Ovation of the Seas will no longer call at Brisbane next week after the ship spent an extra night in Sydney to avoid Tropical Cyclone Uesi, which lashed Australia's Tasman Sea last night.
Royal Caribbean’s 4180-passenger vessel had to anchor overnight at Athol Buoy (pictured above this morning), in the middle of Sydney Harbour, as the cruise terminal was occupied by Norwegian Jewel. As a result of departing today instead of its scheduled February 13 departure, Ovation of the Seas will spend an extra day at sea when it makes its way back to Sydney after its South Pacific cruise. The eight-night cruise will now make only two stops -- at Noumea and Mystery Island.
The revision to three sea days on the way home has unfortunately meant infants younger than 12 months old cannot sail, according to the cruise line's policy, causing some passengers to miss their holiday, Cruise Critic member Kangakid posted on the AU/NZ Cruisers board.
No other Royal Caribbean itineraries have been affected by the storm this week, the cruise giant confirmed.
Earlier in the week, Voyager of the Seas had an unscheduled overnight stay in Tauranga, New Zealand, while on a South Pacific cruise but this change was not due to the approaching cyclone. A spokesperson said it was a result of the "temporary restrictions imposed by Vanuatu as a precaution to coronavirus".
Meanwhile, Azamara Journey's current New Zealand voyage has been redirected and forced to skip visits to Oban, Stewart Island, Milford Sound and the fiordlands, as well as an overnight stay planned for Hobart, Tasmania.
On the Azamara forum, Cruise Critic member oddjob16 posted: "We will be in Dunedin, NZ tomorrow and will turn north after that staying on the east side of the South Island to avoid Cyclone Uesi coming into the Tasman Sea from north east. Our new ports are Akaroa, Kaikoura and New Plymouth before heading straight for Sydney. We will arrive Sydney one day early on February 22."
Last weekend Radiance of the Seas spent the night at Sydney's OPT and Explorer Dream spent Sunday night at White Bay Cruise Terminal, while in Melbourne, Pacific Aria was unable to leave for Tasmania and other ships were delayed.
Carnival Australia does not expect Uesi to have a “significant” impact on this week's itineraries of its various cruise brands but is monitoring the situation. “The safety of guests and crew is always paramount and necessary course adjustments are being made to stay well away from Tropical Cyclone Uesi,” a spokesperson said.
The Category 3 storm formed near Vanuatu, heading for New Caledonia earlier this week before battering Lord Howe Island off the New South Wales north coast with wind gusts of up to 154km/hr on Thursday.
A low-pressure weather system associated with Uesi is moving further south today and is expected to bring thunderstorms and flooding to parts of New South Wales and Victoria over the weekend. It will be the latest instalment of wild weather for NSW as emergency services continue to work to fix damage caused by severe storms and flooding last weekend.