Pacific Adventure accidents and incidents

Pacific Adventure cruise ship

Former names
Golden Princess

Length (LOA)
290 m / 951 ft

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CruiseMapper's Pacific Adventure cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 3174-passenger vessel owned by P&O Australia (P&O Cruises). Our Pacific Adventure accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • fires - 2009 (engine room), 2018 (Communications Centre), 2023 (cabin balcony)
  • propulsion/power loss - 2015 (Australia)
  • pollution in Alaska - 2009 (6), 2011, 2013, 2018
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 2004 (84/15), 2009 (100/7), 2016 (Australia)
  • deaths - overboard (2017, 2019, 2024), 2023 (drowning)
  • injuries/crimes - 2008 (kid near drowning)
  • medevacs - 2013

Before 2020 (September), the vessel was operated by Princess Cruises under the name "Golden Princess".

06 May 2024Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On May 6, 2024, at ~10:30 AM NSW time (~00:30 UTC) was discovered and retrieved from the waters off the coast of Sydney NSW the body of a male passenger.

The man (Shane Dixon, 45 years old) was reported missing/presumed overboard in the morning (~4 AM NSW/~6 PM UTC) while the ship was approx 10 NM (11 mi/18 km) off Sydney Heads.

For the search and rescue operation, the NSW Police Marine Command deployed several police vessels and tugboats, and the Toll Ambulance Rescue Helicopter Service deployed an aircraft. Rescue teams faced challenges posed by swells of 4-5 meters, impeding their efforts across ~60 NM2 (~200 km2/~80 mi2) search area, employing infrared technology to detect the man's heat signature.

Pacific Adventure's arrival and docking at White Bay Terminal and the next voyage's departure were delayed due to the search efforts.

The incident occurred in the end of the 3-day "Tribute To The King" (Elvis music-themed) cruise-to-nowhere from Sydney. The roundtrip itinerary was without any ports of call.

Update: The man traveled together with his mother Sue Dixon, 66 years old) who had saved money for the cruise as a holiday for them.

According to the family, Dixon had accumulated a $4,000 casino debt influenced by P&O Australia's "high roller" incentives. They claimed he was enticed to spend large sums due to practices permitted under "international waters" guidelines, which would be illegal under Australia's gambling advertising laws prohibiting gaming providers from offering promos like free alcohol, gambling vouchers, and prizes to encourage spending.

However, cruise ship casinos open only in international waters and are not bound by land regulations, creating a loophole. Cruisers can charge their casino spending to their stateroom bill, which can obscure the total amount spent.

Before the voyage with P&O, Shane was experiencing financial difficulties and dealing with personal tragedies, including the breakdown of his marriage and the deaths of his brother and father.

Scott Dixon (Shane's brother) reported that Shane initially spent $5,000 in the onboard casino, receiving free drinks, a $750 play voucher, and a ticket for a future cruise. He borrowed $5,000 from his mother to repay this debt but returned to the casino the following night, accumulating an additional $4,000 bill. Scott believed Shane realized the severity of his financial situation as the ship approached Australian waters, where casino operations would cease.

Scott praised the P&O staff for their compassionate treatment of their mother.

21 April 2024Coast Guard Medevacs

On April 21, 2024, a male crew was medevaced from the ship approx ~23 mi/37 km east of Newcastle  NSW, soon after the departure from Sydney NSW.

The medical evacuation was conducted by an aircraft dispatched from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service's base in Newcastle (Lake Macquarie Airport/Belmont Airport).

Westpac's statement on social media mentioned that the man was experiencing a medical emergency that necessitated the presence of a critical care paramedic (from NSW Ambulance) and a doctor (from NSW Health).

Following the patient's stabilization, he was airlifted/hoisted into the helicopter and flown to Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital.

The incident occurred in the beginning of the 4-day "Tasmania Cruise" (itinerary April 21-25, roundtrip from Sydney) visiting only Hobart (Apr 23).

26 September 2023Crew / Passenger Deaths

On September 26, 2023, while the ship was anchored off Aneityum/Mystery Island (Vanuatu), a male passenger drowned while snorkeling ashore.

Carnival Australia (P&O Australia's management company) confirmed that the person died "following what appears to be a medical situation while swimming".

The incident occurred during the 8-day "Pacific Island Hopper Cruise" (itinerary September 22-30, roundtrip from Sydney NSW) visiting Vanuatu (Sept 26/Mystery Island, port stay 8 am-5 pm) and New Caledonia (Sept 27/Noumea, Grande Terre Island).

28 May 2023Fire Accident

On May 28, 2023, at ~3:15 am NSW time (~17:15 UTC), while at anchorage off NSW Australia's coast (Batemans Bay), the ship suffered a fire accident. Pacific Adventure was carrying a total of 3017 passengers plus 1080 crew.

The fire broke out on a cabin balcony (reportedly, caused by a lit cigarette) and was contained within a single stateroom. It was swiftly extinguished and no injuries were reported

In accordance with the onboard emergency response plan, all passengers were summoned to the muster stations. They were permitted to return to their staterooms at ~5:20 am NWS (~19:20 UTC).

The accident occurred during the 3-day "Comedy Cruise" (itinerary May 27-30) which was a "cruise to nowhere" roundtrip from Sydney NSW and without any call ports.

2020Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Golden Princess, Coronavirus) On March 15, 2020, due to a suspected Coronavirus (COVID-19) case on the ship, passengers were denied disembarkation at Akaroa Harbour (Christchurch) New Zealand. The vessel (carrying ~2600 passengers plus ~1100 crew) docked at Akaroa with reported 3 passengers showing flu-like symptoms. They were quarantined onboard (by the ship's physician) and treated as suspected COVID cases.

Golden Princess canceled the current cruise and departed back to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on March 19. The collected tests were sent ashore and returned Coronavirus-negative. The debarkation in Melbourne started at ~4:30 PM. By Australia's pandemic guidelines, all cruisers had to self-isolate for 14 days.

The accident occurred during the 13-day Australia to New Zealand cruise (itinerary March 10-23) roundtrip from homeport Melbourne (Australia) scheduled to visit the NZ ports / destinations Fiordland NP (Mar 13), Port Chalmers (Dunedin, March 14), Akaroa (Mar 15, 8 AM - 6 PM), Wellington (Mar 16), Napier (Mar 17), Tauranga (Mar 18) and Auckland (Mar 19).

The health scare arose 3 days after Princess Cruises suspended fleetwide passenger shipping operations for 2 months in response to the global Coronavirus pandemic. The company allowed all voyages finishing within 5 days to complete. Golden Princess was already in NZ waters before Wellington on March 15th banned cruise ships until June 30.

21 January 2019Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Golden Princess / overboard-suicide) On January 21, 2019, a 22-year-old male passenger was reported missing and presumed overboard while the liner was in the Tasman Sea and en-route from Auckland NZ to Melbourne (Victoria Australia). The cruise ship conducted a search and rescue operation during the night (Jan 21) but the body was not found.

After conducting a shipwide search and reviewing CCTV videos, on Jan 22, Princess Cruises officially announced that the man intentionally went (jumped) overboard at ~2 am (Jan 21). AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority/coast guard agency) was contacted at ~9 am (Jan 21).

The incident occurred at the end of 13-day New Zealand Cruise (itinerary Jan 10-23) roundtrip from homeport Melbourne to Fiordland Park, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Gisborne, Tauranga, and Auckland (Jan 19).

12 November 2018Fire Accident

(Golden Princess / CruiseMapper email from Fred van Gestel) On November 12, 2018, a fire on Deck 6 burnt out the Communications Centre. The fire started in NZ waters, while the liner was en-route from Dunedin to Akaroa. Passengers were awoken 4 times (between 12-midnight and 2 am). All the crew was on standby. Several cabin decks were in smoke. Passengers were told to dress, have their medications and lifejackets, and to gather in smoke-free areas.

"Worst cruise of over 30 we have done. Why was this potentially tragic incident not reported anywhere in Press, either in Australia or NZ?"

"Comm Centre is not the passengers' internet, but the internal working of the ship (not shown on deck plan). It is from this area that contact to ship via the internet, programming of shows, TV to cabins, and many other communications take place.  During the week after the burn out of the section on Deck 6, the crew were also cut off from contact with their families at home, causing a lot of anxiety for them."

The accident occurred at the beginning of the 13-day Australia to New Zealand cruise (itinerary Nov 8-21, 2018) roundtrip from homeport Melbourne to Fjordland Park, Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Gisborne, Tauranga, and Auckland.

June 2018Sea Pollution

(Golden Princess) In June 2018, the vessel was reported for sea pollution in Alaskan waters. While berthed in Ketchikan AK, the vessel discharged discoloured water. Investigation showed that the discharge was from the ship’s scrubbers (exhaust system).

Such in-port discharges don't comply with the state's regulations and are subject to investigation by both state and federal agencies. Alaska state employs "ocean rangers" to board each vessel and monitor all its discharges. While smokestack scrubber discharge is permitted by Environmental Protection Agency, Alaska doesn't have state permit for these systems.

(update) On July, 28, while in Rockland ME, CLIA's SVP made an announcement that CLIA member-companies ships don't discharge anything while in or near the seaport, and "never" from scrubbers. The compliance with CLIA's mandatory requirements is a condition of membership.

03 May 2017Crew / Passenger Deaths

(Golden Princess / overboard) On May 3, 2017, a 61-year-old male passenger (of US origin) was reported missing and presumably overboard. The shipboard search for the man started after the cruise ship docked in homeport Sydney Australia. The accident must have occurred between April 30 – May 3 (on sea days) while the ship was en-route from Lautoka Fiji to Sydney NSW. The missing man was travelling alone.

The ship was on 13-night South Pacific Islands cruise (itinerary April 21 - May 4) roundtrip from Sydney to island ports in New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji.

March 2016Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Golden Princess) In March 2016, an Australian news media reported a major Norovirus outbreak during the 14-day South Pacific Islands cruise (itinerary March 8-22) from homeport Melbourne to New Caledonia and Vanuatu. An unspecified number of cruise passengers were suffering from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea).

According to Princess Cruises official statement, the ship’s crew were engaged with extensive cleaning and disinfection procedures, including all public spaces. All infected passengers were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours. Another media reported the simultaneous flu (influenza virus) outbreak on the cruise ship.

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

06 December 2015Propulsion / Power Loss

(Golden Princess) On December 6, 2015, the ship suffered power loss accident resulting in temporary drifting and cruising at reduced speeds between New Zealand and Australia for several hours. The incident occurred near the end of the 13-days Around New Zealand cruise (itinerary Nov 29 - Dec 12) roundtrip from Auckland to Tauranga, Gisborne, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, Fjordland Park, Melbourne (Australia).

28 September 2013Coast Guard Medevacs

(Golden Princess) On September 28, 2013, a 79-year-old male passenger (Canadian) suffered from acute kidney failure while the ship was en-route back to homeport Los Angeles California. He was medevaced by a USCG helicopter dispatched from San Francisco CA to the ship (located approx 40 mi / 65 km west of the city). The man was transported to Palo Alto CA (Stanford Hospital).

2011Sea Pollution

(Golden Princess) On January 29, 2013, Princess Cruises was fined USD 20,000 on sea pollution charges. The cruise vessel was accused in dumping its swimming pools’ waters (a total of 66,000 gallons, or ~250,000 litres) into the waters of Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska) in 2011. The cruise company claimed the incident was caused by “software malfunction”, commanding the valves of all the ship’s 6 swimming pools (and whirlpools) to open and dump their chlorinated waters into Glacier Bay.

May 2009Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Golden Princess) May 2009, CDC reported on the voyage April 23 to May 7, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) affected a total of 100 passengers (out of 1954, or 5,1%) and 7 crew (out of 894, or 0,6%). The ship was on 14-day Panama Canal cruise from homeport Fort Lauderdale Florida.

22 March 2009Fire Accident

(Golden Princess) On March 22, 2009, the ship reported an engine room fire during 14-day Hawaiian cruise from homeport Los Angeles CA. The incident was announced by the Captain via the PA system ~11:45 pm. The cause for the fire was a seal blown by the engine’s turbocharger, which set off the smoke detector. The fire incident lasted for ~1 hour and resulted in temporarily reduced cruising speed and itinerary change - call port Nawiliwili / Kauai was dropped.

2009Sea Pollution

(Golden Princess) In 2009, the ship was reported 6 times for sea pollution in Alaska, violating the Alaskan wastewater standard for zinc. The failed wastewater tests were conducted on May 18, June 1, August 3 and 10, and on September 7 and 14.

27 September 2008Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(Golden Princess) On September 27, 2008, a 9-year-old male passenger was saved from drowning by another passenger. The boy was found unconscious, lying on the bottom of an onboard swimming pool. The man who saved the kid’s life was rewarded with a free Princess cruise.

August 2008Sea Pollution

(Golden Princess) In August 2008, the vessel was reported for sea pollution, violating the Alaskan wastewater quality standard for zinc. Wastewater tests showed concentration levels higher than the allowed norms.

December 2004Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Golden Princess) December 2004, CDC reported on the voyage Dec 12 to 19, a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 84 passengers (out of 2742, or 3,1%) and 15 crew (out of 1100, or 1,4%). All sick suffered from the Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea) and were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours. The ship was on 7-day Caribbean cruise from homeport San Juan Puerto Rico.

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