Passengers were sent home after Discovery's first sailing since transferring from Voyages of Discovery to Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) was cancelled at the last minute.
The ship has been in Portland, Dorset, since Thursday morning following a refit in Genoa, Italy, but bad weather in the Bay of Biscay was blamed for the port of departure changing from the intended Avonmouth in Bristol.
Discovery had been due to sail on a 15-night voyage to the Northern Lights, but officials from the Maritme and Coastguard Agency refused to allow it to sail.
A CMV spokesman said: "We very much regret that, despite every effort, we have been unable to complete Discovery's preparations and surveys to the satisfaction of the authorities and therefore with their agreement are unable to operate this current cruise. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to our passengers."
The company later said: “Passenger comfort and safety is of paramount importance to both Cruise and Maritime Voyages and All Leisure Holidays and sincere apologies have been made to all the 657 passengers that lost out on this unique cruise.
"A significant compensation package and full refund has been provided. Owners and their technical manager’s efforts are now focused on ensuring the Discovery is in top condition for its next scheduled cruise on March 15.”
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