Norwegian Cruise Line has provided a further update on Norwegian Escape after the vessel ran aground in the Dominican Republic last week. Due to the need for ongoing repairs, the cruise line has canceled another 7-day sailing, but guests aren’t necessarily going to miss their cruise this weekend.
Norwegian Escape Cruise Canceled
More guests have now been impacted due to Norwegian Escape running aground while departing Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic on March 14, 2022. The cruise line informed guests today that their March 26 departure from Port Canaveral has been canceled.
NCL said in a letter sent out on March 22, “We are very sorry to inform you that the repairs onboard Norwegian Escape will take longer than originally expected and as result, your voyage onboard Norwegian Escape March 26, 2022, has been canceled.”
The cruise line went on to say, “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may cause, as we understand now more than ever the desire to travel and reconnect with the places and people, we’ve missed most.”
The March 26 voyage was originally scheduled to be a 7-day Caribbean itinerary, and Puerto Plata was to be the first port of call on the voyage, following a day at sea. Other calls included St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Tortola in the U.K. Virgin Islands, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in The Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. The itinerary was also to have included a total of two days at sea.
Guests are being offered two options as compensation for their now-canceled voyage. A full refund is available, returned to the original form of payment, plus a future cruise credit (FCC) worth 50% of the cruise fare paid, not including taxes and port fees.
This will be the default option for all guests, and refunds will be processed within 15 business days. The new FCC will become available on April 4, 2022, and must be used by April 4, 2023. If guests used a prior FCC to book this Norwegian Escape cruise, that FCC will be returned to their Latitudes account.
While the full refund is the default option, there is another choice available. If impacted guests still want to set sail this weekend – the original cruise was to have departed Port Canaveral on Saturday, March 26 – they can switch their booking to another sailing this weekend and will also receive an FCC worth 100% of the value of the canceled cruise (minus port fees and taxes).
The new FCC will not be available until April 4, however, meaning it cannot be used on this weekend’s sailing, but must be used by April 4, 2023.
Only select sailings are available for this option, as follows:
- March 26 – Norwegian Joy sailing from Miami, visiting Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize (a private Norwegian Cruise Line island); and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico
- March 27 – Norwegian Breakaway sailing from New Orleans, visiting Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico
- March 27 – Norwegian Dawn sailing from Tampa, visiting Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya, Mexico
- March 27 – Norwegian Encore sailing from Miami, visiting Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, U.K. Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, The Bahamas (a private Norwegian Cruise Line Island)
All the replacement sailings are 7-night voyages. Space is limited on these sailings, however, and while the best effort will be made to book passengers in similar cabin categories, matching categories may not be available.
If guests want to sail this weekend, they must contact Norwegian Cruise Line by 9 p.m. Eastern Time on March 23, 2022, to indicate their choice, or else they will automatically receive the default full refund and 50% FCC option.
Guests choosing the alternate sailings will have their airfare rebooked by Norwegian Cruise Line if they purchased flights through the cruise line; otherwise, guests must contact their travel agent or airline to make appropriate flight arrangements.
Update on Norwegian Escape
While the cruise line has not provided an update on the extent of the damage to Norwegian Escape, the ship was evaluated after it was freed from the sandbar and remained docked in Puerto Plata as guests were returned home. Two tugboats helped free the large, Breakaway-plus class vessel, as well as naval ships and other local operators.
High winds as the ship was originally departing Puerto Plata on March 14 are believed to have played a part in the incident, pushing the ship onto the sandbar.
What appears to be minor damage has been spotted on Norwegian Escape‘s hull, and the vessel has been inspected. The ship has since returned to Port Canaveral, but without guests aboard.
It is possible that further inspections will need to be made to ensure the vessel is safe and fully operational, and canceling the March 26 sailing will give the cruise line time to make that assessment.