Crew members, port staff, and tour guides were left stunned on Saturday after 3,400 Chinese guests refused to disembark their cruise ship, which was visiting the South Korean island of Jeju.
The Chinese guests were sailing aboard Costa Serena, and refused to disembark in South Korea as a protest to the recent deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile defense system in the country, which has been heavily condemned by the Chinese government.
South Korea, which includes the island of Jeju, has always been a popular tourist destination among Chinese travellers, thanks to a visa-free travel policy.
Eighty tour buses were lined up on the quayside ready to take guests ashore on a variety of excursions, which include visits to ancient volcanoes and relaxing beaches.
Several cruise lines have already altered itineraries as a result of the Thaad deployment.