Passenger describes Ovation of the Seas as 'prison ship' following White Island tragedy

A dream cruise holiday turned into a "prison ship" after the White Island eruption tragedy, according to an account from one passenger.

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The ship that held 38 of the 47 victims is now back in Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

One week on from the Whakaari/White Island eruption, the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship which held 38 of the 47 White Island victims has returned to Sydney.

While on board the passenger said no one was allowed to know anything about the disaster. 

“It was a prison ship in the end. They try to offer you mental health or they offer you support on the last night when you’re about to get off."

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The 2.11pm moment of silence was observed nationwide and was exactly a week after the volcano erupted. Source: 1 NEWS

Other passengers had mixed feelings. One said the company had handled the situation as best they could, one said the captain’s communication was really good, and another said he felt like they had been kept in the dark.

New Zealand lawyer Matthew Flynn has weighed in on whether Royal Caribbean, the ship’s owner, could face legal action.

Heartbroken, tearful cruise ship passengers return home following White Island tragedy

“A big company like Royal Caribbean may have concerns that they feel some exposure, they don't want the bad publicity and they might see that they've got an obligation to do something to meet these people, but whether they settle or not is again a question for American lawyers,” says Mr Flynn.

The official death toll following Monday eruption is 16 with many others seriously injured in hospital. Aerial searches failed to find the  bodies of two others presumed to have died on the island.

There are plans for search parties to be back in the water tomorrow.