British ferry boat owner Paul Derham, who has 27 years of experience in the cruise industry, put his expertise to use by offering "ghost ship" tours of the cruise ships moored in the English Channel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. File Photo by Cory Lum/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A British man who posted an ad for "ghost ship" tours of the empty cruise ships moored in the English Channel said the business has proven unexpectedly popular.
Paul Derham, who worked on cruise ships for 27 years before making the move to running two local ferries in Mudeford, England, said he saw a potential business opportunity in the multiple empty cruise ships moored in the English Channel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Derham started using his expertise to give 2.5-hour "ghost ship" tours, in which he takes tourists as close as 160 feet to the empty vessels, some of which he worked aboard during his time in the cruise industry.
"They look spectacular, because even when they're in the ports of call, like Southampton or wherever, you can't get that close to a ship, with a good view," Derham told CNN.
Derham said he was surprised to discover how much interest their was in his tours, which quickly became booked solid.
"I am completely overwhelmed with the attention," Derham said. "And a little bit proud, without being big-headed, that we managed to pull it off."
He said some of his passengers have been devoted cruise fans who saw the tour as an opportunity to revisit their previous vacations. He said one couple had been aboard one of the boats, the Allure of the Seas, earlier this year.
"As we went past, one of them said, 'Blimey, I can still get their Wi-Fi,'" Derham said.