The Carnival Spirit is docking in Sydney after being forced to endure 24 hours off the coast of Sydney when heavy seas closed the harbour yesterday.
Around 2500 passengers had an unexpected extra 24 hours aboard in seas up to 15 metres high after the Sydney Harbour captain made a rare move to close all ports between Newcastle and Wollongong to commercial shipping amid fears that even a ship as large as the 86,000 tonne Carnival Spirit could end up surfing the 8-metre waves rolling through the heads.
The harbour reopened this morning and ferry services between Manly and Circular Quay resumed. Meanwhile, the Harbour Pilot went out and boarded the cruise ship, which docked just before 10am.
Carnival Spirit was returning from a 12-night cruise to New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji with 2500 guests.
Carnival Cruise Line’s Vice President Australia Jennifer Vandekreeke thanked the passengers for their “good cheer and understanding”.
Weather conditions eased offshore overnight and Carnival Cruises says guests were as comfortable as possible and the ship’s crew provided a full program of onboard activities and entertainment.
Yesterday, one of the passengers posted a video of the entertainment the huge seas provided.
The ship’s next cruise – a seven-night voyage to Noumea and Isle of Pines – will embark later today for the ship’s departure at 7pm. Boarding is expected at 2.30pm.
The company is offering guests refunds and onboard credits for anyone who still goes on the trip, as well as the option to cancel with a full refund.
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