More Changes for Radically Altered P&O Cruise

Pacific Adventure is having more changes on an already changed itinerary. What does this mean for the passengers onboard?

P&O Australia’s Pacific Adventure has been having a rough time with her current sailing, and more itinerary changes are in store for the vessel due to rough weather.

The ship’s planned New Zealand itinerary has already had to be scrubbed due to biosecurity and hull cleaning for local environmental regulations, and now the replacement itinerary must also be changed due to bad weather.

Pacific Adventure Itinerary Changed – Again

Pacific Adventure was originally planned to be sailing a 13-night “Kiwi Adventure” itinerary that departed from Sydney, Australia on Monday, November 20. The ship was going to circumnavigate New Zealand, with fantastic ports of call in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and other top destinations.

That itinerary was dramatically changed shortly after the cruise began, however, when the ship was denied entry to New Zealand due to a conflict with New Zealand’s biosecurity requirements.

Urgent hull cleaning would have been necessary for the ship to pass inspection but poor weather hampered those efforts and the itinerary was changed to focus on Australian ports instead.

Now, the ship is unable to make one of those replacement ports – Port Arthur on Thursday, November 30 – as continued bad weather has made conditions unsafe for the ship to dock.

Pacific Adventure Cruise Ship
Pacific Adventure Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: HDC Creative)

According to Pulse Hobart, the cruise line did arrange for shuttle buses from Hobart to Port Arthur so guests could still explore the region if desired. The two destinations are 94 kilometers (59 miles) drive distance apart, but the lengthy drive did limit the time guests can visit.

While the ship was scheduled to be in Port Arthur, winds were recorded as high as 26 kilometers per hour (16 miles per hour). While this may not be too breezy, the wind direction and surf conditions can also impact whether or not a ship can safely dock, and the cancellation was made in the best interests of guests’ safety and comfort.

The ship has now departed Hobart and is en route to Eden, Australia to visit on December 2. The radically altered cruise is set to end back in Sydney on Sunday, December 3.

Compensation Offered

Guests were already offered a total of 50% future cruise credit (based on cruise fare paid), and all pre-booked P&O shore tours have been refunded as onboard credit. A $300 onboard credit was also given to each guest as compensation for the dramatic changes and disappointment.

Because of the continued alterations, P&O Cruises has reportedly converted the 50% future cruise credit to a cash refund after feedback from guests.

We “understand not all of them wish to cruise with us again” the cruise line stated. “We apologise for the change in itinerary, and thank our guests for their patience and understanding.”

The 108,865-gross-ton Pacific Adventure can welcome 2,600 guests per sailing, and is also home to approximately 1,100 crew members.

Why Was the Itinerary Changed?

The original reason for the dramatic change was due to New Zealand’s rigorous environmental regulations. These restrictions are intended to ensure that now foreign species are introduced into the region’s delicate ecosystems and habitats.

“We were required by New Zealand authorities to undertake a hull clean to remove a recently discovered, high-risk species before we could enter New Zealand,” guests were notified.

Pacific Encounter Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: James Morgan Photographic Consultancy

“The weather has not aligned with the predicted forecast and conditions dramatically changed upon the divers entering the water. Similar weather conditions are also forecast for the coming days making the possibility of further cleaning very remote. As a result, we have not been able to safely complete the required additional cleaning of the ship’s hull.”

Pacific Adventure is not the only ship to have been impacted by these strict environmental regulations. Viking Orion and Regent Seven Seas Explorer have faced similar denials, as have Carnival Splendor and Coral Princess. Pacific Adventure was also impacted by the same restrictions in early 2023.

In some cases, cleaning has been able to be successfully completed so ships could continue on their New Zealand visits with only moderate disruption, but in other cases, multiple ports of call have needed to be cancelled and itineraries restructured.

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