28 Nov 2023

Passengers unhappy as P&O cruise ship Pacific Adventure redirected from New Zealand to Australia

8:54 pm on 28 November 2023

By Eliza Kloser

P&O's cruise ship Pacific Adventure moored off Lifou Island, New Caledonia during a cruise in June 2023.

P&O's cruise ship Pacific Adventure moored off Lifou Island, New Caledonia during a cruise in June 2023 (file picture). Photo: CC 4.0 BY-SA / John P Darcy

They should have been taking in the sights in Wellington and other gems in New Zealand, but thousands of cruise ship passengers have instead found themselves in Hobart - and were less than impressed.

P&O's cruise ship Pacific Adventure was scheduled for a 13-day "Kiwi adventure" but was diverted to Tasmania after bad weather prevented the hull being cleaned.

New Zealand authorities said the dirty hull was a biosecurity risk.

Many left the cruise in Hobart on Tuesday with suitcases in hand.

One passenger said she was so disappointed she was booking a flight back home to Melbourne.

"It's not what I paid for. I'm a casual worker, I feel like they are just taking all my money and so I just wanted to go home," Kellie Monger said.

Another passenger said morale on the ship was very low after the announcement.

"There was a lot of anger, staff getting abused, people wanting to get off the ship, which was impossible," Gillian told ABC Mornings.

One couple said they had to cancel their "dream wedding" that they had planned at Hobbiton, a tourist attraction location used for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.

P&O offered disgruntled passengers a 50 percent reimbursement in cash for the inconvenience.

But passenger Helenah Mac said she was more angry about not getting back the annual leave she took for the cruise.

"I'm absolutely livid, what they're tried to do is give us a token of 50 percent and that was after us protesting."

"I don't think anyone will go cruising for a long, long time."

Workers directing people off the ship were shouting directions to the MONA ferry, but the Museum of Old and New Art is closed on Tuesdays.

Access to another popular Hobart tourist destination, kunanyi/Mount Wellington, was also more difficult, with Pinnacle Road closed to vehicles for maintenance.

A P&O spokesperson said passengers were told before they embarked that it was a possibility New Zealand authorities would not let the ship into New Zealand waters.

The spokesperson said the ship would leave Hobart Wednesday night and head to Port Arthur for a day before moving on to Eden on the NSW Coast on Saturday.

- This story was first published by theABC.