P&O Pacific Aria Class Action

The P&O Pacific Aria Class Action has been filed on behalf of passengers on P&O’s Pacific Aria that sailed from Brisbane to Noumea into the path of a Category 5 cyclone in May, 2017 before returning in cyclonic weather to Brisbane without completing the planned voyage.


Carter Capner Law initiated the P&O Pacific Aria Class Action on behalf of cruise ship passengers who boarded the Pacific Aria on 5 May 2017 in Brisbane for a 7 night South-Pacific cruise, only to set sail into adverse weather and heavy seas associated with cyclone Donna.

Many passengers were confined to their cabins for the majority of the trip while the ship navigated heavy seas, strong winds, closed ports and crashing waves. The claim seeks to recover damages for disappointment and distress and a refund of the cruise fare paid by each passenger and for those who travelled to join the ship in Brisbane from afar, their travel costs.


Disappointment damages have been recognised in Australia for more than 30 years.

In 1993 the High Court awarded damages of $5,000 to Joan Dillon who was evacuated from the "Mikhail Lermontov", which in February 1986 had struck rocks off the north-eastern tip of the South Island of New Zealand and sank.

The accident occurred on the 7th day of Mrs Dillon’s 9-day cruise from Sydney. The passenger lost her possessions and her relaxing cruise holiday was ruined.

Mrs Dillon sued the cruise line with 122 other passengers. The High Court ruled that where a service provider is shown expressly or impliedly to have agreed to provide pleasure, entertainment or relaxation (or to prevent molestation or vexation), a breach on its part makes it liable for the customer’s resulting “disappointment, distress, upset and frustration caused by the unfulfilled promise of a happy, joyous, peaceful and contented holiday”.

Mrs Dillon and her fellow passengers were awarded $5,000 each. In another case involving European rive cruises in 2011, 1,300 passengers have been awarded $6,000-$12,000 on a case-by-case basis after evaluating the extent to which each passenger’s holiday enjoyment was disrupted by itinerary changes caused by river flooding.

The court also ordered refunds of between 40% – 90% of the fare paid by each passenger and a refund of their travel costs to the port of embarkation.

The P&O Pacific Aria Class Action seeks disappointment damages of $12,000 per passenger; a refund of fares paid; and each passenger's expenses including travel costs to and from Brisbane.

How it works

Step 1.
Am I a Group Member?

If you wish, you may register your details as a class member. Please note, registration is optional and you do not have to register to remain a class member. Unless you opt-out, you will be entitled to share in the benefit of any judgment if the class action is successful. Registration allows you to be more easily updated about the process of the class action and to participate in any negotiated settlement. If you wish to register, all you need to do is click REGISTER above and follow the prompts. You will receive your user details for access. Registration costs you nothing.

Step 2.
Should I register?

You may REGISTER your details. This is optional. Unless you opt out, you remain a class member and entitled to share in the benefit of any judgment if the class action is successful. Registration allows you to be more easily updated about the process of the class action and to participate in any negotiated settlement. Registration costs you nothing.

Step 3.
What next?

We will post regular updates. Registered Group Members can upload data and cruise records. We will also contact each Registered Group Member about any information we need to collect. Until then, as long as we have your contact information, there is nothing further we need.


Please register your interest to upload your photos and/or videos. If you already have an approved account, please go to your files page to upload.

Yes! Please submit your details and select ‘travelling as part of a group’.  Each passenger in the group can upload the same payment receipt and comment re the amount you contributed. If you have a bank statement showing payment, please upload that too.

If you are an adult now, register your details. If still a child, ask the adult with whom you were travelling to register for you.  They will need to select that they were travelling with a child.

Yes. Please upload evidence of your airline flight, expenses etc.

Please provide details but note this claim will not yield any damages for the injury. It is for disappointment, vexation, distress and inconvenience.

A parent or child of the deceased passenger (or the executor of their estate) should register their details.

Yes. Please upload any email correspondence and documents relating to the credit or cash payment.

Yes. Please include all your flight details and costs of your flight back from Noumea.

Please complete as much as you can on the form. If you do not know an answer or can’t remember, please write “don’t know” or “can’t remember”.

Registration means that you are kept up-to-date with all information in the class action, and it also means that you are considered in any out-of-Court settlement or negotiation. It gives us a more certain number of people to consider, as opposed to class of people that may fluctuate. 


Opting out means you are no longer part of the class action and will not receive any part of any settlement or Court-ordered judgment.

Yes. We would like every person (including children and dependants) who were ON the cruise to register individually.


4 May 2017

Cyclone Donna became a Category 3 Cyclone.

5 May 2017

Pacific Aria departed Brisbane.

6 May 2017

Cyclone Donna became a Category 4 Cyclone.

7 May 2017

Pacific Aria made port in Noumea and remained there overnight.

8 May 2017

Cyclone Donna became a Category 5 Cyclone.

Pacific Aria left Noumea for Brisbane.

9 May 2017

Cyclone Donna reduced to a Category 4 Cyclone.

10 May 2017

Cyclone Donna reduced to a Category 1 Cyclone.

12 May 2017

Pacific Aria arrived back in Brisbane.

From the media

14 May

2GB Syndey - ‘Are you serious?’: Cruise company cops legal action over bad weather

Full Article

13 May

Australasian Lawyer – 2017 Pacific Aria passengers file class action for ‘cruise from hell’ experience

Full Article

12 May

cruisepassenger.com.au – Serious weather events could cause more cruise class actions

Full Article

10 May

9news.com.au – Class action lawsuit over cyclone-hit cruise

Full Article

10 May

news.com.au – Class action launched over cruise that steered into category 5 cyclone

Full Article

09 May

ABC News Article - Cyclone Donna: Schools Closed, flights cancelled as category four storm eyes New Caledonia

Full Article

08 May

NZ Herald News Article - Tropical Cyclone Donna becomes Category 5 storm, worst May storm on record in South Pacific

Full Article

04 May

AAP News Article - Category three Cyclone Donna bears down on Vanuatu

Full Article