'A rough week': Family's wild ride on P&O cruise captured during Cyclone Oma


A pregnant mum’s family holiday took a wild turn as their cruise ship was lashed by wild weather caused by Cyclone Oma.

Nakayla Murnane boarded the P&O Pacific Dawn ship with her two children last Saturday and was meant to dock at Brisbane tomorrow.

But wild weather means passengers will not be able to get off the ship until at least Tuesday.

The Bundaberg mum captured video of rocky seas causing waves to form in the ship’s pool.

The ship has been taking refuge at Noumea in New Caledonia and Ms Murnane said a number of people were leaving with their suitcases to catch a plane home instead.

“It’s been a rough week with two kids and I’m currently 22 weeks pregnant,” she told Yahoo7 News on Friday.

“The first three days there were a lot of sick people and a few injuries. Last night [Thursday] were the calmest waters we’ve had all cruise, but we are stuck beside the [New Caledonia] coast to stay out of rough seas.”

The pool on the P&O cruise was closed as wild weather lashed the ship. Source: Nakayla Murnane

Ms Murnane said most decks have been closed off to passengers due to the rough conditions.

“The poor kids haven’t been able to use the slides, water park or pool,” she said.

P&O has offered free internet on the ship so passengers can contact family and insurance companies, according to Ms Murnane.

They have also extended drink packages free of charge and Ms Murnane said they would try and cover costs that insurance companies could not.

Carnival Australia told Yahoo7 News in a statement the safety of passengers was paramount.

Nakayla Murnane says the ship won’t dock in Brisbane until at least Tuesday. Source: Nakayla Murnane

It has made itinerary and navigational changes so ships from P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line remain clear of the wild weather.

“The latest forecasts downgrading Cyclone Oma to a category one weather system are encouraging but it could again strengthen and we will continue to be vigilant keeping a watchful eye on it to keep our ships well away,” Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia president Sture Myrmell said.

Cyclone creating high winds and dangerous surf conditions

A cyclone watch for Queensland’s southern coast has been cancelled but category one Oma is still making its presence felt as it sits offshore.

Forecasters say the weather system will continue to bring high winds and dangerous surf conditions to parts of the Queensland and northern NSW coast in coming days.

Early on Friday, Oma was about 700km east, northeast of Brisbane.

A man struggles to stay on his feet while taking a photograph at the beach on the Gold Coast. Source: AAP

It’s slowly moving south and is expected to re-intensify to a category two storm later in the day, before making a u-turn on Saturday and heading north again.

People are being warned against beach activities including boating, fishing, swimming and surfing as the swell picks up and winds intensify.

“There are going to be hazardous conditions on our surf and there could be waves up to seven metres over the course of the weekend, and in some instances it may be higher,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Friday.

“We don’t want to put other people’s lives at risk to save you so please keep off our beaches this weekend.”

A large wave crashes against rocks at the Southport seaway on the Gold Coast. Source: AAP

The cyclone has twice the diameter of Cyclone Debbie, but is notably less intense, Bureau of Meteorology state manager Bruce Gunn said.

“We’re expecting it to continue moving to the south-southwest for the next 24 to 36 hours and regain it’s category two intensity,” he said.

Some beaches will be closed as dangerous winds, surf and abnormally high tides continue into the weekend from about Fraser Island down to the NSW border.

Significant erosion to the coastline is being forecast.

The same conditions are expected as far south as Yamba in northern NSW.

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