MUDEFORD Ferry continues to be overwhelmed with requests for their ‘ghost ship’ tours of anchored cruise liners off the coast of Bournemouth beach.

After a half and hour trip from Mudeford Quay, the ferry travels to within 50 metres of the boats, with captain Paul Derham uses his knowledge of cruise ships, having crewed on P&O cruises for 27 years, to entertain guests with trivia and anecdotes.

The trip includes a tour of two Royal Caribbean International ships, the Anthem of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas which, upon her launch in November 2009, was the world's largest passenger ship, before was eclipsed by her sister ship, Harmony of the Seas when it was launched in June 2015.

Passengers have travelled from as far north as Leeds and Suffolk to come on the cruises and have highly commended the tours.

Sallyann and John Rackham, from Winchester, have been visiting the area for 60 years.

Sallyann said: “We brought our children here and now they are bringing their children here so there are four generation of our family that love this area.

“My brother lives in the area and we were coming to see him, and we had seen the tours advertised and it is something different to do so we booked onto one.

“People are saying it is a real success story of lockdown and you do have to agree with them. It is not easy being a small business, especially during lockdown, and coming up with new ideas but the trip has been brilliant.”

Heather Galloway and her husband from Lee-on-the-Solent have an interest in cruise ships and were due to go on a cruise this summer which has now been postponed until next summer.

She added: “I saw these trips written about in the Daily Mail and thought we must go on one.

“It has been fantastic; it’s been very exciting cruising around the cruise ships.

“We see them so often in the Solent that we thought we might as well see them up close on the water. We don’t see ships as big as this in the Solent though, these are absolute monsters.”

As well as offering tours of the anchored cruise ships, Mudeford Ferry still continued to provide its original service in connecting Mudeford Quay and Mudeford beach.

However, due to the high demand of their trips, the ferry company has restored to announcements on their social media page 24 to 48 hours in advance of their next trip as they are unable to keep up with phone call requests.

At the moment, the ferries are only able to seat 30 people rather than the 80- person capacity due to social distancing.

Not only have the ferry business been overwhelmed by customer requests, they have also been deluged with news outlets from across the country and around the world wanting to come on their trips.

Captain Paul Derham said: “I am not used to this amount of attention; the phone has not stopped.

“We have had two Japanese TV crews get in touch with us, a German TV station has come out with us, I’ve spoken on San Francisco radio and there has been a TV station from Sydney that has interviewed us as well.

“We also have a Chinese TV station coming out with us today.

“It was only a silly idea, but it has grown so much bigger than I would have ever imagined.”

Due to the number of requests they continue to receive, Mudeford Ferry are looking to continue their ghost ship tours into the Autumn months, dependant on tides and weather conditions.

“Passengers love getting up close to the ships,” said Paul.

He added: “It is not a huge money maker for us, but it has been brilliant for raising our profile,

“We have hundreds of passengers on our trips and they must have taken thousands of photos of the ships, but now we can’t afford to stop the trips because so many people still want to come on the trips.

“At the end of October, we will only be able to bring out 12 people at a time. We will look to do more in the future and maybe one on Boxing Day if people want to do it.”