west pier.

Said one, "You really do get the impression that now that they have my money they are just not interested. It is a disgrace."

Another party who arrived on Thursday night after travelling from England found themselves stranded ashore for more than two hours because tenders were unable to get to the pier due to low tide.

One member of the group said, "We appreciate that the Forth is subject to tides, but when we arrived there was no one around to tell us where to park our car or give any other advice about sailing times etc. I am paying £350 a night and did expect a little more communication.

"We just had to hang around for a couple of hours and finally got on board the QE2 at 2am. Everyone you ask has a complaint of some sort. Passengers, many of whom are elderly, are expected to carry their own bags down the pier to the tenders. It is absolutely hopeless."

There have also been complaints about the transport taking fans to and from the golf in St Andrews. Instead of the expected luxury coaches, passengers are being ferried by double-deck buses owned by Edinburgh City Transport which are used on normal service routes.

No one was available from Scotia Travel to comment yesterday.

East Neuk gears up for the QE2's visit

The Courier, 6 June 2000

The East Neuk of Fife is currently gearing up for what could be one of its biggest visitor boosts for decades.

As the Open Golf Championship approaches, local businesses and organisations are hoping to benefit from the appearance of the QE2 off the port of Anstruther.

The liner will be anchoring off the coast, using Anstruther harbour to load and unload passengers heading to and from the Championships and other destinations.

It is expected that thousands of people will make the trip to the coast just to see the ship, and Anstruther Community Council has been co-ordinating a series of events.

Secretary Martin Dibley said that there had been eight months of work with organisation with organisations such as Fife Council, the police, Cunard, Scotia Travel and the Tourist Board and that the whole of the East Neuk was looking forward to a unique event.

He said that the ship would be off the town between July 19 and 24 and that a celebration ceilidh would be held in the town hall on the Friday evening.

In addition, said Mr Dibley, Anstruther Community Council in conjunction with Fife Craft Association would be running a craft fair in the town hall on July 21 and 22.

At nearby Cellardyke harbour he said there would be a re-enactment of the traditional Sea Queen Ceremony that had been so popular in the town for many years.

The event will be marked by an appearance from Methil Pipe Band and there is also to be a football tournament featuring local teams and a team from the liner itself.

Along the coast at Crail will be holding its annual festival, many art galleries will open in Pittenweem, and there is to be a special exhibition at the St Monance Heritage Centre.

Mr Dibley said that a major initiative for the millennium, and to brighten up the town for the QE2's visit had been the putting up of a hundred hanging baskets and floral decorations.

He said that the response from groups and individuals had guaranteed a good start to the initiative but the council was now on the look out for volunteers who would be able to help water the hanging baskets throughout the summer.

Fan moors QE2 off St Andrews for Open

Grant Ringshaw, Telegraph, 16 May 1999

A Golf-Crazy Glaswegian multi-millionaire is paying £2.5 million to charter the Queen Elizabeth 2, the luxury cruise ship, and plans to moor it off St Andrews next summer during the Open Golf Championship.

Steven Braid, who runs a family-owned shipping and travel business, hopes to make millions of pounds in profit on the scheme by charging fellow golf enthusiasts up to £7,900 to stay on the ship during the championship. Mr Braid is believed to have put a £1 million downpayment towards the ship's charter between July 18 and 25 next year. He admits that he aims to profit from the acute shortage of hotel beds during the Open in St Andrews.

He said: "It is incredibly difficult for people to get somewhere to stay. Rooms are snapped up quickly, sometimes years before the event and, even if you can get them, the rooms cost you an arm and a leg." At £7,900, the top suites are strictly for the wealthiest golf followers. But fans can snap up cheaper berths at £1,900, with a total of 3,000 berths on offer. Enthusiasts are being asked to pay a 15 per cent deposit and must pay up in full by the end of the year.

Mr Braid admitted that the top suites were pricey but said: "We think we are charging a reasonable price, especially for the smaller berths, for what is a once-in-a-lifetime experience." Most interest is likely to come from America and Japan, but Mr Braid said he had already received inquiries from Portugal and Australia. He is also hoping that some of the world's top golfers and their families take berths.

Those who do sign up will be treated to a revamped QE2. The cruise ship is being refurbished this winter at a cost of £10 million by Cunard, the former British shipping line that was bought for $500 million last year by Carnival Corporation, an American holidays giant.

The ship will sail overnight from Southampton and anchor off the Fife coast for the week. Golf fans will be shuttled to the port of Anstruther and taken to St Andrews by bus. All prices include transport and tickets for the Open championship.

The scheme will be unique. Mr Braid said: "We will only ever do this once. It is a chance for golf fans worldwide to celebrate the Millennium in a unique way. We truly believe that it has something special about it." The project was conceived four years ago when Bill McMaster, a Glasgow accountant, approached Mr Braid with the idea of golf cruises. Mr McMaster died in a car accident last year.

Holidays linked to golf championships are a rapidly growing business in America and Japan. A handful of specialist firms, including Percy Golf, has branched out into cruises linked to golf championships, but the business is still in its infancy.

Mr Braid would not comment on the potential profits if all the cruise ship's 3,000 berths were sold. However, an average price of £8,000 a berth would generate £24 million in turnover. The Braid family has owned a freight forwarding and shipping business since the 1950s and moved into travel in the 1980s. John S Braid, the shipping company, had a turnover of £33 million in 1998, specialising in the shipment of liquids.

back to Local News   up to Top