A Month of Sailings Cancelled for Norwegian Cruise Ship

Four sailings, including two Panama Canal transits, are now cancelled so Norwegian Joy can enter dry dock for upgrades.

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Norwegian Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked aboard Norwegian Joy in early 2024 to inform them that their cruises have been cancelled, and the ship will be undergoing a drydock revitalization during the impacted time period.

Compensation is being provided, and since the affected sailings are a year away, guests have plenty of time to alter their travel plans for a different cruise vacation.

Norwegian Joy Sailings Cancelled

Guests eagerly anticipating their upcoming cruises aboard the Breakaway-Plus-class Norwegian Joy in early 2024 will need to reschedule their vacation plans, as Norwegian Cruise Line has emailed booked passengers that a month of sailings has been cancelled for the ship’s revitalization.

“As part of our commitment to continuously offer extraordinary vacation experiences around the world for our guests, and to uphold a consistent world-class product across our fleet, Norwegian Joy will be undergoing a revitalization in early 2024,” the email read.

“In order to complete these enhancements, Norwegian Joy sailings from January 6, 2024 through and including February 10, 2024 have been canceled.”

Norwegian Joy in Alaska
Photo Credit: EB Adventure Photography / Shutterstock.com

A total of four sailings are impacted by this cancellation, including two one-way 15-night voyages between Miami and Los Angeles that would have taken guests through the Panama Canal and to various ports in Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. The other two cancelled cruises are a 5-night Mexican Riviera getaway from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, and a 7-night sailing from Miami to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico.

No further details about the ship’s planned revitalization have been released, but the drydock work will likely include standard hotel upgrades and refinishing of public areas, as well as various technical or behind-the-scenes upgrades.

It is possible that some of the refurbishment will also include changes to lounges and entertainment areas in line with the cruise line’s recent announcement about reducing entertainment options.

The 167,725-gross-ton Norwegian Joy first joined the fleet in 2017 in China, and much of her design was specifically outfitted for Chinese guests. Her most recent refurbishment was in 2019, an extensive $50 million (USD) update that renovated the vessel to better serve a Western market rather than an Asian one.

Refunds and Other Compensation Offered

All guests booked on the now-cancelled cruises will automatically receive a 100% refund returned to the form of payment made to secure the reservation, though refunds could take 30-45 days to appear back in guests’ accounts, depending on their financial institution. If a future cruise credit (FCC) was used for the reservation, that credit will be returned to guests’ cruise line loyalty accounts.

Norwegian Joy Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line

It should be noted that the expiration date, if applicable, of the FCC will not be adjusted. Because the sailing is a year away, however, guests do have ample time to apply any credits to other sailings as they change their travel plans.

In addition to the full refund, guests are also being offered a 10% FCC based on their fare paid for the cancelled voyage, which may be applied to any future Norwegian Cruise Line sailing through December 31, 2024. “We sincerely appreciate your understanding and look forward to welcoming you aboard very soon,” the email concluded.

Why Cancellations?

While impacted guests will understandably be upset at the cruise cancellations, these types of scheduling changes do happen and cruise lines make every effort to provide guests with early notice so their travel plans can be more easily adjusted.

Cruise ship dry docks are generally scheduled well in advance, and cruise lines try to plan for gaps in a ship’s deployment so no cruises need to be cancelled when a ship is out of service for upgrades and maintenance.

This isn’t always possible, however, and shipyard schedules, the supply of materials, environmental regulation changes, and unexpected repairs can all require adjustments to dry dock plans.

Norwegian Cruise Line similarly canceled cruises for Norwegian Escape in September 2022 due to dry dock, while Carnival Cruise Line canceled five sailings for Carnival Paradise in October 2023 for dry dock renovations.

At this time, many shipyards are still struggling with scheduling issues from the pandemic disruption, which caused numerous delays and postponements of ship construction, renovations, and repairs. Similar cancellations are to be expected for all cruise lines, and guest should remain flexible and understanding with their travel plans.

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