A guest sailing on P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Adventure has died while ashore at Mystery Island in Vanuatu. The incident occurred on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at the ship’s first port of call during the current sailing.
A guest from Pacific Adventure, one of three vessels in P&O Cruises Australia‘s fleet, has died while visiting Mystery Island. Few details have been released about the incident, but the cruise line has issued a statement to local media confirming the death.
“P&O Cruises Australia can confirm a guest of Pacific Adventure has tragically passed away while in port at Mystery Island, Vanuatu,” a spokesperson for the cruise line said. “We extend our deepest condolences to their loved ones and are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time.”
Pacific Adventure was visiting Mystery Island from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday, September 26, 2023. Mystery Island was the first port of call on the ship’s current voyage, an 8-night “Pacific Island Hopper” cruise that set sail from Sydney, Australia on Friday, September 22.
The ship is scheduled to visit Noumea, New Caledonia on Wednesday, before returning to Sydney on Saturday, September 30. At this time, there has been no announcement of any changes to the cruise itinerary. No details have been released about the age or gender of the guest who died, nor the circumstances of the incident or cause of death.
“As we are working with the relevant authorities and to protect the privacy of the family, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” the cruise line stated.
The local authorities have been notified and an appropriate investigation is likely to be conducted, as is standard in these types of incidents.
Pacific Adventure was constructed in 2001 as Golden Princess for Princess Cruises, and joined the P&O Cruises Australia fleet in 2021 after being refit for the new brand. The 109,000-gross ton, Grand-class ship can welcome 2,600 guests on each sailing, and is also home to approximately 1,100 international crew members.
The ship is currently homeported from Sydney, offering a range of short and long cruises to various destinations in New Zealand, Tonga, Australia, Fiji, and more depending on the sailing date and itinerary.
This latest incident follows another death at Mystery Island earlier this year when a guest sailing aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Splendor died while swimming at the popular port of call.
To protect the privacy of the guest’s family members and friends, few details were released in that incident as well, though it was said the cause of death was likely a medical emergency. It is possible that the guest had a pre-existing condition or other medical incident while swimming.
It is also interesting to note that calls to nearby Noumea, New Caledonia were temporarily adjusted earlier this year, with beach excursions cancelled due to local shark sightings and attacks.
There is no indication, however, that shark activity has been problematic near Mystery Island, or that any sort of shark attack is involved in this latest incident.
The two destinations – Noumea and Mystery Island – are just 285 miles (460 kilometers) sailing distance apart, and are often included on the same itineraries for South Pacific cruises.
Earlier this year, an unrelated incident also had Pacific Adventure in the news when a fire broke out on a passenger’s balcony in May, causing guests to be called to their muster stations for several hours. The fire was safely contained and extinguished, with no injuries reported. In total, four staterooms were damaged.
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