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Waverley dates need a fair wind.

DOUBTS have emerged over plans to resume historic pleasure cruises to the "Queen of Welsh resorts" in time for the start of the summer season.

Waverley - the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world - is due to return to Llandudno, in Conwy, on May 31, for the first time since 2001.

All steam ship trips to the resort stopped in 2006 when the landing stage on the grade II* listed pier became unsafe.

Conwy council's planners vote today on whether to back proposals for the landing stage's restoration that would allow Waverley to return.

But head of tourism for the authority Jim Jones said that while they hoped to have the pier ready for May 31 the work could be delayed by bad weather.

He said: "We've just been out to tender and we've had a number of contractors come back and those contracts are being evaluated as we speak.

"We would hope to have it ready for May 31. [But] the contractor would be working in very difficult conditions on the end of Llandudno pier and the weather is unpredictable."

Operators Waverley Excursions have started taking bookings for Llandudno for May 31 and another a trip to the resort on June 2. A final trip of the season is planned for September.

Chief executive of Waverley Excursions Kathleen O'Neill said they will either re-schedule passengers to September or refund them if the weather forces a delay.

She said there was a great sense of excitement about resuming the cruises that will take in Liverpool, Llandudno and Anglesey.

"This is my 15th summer and I was here the last time we were at Llandudno and Liverpool and it was a fantastic area for us.

"We've already taken lots of bookings from people in North Wales and Liverpool."

CAPTION(S):

Llandudno pier in its heyday about a century ago. Repairs to the landing stage depend on fair weather for it to be ready by May 31
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 13, 2013
Words:325
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