Carnival Cruise Ship Forced to Turn Around Due to Cyclone

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Guests aboard Carnival Luminosa will not be enjoying the scheduled South Pacific itinerary planned for their current cruise, but instead will have a cruise to nowhere because of Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle. A visit to Moreton Island may be possible later in the week-long sailing, but is not yet confirmed.

Carnival Luminosa Itinerary Cancelled

Carnival Luminosa began what was to have been a 7-night roundtrip South Pacific itinerary from Brisbane on Sunday, February 5, 2023. On the itinerary were calls to Lifou Island and Noumea in New Caledonia, as well as a stop at Mystery Island, Vanuatu.

Guests onboard have been informed, however, that the planned itinerary is no longer possible.

“We had to deviate course to remain a safe distance from the area of low pressure that developed off the coast of Queensland,” the letter read. “Regrettably, given the forecasted path of the storm, we will not be able to deliver our planned South Pacific itinerary.”

Carnival Luminosa Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Guests were notified of the change on February 8, the day of the first planned port of call in New Caledonia.

“We will enjoy a few days at sea as we head back towards Brisbane. In the meantime, our team is attempting to secure a visit to Moreton Island for Friday (weather permitting),” the letter explained. “We will keep you updated regarding this plan.”

At this time, there is no change to the ship’s scheduled return to Brisbane on Sunday, February 12, by which time the storm should be well out of the region.

Compensation Provided

Because of the radical change of itinerary and the loss of all planned ports of call, Carnival is providing generous compensation to guests. All staterooms will receive a $200 (AU – $140 USD) onboard credit. Furthermore, the cruise line wants to welcome guests back for a proper sailing in the future.

“We also want you to return to experience the holiday we had intended for you,” the letter read. “So, we are extending a 50% future cruise credit for you to use towards another Carnival cruise.”

The future cruise credit (FCC) will be based on the fare paid for the impacted voyage, and can be used on any Carnival Cruise Line sailing. Some terms and conditions do apply – the FCC may not be used as a deposit nor applied to a chartered sailing, for example – and the credit must be redeemed by February 29, 2024.

Carnival Luminosa Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

“Thanks for your understanding,” the letter, signed by the ship’s master, Captain Carmelo Marino, concludes. “My team and I remain committed to ensuring the rest of your cruise is FUN and memorable.”

Carnival Luminosa is currently homeported from Brisbane, offering a range of both short and long cruises around Australia and various ports in the South Pacific.

The 92,720-gross-ton vessel will remain Down Under through mid-April, at which time she will reposition to Seattle for the Alaska sailing season. The ship can welcome 2,260 guests when booked at double occupancy, or as many as 2,826 passengers when all berths are filled.

Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle

The low pressure area off the coast of Queensland has strengthened into Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle and has a projected path between Australia and New Caledonia – exactly where Carnival Luminosa would be sailing on the original itinerary.

The storm currently has sustained winds of 68 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour), with wind gusts recorded as high as 96 mph (155 kph).


The center is located at roughly 500 miles (805 km) north and slightly east of Brisbane, moving southeast at 14 mph (23 kph). The storm is expected to continue strengthening through Friday, February 10, but will start to weaken rapidly through the weekend.

Carnival Luminosa is not the only vessel impacted by Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle. Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, also homeported from Brisbane, completely changed itinerary due to the storm’s track, sailing to Sydney and Tasmania rather than New Caledonia.

The South Pacific cyclone season will run through April 30, and guests cruising for the next few months should stay alert to storm forecasts and the potential impact tropical systems may have on their planned sailings. Cruise lines will always keep safety as their top priority, and will adjust itineraries as needed to safeguard everyone aboard.

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