Update, 9 a.m. EST: Various web cams -- one on Pacific Sun itself and several around Sydney Harbour -- showed Pacific Sun departing earlier today, 20 March, as originally scheduled. P&O Australia could not be reached for comment.
(March 17, 7:34 p.m. EST) -- P&O Australia's Pacific Sun returned to Sydney on Wednesday, March 17, having cruised only nine days of its planned 14-day itinerary, reports Industry news outlet cruise-community.com (subscription required). Passengers will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit valued at 25 percent of the fare they paid. They also received $150 (Australian) onboard credit.
Pacific Sun was scheduled to sail a 14-night Fiji Adventure cruise, but departed two days late, due to an extended technical inspection. During the cruise, the ship developed engine problems and was forced to return to Sydney three days early. According to a statement from P&O Australia, posted on the Cruise Critic message boards, the line says that the engine problem is unrelated to the delay in leaving dry dock.
Cruise Critic members onboard appreciated the way P&O handled the situation. Member qld_cruiser said, "P&O did all they could for everyone…. All the kids I spoke to had a ball.
The cruise director David Pepper worked his butt off organising things to keep us all occupied." And cruiselover53 posts, "In short once everyone was told about the 100% + 25% discount, the mood changed somewhat. No complaints from me re the offer. Had a free 9 day cruise. Not to be sneezed at."
At press time, P&O Australia could not be reached for comment about whether the March 20 cruise will depart as scheduled. We'll keep you posted.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Update: P&O Australia Cruise Cut Short Due to Engine Trouble
March 20, 2010