PICK a card, any card a magician saved the day for fellow passengers on a cruise ship which was battered by a giant wave and stranded at sea.

Holidaying magician Tommy Moss, 63, of Connaught Avenue, Chingford, had no idea that his magic skills would be needed to entertain passengers and crew of the ship, Legend of the Seas, when he left Southampton.

All he foresaw was a relaxing cruise with his wife and her mother.

But when things went wrong, his services were to prove so popular that he was be called to entertain at the captain's table.

Three days into the trip, Legend of the Seas was hit by a huge wave during the night. It flooded some of the cabins.

Rough seas meant the ship could not make land in Guernsey, Portugal or France and the semi-professional magician decided to step into the breach and cheer up the despondent passengers.

Mr Moss said: "Luckily I had no idea about the wave and the flood until the next day when another passenger told me.

"I realised we were going to miss out on the excitement of the ports so I decided to raise people's spirits. I spoke to the pursar and after some discussion I was appointed as the roving magician for the boat."

The part-time magician, who works by day as a news vendor in Temple station, London, roamed the bars and reception rooms of the ship, performing close-up tricks with cards and coins to keep the stranded-at-sea cruisers in a holiday mood.

His efforts were noted by the captain, who invited him to his table to show off his sleight of hand during the evening meal.

He said: "It was a real honour to be asked to entertain at the captain's table. I spoke to him and shook his hand and the guests enjoyed the display. It was just nice to be able to do something for the passengers and crew who had missed out on so much."

As a consolation the ship called into Guernsey on the way home and the passengers were given a 50 per cent refund for their trouble.

Mr Moss performs at weddings and parties and plans to wind up his vending job and put more time into his career as a magician.