With poor weather in the area producing massive waves, strong winds, and swells, Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess has been unable to dock as planned in Brisbane, Australia.
The severe weather has delayed debarkation of the ship’s current sailing by at least a full day, which will also delay the beginning of her next sailing.
Waves Keep Ship at Sea
Waves measured in excess of 20 feet (6.5 meters) have been pounding the coastline, and Brisbane is under a severe weather warning for hazardous surf and damaging wind gusts, which are approaching gale force at times.
These conditions have closed the port, preventing any vessels – including the cruise ship – from docking until the weather subsides and it is safe to approach the piers.
Coral Princess was to have finished a 12-night, roundtrip “Queensland and New South Wales Coast” itinerary on Friday, July 22, 2022, after having enjoyed visits to Sydney, Newcastle, Cairns, Port Douglas, and more. Instead, the ship has remained at sea, safely away from the battering waves.
The local station 7NEWS has reported the cruise ship is circling at low speed off the coast to remain stable and keep operations functioning until conditions improve.
Princess Cruises is also staying alert to the situation and providing updates to passengers onboard as well as those guests booked on the next sailing, which must now be shortened and adjusted.
“The Port of Brisbane is closed with the suspension of pilotage operations due to adverse weather conditions associated with the east coast low off Queensland,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.
It is not yet known when the ship may be able to safely dock, as the severe weather is predicted to last into Sunday.
“Confirmation of arrival details depends on the resumption of piloting services and the reopening of the port as conditions improve,” Princess Cruises said.
Operations on board the ship are not impacted, other than standard severe weather measures such as pool and outdoor deck closures and entertainment changes for performers’ safety. There has been no affect on hotel or food service operations.
Local weather bureaus, port officials, and cruise line authorities continue to monitor the situation and will bring the ship in to dock as soon as it is safe to do so. As in any severe weather situation, the safety of the ship’s passengers and crew is the first priority.
At this time, there have been no injuries or damage reported onboard.
What About the Next Cruise?
The Coral-class cruise ship, which first joined Princess Cruises in 2003, was scheduled to depart on her next voyage on Friday, July 22, but of course that has proven impossible. That sailing was to have been a 7-night roundtrip Queensland sailing, calling at Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas, and Willis Island.
No definitive plans have yet been announced for how the next sailing will be adjusted, because it is not confirmed when the ship will be able to dock and debark from the current sailing.
It is likely that Princess Cruises will offer partial refunds and/or onboard credit as compensation to guests for their shortened sailing, but no details have been released.
Coral Princess was the first Princess Cruises vessel to resume passenger operations in Australia, having set sail from Brisbane in mid-June for her first-ever season Down Under. The ship has not had an easy inaugural season, and was subject to media scrutiny over a high number of COVID-19 cases reported onboard earlier this month.
Coral Princess has a guest capacity of 1,970 passengers, and is reportedly sailing at full occupancy. There are also approximately 900 crew members onboard. While they may be in for a few more hours of rough weather, Cruise Hive wishes everyone aboard smooth sailing to return to port safely.