Norwegian Star: Liner docks in Melbourne, passengers break their silence

Edward Benton hopes to continue on the Norwegian Star.  Photo: Deborah Gough

Edward Benton hopes to continue on the Norwegian Star. Photo: Deborah Gough

Passengers have begun disembarking the crippled Norwegian Star cruise ship after it was dragged by tug boats into Melbourne's Station Pier in early Sunday morning.

Passengers have been told it will be up to five days before the ship could be repaired.

US couple couple Trevor and Ashley Wagner are cutting their losses and booked a flight back home on Sunday morning.

The Norwegian Star moored next to the Spirit of Tasmania. Photo: Deborah Gough

The Norwegian Star moored next to the Spirit of Tasmania. Photo: Deborah Gough

"It wasn't as desperate as some people were saying but it was very disappointing," Ms Wagner said.

"We figured we would save the vacation time and take the trip again another time."

Mr Wagner said the Norwegian Star operator had offered flights to New Zealand but that was not the dream trip they had planned.

They will rebook the trip another time, he said.

Ashley and Trevor Wagner at Station Pier, Port Melbourne.  Photo: Deborah Gough

Ashley and Trevor Wagner at Station Pier, Port Melbourne. Photo: Deborah Gough

"We were two days at sea and were supposed to see New Zealand," Mr Wagner said. "We are cutting and running." 

Edward Benton, of Dallas in the United States, said the staff were helpful and friendly to passengers during the trip in which the cruise liner was adrift for two days in the Tasman Sea.

"It was great other than I am not going to see New Zealand," Mr Benton said.

Photo: Deborah Gough

Photo: Deborah Gough

He said he and his travelling group would go to the Queen Victoria Market and Melbourne Zoo on Sunday and wait to see if the ship could be fixed.

"Who knows after that?" he said.

He said staff had told passengers they would get a full refund and 50 per cent off their next cruise. Passengers have also been offered $350 for a flight to New Zealand

"That's if you wanted to go with them again," he said. "If the ship moves I am going with the ship, if not, I am going to fly to New Zealand."

Mr Benton said he had not seen any evidence of the passengers chanting for "answers" as reported earlier.

Mike Clark, of Fort Worth Texas, part of the same group of travellers as Mr Benton, said while he could fly to New Zealand he had already missed out on a trip to Milford Sound in New Zealand, after the cruise company cancelled that destination off the itinerary.

The ship was 70 nautical miles out at sea when trouble with the propellers stopped the ship from moving, Mr Clark said.

He said he felt lucky that the ship was not heavily buffeted by waves.

Retiree Ron Sullivan, of Christchurch in New Zealand (above), was quietly happy to spend more time in Melbourne.

"I live in New Zealand and I am quite happy to stay four or five days in Melbourne," he said. "I want to go to the races if I can.

"The service was fantastic on the ship."

Mr Sullivan said he had been on six or seven cruises and would again.

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