Princess cancels Sea Princess’ New Zealand sailing

They must be hoping it will “come back new” – the stricken Sea Princess has cancelled another cruise as it sits in drydock in Sydney with serious engine problems.

Last week, Princess Cruises told passengers from Queensland they would be flown to Sydney to board the four-star vessel for a trip to New Zealand.

But yesterday, as some turned up at Brisbane Airport, they were told “technical issues” had beaten them again. It is believed repair work has been underway on the crankshaft on one of the ship’s four engines – the crankshaft is responsible for the engine’s rotation motion.

In Fremantle earlier this month a separate issue was said to be found on the propeller shaft bearing and the current drydock allows the line to repair both issues.

The Brisbane Courier Mail newspaper claimed the ship was “fast gaining a reputation as the Fawlty Towers of the sea”.

A spokesman for Carnival Australia, which owns Princess Cruises which sails under the slogan “come back new”, said all guests would receive a full refund of their cruise fare, air costs, taxes, fees and port expenses.

“Work has continued on Sea Princess’ complex repair project in dry dock at Garden Island in Sydney. The work has proved to be more complicated than originally thought with some significant delays in its progress over recent days,” Princess said in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Princess Cruises has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel Sea Princess’ New Zealand cruise. The decision was made with the deepest regret and we of course share the profound disappointment of our guests.

“We are extremely sorry that their cruise vacation has been affected in this way. We apologise to our guests for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience and understanding during this difficult time. Our Care teams are assisting passengers as fully as possible.”

The spokesperson told Cruise Passenger that the line is confident the ship will be ready to depart on her next cruise – a 14-day New Zealand cruise departing from Brisbane on 13 October.

Meanwhile, The Courier Mail quoted Jessica and Matt Adams, part of a group of 11 due to set sail on Sea Princess yesterday, as saying: “We weren’t told anything till Friday, and then we were advised we’d have to fly to Sydney to board and would not go to Auckland,” she said.

“That was bad enough, but to be sitting at the airport and then to be told the cruise was cancelled — that was horrible.”

At a recent conference, Princess Cruises officials told Cruise Passenger the engine issues were very rare and required spare parts to be flown in from overseas.