Australian ship takes passengers on a 'cruise to nowhere' after cyclone ravages port city

Very few cruise ships are exactly alike: some of them have themes, others cater to specific age groups, and a few feature casinos or waterslides or go-kart tracks.

One thing they have in common, though, is that all of them are headed to a specific destination or a port of call.

Well, almost all of them.

Passengers aboard the P&O cruise liner Pacific Dawn were gearing up to depart from Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, when their captain informed them that they wouldn’t be making it to their only port of call in Airlie Beach on Thursday due to inclement weather caused by Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Captain Alan Dockeray told the crew and its 1,946 passengers that, instead, they’d be sailing away on “cruise to nowhere,” reports The Telegraph.


“We may have to amend our course further, however this is our planned schedule,” Dockeray told the passengers, who had just been notified that they’d merely be sailing in a huge loop and returning to Brisbane.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie — first declared a Category 4 cyclone with winds of up to 160 miles per hour — initially touched down in northern Queensland on Tuesday, battering the coast and leaving 60,000 homes without power, reports the Associated Press.

Since moving inland Wednesday, Debbie has been downgraded to a tropical low, but conditions still weren’t favorable enough for incoming cruise liners like the P&O Pacific Dawn.

According to Dockeray, the ship’s crew tried to make arrangements to sail elsewhere, like visiting Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, but rough waters caused by Debbie wouldn’t permit it.

The crew was also unable to organize an extra shore day in Brisbane, reports The Telegraph.

“In the interests of passenger safety and comfort, Pacific Dawn sailed south, south east on departure from Brisbane seeking more favorable conditions to enable passengers to enjoy the ship’s attractions, including dining and entertainment opportunities more fully,” said a spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines, the company that owns P&O, in a statement.


“Our thoughts are with the people of Airlie Beach and other Queensland communities hit by this extreme weather system,” the company added.

A spokesman for P&O Cruises Australia confirmed to Fox News that the Pacific Dawn is due back in Brisbane on April 1, and that "passengers have been very understanding" of the situation.

The Telegraph adds that another cruise liner from Azamara Club Cruises was redirected to Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast instead of traveling north to planned ports in Townsville and Cairns.