A DREAM anniversary cruise turned into a holiday from hell for a Worcestershire couple who feared for their lives as their ship was besieged by violent storms.

Celebration turned to terror for Brian and Zelda Little on a trip from Palma in Majorca, which saw the Thomson cruise ship Topaz pummelled by huge waves in a seven-day ordeal for the couple, who had never been abroad before.

Groundsman Mr Little, aged 48, bought the holiday as a surprise for their 23rd wedding anniversary.

Mrs Little, 42, insists the crew were aware of the impending storms and is adamant the ship should never have sailed.

She has been unable to return to work at Wyre Forest District Council and has suffered nightmares since arriving home in Hilltop Avenue, Bewdley.

"None of us thought we were going to get off the ship alive," she said. "I've never experienced anything like it in all my life."

The cruise itinerary should have seen more than 1,000 holidaymakers take in Rome, Pisa, Florence, Marseilles, Sete and Barcelona.

The weather soon wrecked the schedule. The Rome stop was a day late and France was bypassed altogether - before outraged passengers were told the ship was not going to stop in Barcelona either.

"We sailed straight into the storm," said Mrs Little. "There were waves coming up on to the top deck. We were told to stay in the middle of the ship as it was too dangerous to go to either end.

"We saw deck tables swept overboard by the waves.

"At one point we were told to stay in our cabins - the only thing to do was try to sleep, to keep away the sickness and fear.

"The single beds in the cabin were tiny but on the Thursday night, we were both petrified. I got in with Brian. I thought if we're going to die we might as well die together.

"I saw elderly people with cuts and bruises - even the waiters were scared," she said.

"Three or four times we thought the ship was going to go over."

Upon returning to Palma Mrs Little was told the storms were so bad hotels had been evacuated.

A spokeswoman for Thomson Holidays would not discuss the cruise and said their customer services department would deal with the Littles' complaints directly.