The storm-damaged Marco Polo cruise ship has been cleared by authorities to sail on 16 February for a 14-night cruise from London Tilbury to Norway.

The ship operator, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), said the vessel has passed safety tests following repair works to fix a small section of its Waldorf Restaurant.

The vessel was heading homeward through stormy weather on Friday, when a huge wave crashed into the ship. There were 735 passengers and 349 crew on board.

“The safety and comfort of our passengers is and will always be of paramount importance.”

The widow of one of the passengers, James Swinstead, has criticised the vessel as being ‘badly maintained’.

In response to the claims made by Swinstead’s widow, CMV said that the ship was fully compliant with strict maritime regulations.

CMV chief executive Christian Verhounig said: “Marco Polo undergoes stringent and rigorous surveys and is inspected regularly, including a recent annual dry docking survey and certification.”

“Marco Polo is a purpose-built deep sea ocean-going liner maintained and serviced in full compliance of strict British and international maritime regulations and is efficiently manned by a professional and dedicated crew.”

Verhounig added: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the passengers and their families affected during this difficult time. The safety and comfort of our passengers is and will always be of paramount importance.”

“We have been touched by the overwhelming level of support received from passengers who experienced the freak wave incident and the fulsome praise extended to the captain, his officers and hard working crew and also by many of our customers who cruise with us regularly on board the much-loved Marco Polo.”