Distressed cruise passengers are in tears, with their ship broken down and drifting off Victorian coast.
The ship was on a cruise from Melbourne to New Zealand and was expected in Port Chalmers on February 13. She was then scheduled to cruise to Akaraoa, Wellington, Tauranga and finally Auckland on February 18.
This voyage marks the first return of Norwegian Cruise Line to Australian and New Zealand shores after 15 years.
A man phoning from the ship, who did not wish to be named, said "devastated" passengers aboard the ship were crying.
"It's a bloody nightmare," he said. "We're stuck in the middle of the ocean. It's scary."
A woman, who also didn't wish to be named, said her "distressed" friend had phoned to tell her about the situation this morning.
Steve T. Raney posted on Facebook:
"WE have NO engines for propulsion!!! WE are afloat in the ocean!!!"
He wrote that passengers were safe and comfortable.
A spokeswoman for operator Norwegian Cruise Lines said the ship's azipod propulsion system had experienced a technical malfunction in the early hours of Friday.
"The ship has full power and all on board services are fully operational," she said.
"All guest amenities remain open and available and the weather conditions are favourable.
"The ship is in no danger whatsoever and the comfort and safety of our guests and crew are unaffected by this situation."
The spokeswoman said authorities had been notified and arrangements have been made to tow the ship to shore for repair.
She said all guests would get a full refund, as well as a 50 per cent future cruise credit.
"Norwegian Cruise Line sincerely extends its deepest apologies to guests for the inconveniences that they have encountered," she said.
The Australia Maritime Safety Authority is monitoring the ship, which is about 20 kilometres south of Inverloch.
"Diesel generators on board are working, meaning the ship has power to its passenger facilities and bow thrusters, but the main propulsion engines are not working," a spokesman said.
"This means the master has some limited ability to manoeuvre the ship, but will need the assistance of tugs to reach port."
For reports on other Norwegian Star ship accidents see at CruiseMinus.com