Updated, 9 May, 12:59 p.m. -- Princess Cruises' Sun Princess has also altered its route to avoid the high winds and heavy seas caused by Tropical Cyclone Donna. The 2000-passenger ship will miss planned calls to the Isle of Pines tomorrow and to Mystery Island on Thursday, 11 May, replacing them with Luganville on Thursday.
Pacific Jewel, which departed Sydney today and is due to arrive in Isle of Pines on Friday, has not made any changes. A P&O Cruises spokesperson told Cruise Critic: "We continue to closely monitor Cyclone Donna. The cyclone is moving away to the south and we don't anticipate an impact on Pacific Jewel's itinerary based on current indications."
(8 p.m. AEST) -- P&O’s Pacific Aria has been forced to skip two ports of call due to Cyclone Donna. The ship arrived in Noumea, New Caledonia yesterday (7 May) but had to stay overnight due to the dangerous storm heading for Vanuatu and the Loyalty Islands. According to Cruise Critic members onboard the ship, they are currently sailing back to Brisbane, Australia, without visiting Lifou or Port Vila, the only other scheduled ports on the seven-night 'Pacific Island Hopper' itinerary.
The Category 5 cyclone, with winds estimated at 300 kilometres per hour, has been described as the strongest May cyclone to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere. According to the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards department, Cyclone Donna is projected to make landfall on Tuesday, May 9. In New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands, Lifou and Ouvéa are on level 2 cyclonic alert, with a level 1 cyclone alert for the rest of the country.
Donna is the third late-season cyclone to hit the Pacific, after Debbie and Cook swept through Australia and New Zealand in recent weeks. Another storm east of Fiji is likely to be upgraded to Cyclone Ella this afternoon. For more information, read Cyclone Season Cruising in Australia and the South Pacific: What You Need to Know .
We will provide further details when available.
--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor