Viking Cruises is expected to compensate hundreds of passengers on the 930-guest capacity Orion cruise vessel after cruisers were compelled to stay on the vessel and miss several stops as relevant officials blocked port access owing to unforeseen marine growth on the hull.
On Wednesday, the Viking Orion reportedly docked in Sydney, the final destination on a 15-day, a 9-stop cruise of Australia and New Zealand.
But plans soon went awry after officials from New Zealand asked the vessel to leave the nation’s waters part way via its cruise to find tiny amounts of biofuel like plants, small animals, and algae that grow on a ship’s hull.
Steaming directly to the port of Adelaide and bypassing some of the planned stops in Tasmania and the south island of New Zealand, officials stopped the vessel about 12 nm out to the sea while expert divers cleared its hull.
The four-year-old luxury ship completed its journey as planned, with stops in Sydney and Melbourne.
Stranded on board for about eight days, Julie Reby Waas, a Miami-based lawyer, mentioned that missing scheduled stops such as Tasmania had been “enormously disappointing” but wouldn’t dissuade her from cruising once again.
Viking has confirmed to Reuters that each guest would receive a voucher equivalent to what they had paid for use on future voyages.
Tickets for a 15-day Auckland–to-Sydney cruise setting sail on Jan 10 reportedly range from A$8,995 to A$29,995 on the official Viking website.
Viking’s Orion is the second cruise vessel to fall afoul of relevant New Zealand officials over the past month. New Zealand fisheries officials paused the cruise vessel dubbed Coral Princess entering the waters of the country in December on finding some snails on the hull.
References: CNN Travel, Pehal News