Passengers launch class action over "cruise from hell"
Passengers who were aboard a cruise ship that sailed into the path of a cyclone have launched a class action seeking damages and a refund.
P&O's Pacific Aria left Brisbane for a journey through the South Pacific but encountered severe weather spinning off category five cyclone Donna in May 2017, according to legal documents filed in the Federal Court.
The passengers say the journey was extremely rough, no activities were open aboard the ship and they were not given the option to delay or cancel their holiday.
Carter Capner Law filed the claim against P&O's parent company Carnival PLC last week.
The law firm's director, Peter Carter, claimed a cyclone warning was issued for Vanuatu and New Caledonia's capital Noumea before the ship's departure but it sailed anyway.
"This was truly a cruise from hell, with many passengers so scared they confined themselves to their cabin," Mr Carter said in a statement on Wednesday.
He said passengers reported crockery and meals thrown off restaurant tables, bottles of wine and spirits falling off shelves, seawater sloshing down corridors and into some cabins, and the ship listing for about an hour.
Mr Carter said the conditions were so bad several passengers left the ship in Noumea and water was coming over both sides of the vessel onto decks as the vessel left the city.
The lead applicant claims she feared for her own safety and found the experience frightening.
The vessel did not stop at the intended ports of Lifou in New Caledonia and Port Vila in Vanuatu.
Passengers are seeking a refund for their fares in addition to damages for disappointment, discomfort, frustration and distress.
A P&O spokeswoman told AAP that as the matter was before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment.