The ship remained in the area this morning to continue the search. "Ship going round and round searching".
The Captain this morning made an announcement to passengers confirming the search had been unsuccessful.
"The hard decision to suspend the search was made only after expert advice that survival after this length of time in hard sea conditions and after a full night at sea was not considered possible", said a P&O Cruises spokesman.
Teg An said this was her 10th cruise with P&O, her 12th overall, and "this is by far the worst thing I've seen happen on a cruise".
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'Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest's family at this distressing time, ' the statement said.
"The "man overboard" incident response was activated straight away", he said.
P&O said the incident has been referred to Queensland Police and to the Coroner, as is normal procedure. After hours of searching in rough seas and high winds, the captain told passengers that "with a heavy heart", they had "made the extremely hard decision to continue our journey towards Brisbane", reports the Courier Mail.
The search for a woman who went overboard from a P&O cruise ship has been called off, the company says.
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The Australian Maritime Safety Authority and New Caledonian authorities had issued calls for nearby vessels to assist in the search.
The captain of the cruise ship announced to passengers that the woman had not been found and the ship was heading back to Brisbane.
A 47-year-old woman is missing and presumed lost in a remote part of the South Pacific after an unexplained fall from a cruise ship.
On Thursday, Brisbane man Damien Pesch, who was holidaying on the ship with his family, said little information had been given to passengers other than that the ship was searching for a woman.
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Pacific Dawn is due in Brisbane on Saturday.