Ninety-nine U.S., German and British tourists were to be flown to Australia on Monday, after their tropical Solomon Islands adventure holiday was cut short when an uncharted reef holed their Antarctic icebreaker.
The tourists were cruising some of the most remote islands in the Solomons group, best known as the site of one of the fiercest battles in the Pacific theatre of World War Two, when their cruise ship the MV World Discoverer hit the reef.
Society Expeditions, which runs the Liberian-registered World Discoverer as a cruise ship out of Seattle, said the ship's captain decided to beach the vessel after it began taking on water late Sunday afternoon.
The double-hulled ship was carrying 99 passengers and 93 crew when it struck the reef in a narrow channel known as Sandfly Passage. It was beached on Ngella Island about 20 nautical miles north of the Solomons capital of Honiara. No injuries were reported.