About 1,300 passengers booked on the Genting Dream cruise ship were told their trip from Singapore to Port Klang in Malaysia was cancelled on Wednesday.
The ship was on its way back to Singapore from a three-night Phuket trip to pick them up when it experienced technical issues in the Strait of Singapore around noon and had to be guided to port by four tugboats. The ship had about 3,000 passengers on board.
The ship's return to Singapore was delayed by five hours and a notice was put up on the Dream Cruises website informing passengers of the decision to "cancel Genting Dream's two-night Port Klang cruise departing May 2 at 9pm", citing technical issues.
A Dream Cruises spokesman said the technical problems faced did not affect the safety of the passengers or crew.
While many passengers were notified of the cancellation from 4pm onwards, there were some who still showed up at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre on Wednesday evening for the 5pm registration and boarding. Many of them were foreign tourists who were not aware there was a cancellation.
Added the spokesman: "While we do not have the exact number of how many people were waiting to board the ship at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, we can confirm that most of them were overseas guests who had flown in earlier."
Affected passengers who were not able to board the cruise ship will receive a full refund of their paid cruise fares including cabin fare, port charges and paid shore excursion fees.
Dream Cruises, will also offer these affected passengers a complimentary two-night weekday cruise, valid till Nov 30. Affected passengers aboard the ship were given a complimentary $200 Future Cruise Credit for Dream Cruises.
The company also arranged for light refreshments at the terminal and worked with transport and hotel operators to ensure that transport and accommodation were available for affected passengers. This included rebooking flights for overseas tourists affected by the cancellation of the cruise.
Some affected passengers expressed their disappointment on Facebook.
Ms Evelyn Chia commented on a post by Singapore Cruise Society, lamenting about her "terrible experience" and how "last minute" the cancellation was.