Two cruise-ship passengers have been killed after a 26-foot wave smashed into the ship off the coast of France.

A Greek coast guard statement says another six people suffered minor injuries on board the Cypriot-owned Louis Majesty.

It says the accident occurred near the French Mediterranean port of Marseilles, as the ship was sailing from Barcelona to Genoa in Italy with 1,350 passengers and 580 crew.

The victims have been identified only as a German and an Italian man.

Louis Cruise Lines spokesman Michael Maratheftis said the ship was hit by three "abnormally high" waves up to 26ft high that broke glass windshields in the forward section.

The cruise ship was safely heading back to Barcelona.

Operated by Louis Cruise Lines, the 18-year-old Louis Majesty sailed for years as Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Majesty.

It left the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet in October.

Louis is a major player in Mediterranean cruises, particularly in the Greek Isles and Eastern Mediterranean, where it operates a number of ships.

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