P&O Australia Cruise Canceled on Short Notice

November 10, 2009
P&O Australia Cruise Ship Pacific Sun

(7:02 p.m. EST) -- Hundreds of Australian holidaymakers have been left with no vacation plans, as P&O Australia announced today that the 47,262-ton, 1,486-passenger Pacific Sun's November 14 cruise has been canceled, due to a delay during the ship's dry dock.

Passengers on the cruise will receive a refund of their cruise payment, as well as a credit -- valued at 50 percent of the price of the cruise -- that can be used toward a future P&O cruise. The cruise line is contacting all affected passengers, but booked guests can also call 1-800-129-961 (in Australia) for more information.

Cruise Critic member Bec84 was booked on the canceled sailing and says that "the worst part is that we're trying to rebook, and the closest available cruise isn't till March. And [it] costs more than the current one, so we don't actually gain anything out of it, as the extra credit is eaten up by the increased fare."

The ship is currently in dry dock in Brisbane, Australia, undergoing a planned refurbishment and maintenance. However, during this period, workers determined a new part was needed for the ship's propulsion system. The ship cannot leave dry dock until the piece is custom made and replaced, causing a slight delay and the unavoidable cancellation of the upcoming sailing.

Routine dry docks happen all the time without incident, but occasionally a problem arises. Earlier this year, for example, Regent Seven Seas had to reschedule Seven Seas Navigator's dry dock, forcing the cruise line to cancel a month and a half of late-fall sailings.

In a company statement, Ann Sherry -- CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises -- apologized to passengers, saying "we fully understand their disappointment and appreciate the inconvenience caused by the cancellation."

Pacific Sun's November 21 sailing is scheduled to depart Brisbane as planned. It shares the same itinerary as the canceled cruise, a seven-night sailing, roundtrip from Brisbane, calling in Noumea, New Caledonia; Lifou, Loyalty Islands; and Vila, Vanuatu.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor