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Stormy weather forces Sea Princess to stop

The beginning of New Zealand's cruise ship season got off to a rough start this weekend. Princess Cruises was forced to temporarily halt the excursion of its Sea Princess vessel because of wicked winds and heavy rain.

According to The Wall Street Journal, about 700 passengers were aboard the Sea Princess when it was forced to stop near South Island on Saturday. The cruise line transferred all passengers ashore at Akaroa. Some spent the night there, and others were taken by bus to Christchurch, about 80 kilometers away.

"For many of them it was a bonus experience to spend a night in the picturesque French village and they really enjoyed meeting the locals and spending a night out," Christchurch Mayor Tom Parker told the Journal.

After weather conditions improved, all passengers were returned to the Sea Princess, which resumed its journey at about 6 p.m. New Zealand time on Sunday.