After 60 of the 1,500 people onboard the P&O Pacific Eden were struck down with gastroenteritis, angry cruise passengers described the vessel as ‘worse than a one-star hotel’.

Passengers aboard the luxury cruise liner that docked on Monday in Sydney have labelled the ship a “floating disaster” plagued by a nasty stomach bug.

There are reports that at least 60 of the 1,500 people onboard Pacific Eden were struck down with gastroenteritis as the ship travelled from Sydney to Cairns and back over Christmas.

P&O said it had been able to successfully contain the virus.

One passenger, Cherie Butcherine, said the ship was “worse than a one-star hotel”, and complained of mould, leaks, flooding and a critical shortage of toilet paper.

“There was food all over the floor, the bathroom was absolutely disgusting, it was covered in mould,” Butcherine told Fairfax Media.

“We were just devastated to have to stay on board.”

A norovirus outbreak on the ship’s previous voyage delayed its latest departure by at least three hours while it was fully sanitised.

The same virus then rocked the Pacific Eden for the second time in its short sea life.

Butcherine said her 11-year-old daughter was hit with the virus and claimed the crew were reluctant to take responsibility.

“The whole thing was just a nightmare,” she said. “I can’t tell you how upset we are about the whole thing, and I just couldn’t wait to get off the boat.”

A public relations consultant, Jaimie Abbott, was also on board and said in a Facebook post at the weekend that the Pacific Eden was a “floating disaster ship”.

P&O said it followed the same proactive and stringent approach to containing the virus as is followed globally.

“It only takes a small number of cases of the common stomach bug, norovirus, for sanitation levels to be increased on board,” it said.

“Stomach bugs are a fact of life in the general community and as you will see on board the level of cleaning and sanitation is second to none.”

The cruise line was carrying out increased cleaning of the ship and terminal during the turnaround in Sydney on Monday.