Cruise ship breaks down in the middle of the ocean
A luxury cruise liner with more than 2,000 people on board is 'dead in the water' off the Victorian coast.
The Norwegian Star will have to be towed to Melbourne after it lost power early on Thursday morning about 70km from the city.
A man aboard the ship told The Age 'devastated' passengers were in a state of panic.
Other passengers described the vessel as 'dead in the water'
'We're adrift 70 miles out of Melbourne,' one wrote on Twitter. '2nd Azipod broke. Getting towed back to Melbourne.'
Another wrote on Facebook: 'We have no engines for propulsion! We are afloat in the ocean!'
The ship, which was on a voyage from Melbourne to New Zealand, is now expected to skip several ports of call.
It is thought it will take until Saturday afternoon for it to be towed to Melbourne, where a technical team will carry out repairs.
Operator Norwegian Cruise Lines apologised to its passengers and stressed that they were in no danger.
'The ship has full power and all on-board services are fully operational,' the spokeswoman 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 Norwegian Cruise Line would provide all passengers a full refund, as well as a 50 per cent future credit.
The 16-year-old ship has been plagued with technical problems in recent times.
Passengers missed half of their stops and spent three extra days at sea because of engine problems on a voyage last month.