ANGRY passengers staged a revolt on a luxury Southampton cruise ship after the vessel visited just two ports in 22 days.

Furious holidaymakers compared their round-the-world voyage on P&O Cruises’ luxury ship Aurora to being in prison after engine problems caused the ship to miss stops at three ports in New Zealand and two Pacific Islands.

So disgusted were the passengers on the 93-night cruise that more than 600 onboard the 76,000-tonne ship attended an emergency meeting where a protest committee was formed.

P&O said passengers, who each paid upwards of £8,599 for the cruise, will receive a compensation package including a payment of £500 and a refund of the cost of four days’ cruising.

But the protest group – dubbed the Aurora Committee – is now threatening legal action to compensate for the cruise, which some passengers had saved for 20 years to afford.

Committee member Jennifer Dunthorne said: “This failure to visit three ports in New Zealand and two Pacific Islands has turned this cruise ship into a prison for some.

“Only visiting two ports in 22 days is not what I saved for 20 years to do.

“This beautiful ship which has been the pride of the P&O fleet has become a red-hot bed of distress, frustration and anger.

“So many people worked hard for so many years to afford this cruise. It is truly unforgivable.

A second committee meeting with the ship’s captain Paul Brown was due to be held last night.

Problems on Aurora began within hours of leaving Sydney Harbour when both its engines cut out.

The ship limped to Auckland, New Zealand, where the saga continued, with the 1,736 passengers onboard being told each day for six days the ship could not leave port.

This meant missing out on stops at Wellington, Napier, Bay of Islands, and Moorea and Tahiti in French Polynesia.

Mrs Dunthorne added: “P&O offered some free drinks and derisory payments to compensate for shattered dreams.

“Passengers are outraged at Carnival’s apparent sole concern to concentrate on driving forward the ailing ship to pick up the next unsuspecting passengers on April 13 in Southampton by abandoning much of the cruise they had contracted to deliver.”

A spokeswoman for P&O said: Having sustained damage to a thrust bearing, Aurora sailed from Auckland at 5pm on Thursday March 12 after a delay of five days to enable repairs to be undertaken.

“We greatly value the support and loyalty of our passengers and very much regret the disruption to Aurora’s World Cruise.

“In recognition of this we have since offered a compensation package which we believe to be a fair reflection of the disruption to the cruise, the actual amount of which will vary depending upon the fare paid.”

After leaving Auckland on Wednesday, Aurora took the most direct course to Honolulu from where she is expected to continue as scheduled to San Francisco and then on to Southampton.