(Updated: February 26, 2.45 p.m. AEST) -- At least six Australian cruise ships and two on world cruises have been forced to change paths to steer clear of Cyclone Oma, which has now been downgraded to a tropical low and is heading south. So far, one cruise has been cancelled and others will return home late due to the rough seas.
Cyclone Oma is affecting the itineraries of ships from P&O, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line. Other lines have been contacted for information on itinerary changes.
- Pacific Dawn: Departed Noumea on Friday and sailed towards Brisbane for a Tuesday arrival. The scheduled next sailing, a three-night cruise which was scheduled to depart Saturday, 23 February, was cancelled. Pacific Dawn will leave Brisbane today for a four-night cruise to Airlie Beach. The line will be closely watching conditions which are expected to improve.
- Pacific Explorer: Departed from Sydney on Thursday, has sailed south to the NSW Sapphire Coast instead of the scheduled four-night cruise north to Moreton Island. Pacific Explorer left Sydney yesterday for a seven-night cruise to Mooloolaba, Gladstone and Moreton Island however the line will be closely watching conditions and assessing each destination in what it expects will be improving conditions.
- Sea Princess: Return to Brisbane has been delayed until 8 a.m - 11 a.m on Wednesday, 27 February, ahead of the ship departing from Brisbane at noon that day.
- Sun Princess: Set sail from Sydney on Saturday, 23 February, on a Queensland coastal itinerary, and will no longer call at Brisbane on Monday 25 February. Instead the ship will sail directly to Airlie Beach, arriving as scheduled at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, 27 February.
- Carnival Spirit: Departing Sydney on Saturday, 23 February, will head south to Phillip Island instead of north to Moreton Island.
- Explorer of the Seas: No longer docking in Noumea today due to inclement weather. Explorer of the Seas will have a day at sea instead.
- P&O Cruises World Cruising’s Arcadia: Visiting Australia on a world cruise, Arcadia sailed from Sydney and made its way direct to Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, skipping calls to Brisbane, Airlie Beach and Yorkeys Knob (Cairns). The onward itinerary from PNG is unchanged.
- CMV's Columbus: Also on a world cruise, Columbus stayed an extra night in Sydney on Sunday, February 25, and sailed straight to Yorkeys Knob (Cairns) on Monday, skipping a call at Hamilton Island.
In a statement, parent company Carnival Australia said it would continue to make safety the top consideration in operational decisions.
“Queensland is one of Australia’s fastest growing cruise markets with more destinations than any other state, so it is no surprise that a number of ships would need to respond to this weather system,” said Sture Myrmell, President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia.
Cruises will continue to be reviewed by local lines. Cruise Critic will update information as new reports become available.