After being stranded outside Sydney Harbour battling seasickness, tilting floors and crashing waves, the majority of the 2,500 Carnival Spirit passengers couldn’t wait to get off.
But the Eggersdorf family, waiting patiently at the dock on Wednesday, couldn’t wait to get on.
“We were a bit worried that we wouldn’t be able to leave today but then we got the text to go,” said father Nathan who with his two children, wife and mother were poised to head to New Caledonia.
Scheduled to dock in Sydney’s Circular Quay on Tuesday, the cruise ship was stuck outside the harbour after wild weather forced the harbour port to be shut down.
The conditions were too dangerous to send a pilot to guide the ship in, so the 293-metre ocean liner was left on its own against lashing nine-metre swells.
Passenger Dane Portelli said being stuck on a rocking ship out beyond the heads had most passengers feeling “down in the dumps”.
“We were locked in our cabins and we couldn’t go up to the top decks … everywhere you go there were just big waves crashing all over the boat,” he said, adding that one level of the ship flooded.
Items were thrown around, glassware was smashed, people lost their balance and the contents of their stomachs.
“It was just the rough winds and the waves, it was freaky,” said passenger Eleanor Pittana who felt “fantastic” upon docking in Sydney with her husband Ernie.
The couple and many other passengers praised the cruise staff and crew who kept the dining galley and common rooms open throughout the ordeal.
Passengers also received $50 onboard credit as compensation.
Captain Adriano Binacchi told media the Carnival Spirit was “built for all kinds of weather”.