Bad Weather Jolts Pacific Sun, Injures Passengers

July 31, 2008

Severe weather conditions hit P&O Cruises Australia's Pacific Sun in New Zealand Wednesday, causing the ship to roll and leaving more than 40 people in need of medical assistance.

According to a statement on the cruise line's Web site, the 47,262-ton, 1,486-passenger (double occupancy) ship was about 600 kilometres north of Auckland when it was affected by unexpected 7-metre swells (about 23 feet) and 50-knot winds. Following a sudden movement, passengers suffered what P&O Australia is describing as "minor injuries," including cuts, bruises and sprains.

Three passengers remain under medical supervision today and they are in a stable and comfortable condition. A P&O spokesman tells us that media reports of a passenger death are false.

The ship is carrying 1,732 passengers and 671 crew on an eight-day cruise in the South Pacific.

With an improvement in the weather, Pacific Sun is currently bound for Auckland. It had been due to return to the port today but is now due in on Friday afternoon. P&O Australia has yet to release an updated itinerary for the next sailing, or information on how passengers on that cruise will be compensated due to the shortened cruise.

Cruise Critic members have been following the ship's progress back to Auckland via its Web cam. It still looks like a rough ride ahead....

Stay tuned.

--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor