Britannia is on its way back to Southampton after slamming into a cargo ship during a storm in Palma, Majorca.
One of Britannia’s lifeboats was damaged, which means that under maritime law, the ship has been forced to return to Southampton with a reduced number of passengers and crew.
In a statement, P&O Cruises said ‘a limited number of guests and crew’ were told they would have to leave the ship in Palma and fly home.
It added: “The guests remaining onboard will be able to enjoy the entertainment and activities scheduled for the remainder of their trip.”
P&O has not confirmed the number of passengers offloaded, but it has been reported on social media that 321 guests – just under 10% of its capacity – left the ship.
Britannia is due to arrive in Southampton on Friday, having missed a scheduled stop in Gibraltar on the way.
P&O Cruises has not officially confirmed that its cruise on 1 September will depart as planned, but future guests have been told by email that the cruise is still due to go ahead.
Britannia sustained damage to the lifeboat when it broke its moorings during a storm in the port of Palma, hitting a cargo ship that was docked alongside. Guests onboard said the starboard deck 5 was hit.
The BBC said it had been told by Britannia that a number of passengers were cared for onboard for minor injuries.