Marella Cruises is cancelling a 7-night sailing of Marella Discovery 2 due to technical problems impacting food and beverage service, and all guests booked on the impacted sailing will be flown home as needed.
Special aircraft are being brought in to accommodate the cancellation, which will affect a number of cruisers on the current voyage who had planned back-to-back voyages.
Next Cruise Cancelled
Marella Cruises‘ Marella Discovery 2 is currently finishing up a 7-night “Flavours of the Caribbean” cruise that set sail from Montego Bay, Jamaica on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Along the way, the ship called on the deliciously decadent ports of Cozumel, Mexico; Havana, Cuba; and Georgetown, Grand Cayman.
Guests onboard have been notified, however, that the next sailing – a 7-night “Pride of Panama” sailing – must be cancelled due to technical reasons affecting food and beverage service. That cruise was scheduled to depart Montego Bay on January 31, visiting Kingston, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.
“Due to an unforeseen technical issue that will impact our ability to deliver our full food and beverage offering, we’re very sorry to tell you that we’ve taken the difficult decision to cancel our next sailing, our Pride of Panama itinerary,” a letter delivered to guests onboard reads. “It’s not a conclusion we’ve come to lightly, but we’re not able to offer a suitable alternative cruise.”
The ship, which had suffered from thruster issues earlier in the current sailing, is planned to arrive back at its homeport in Jamaica on schedule at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 31.
On that day, the cruise line will begin flying guests home via chartered aircraft from parent company TUI Group, and may also purchase additional commercial seats to ensure everyone is able to travel home as efficiently as possible.
The cruise line has warned passengers, however, that they may be arriving at different airports than their departure airport, and airport transfers will be provided. Guests onboard have also reported they have the option to remain in Jamaica until their previously scheduled flights home.
Guests are being refunded for the cancelled cruise in full at a “pro-rata per night rate.” The cruise line is also offering £300 ($370 USD) per adult and £150 ($185) per child in vouchers for a future cruise, as a “gesture of goodwill.”
Refunds will be processed back to the original method of payment, and may take several weeks to be fully processed.
Similarly, refunds are being made for all excursions booked for the now-cancelled cruise. How those refunds are processed will depend on how guests booked the tours, with onboard purchases being returned to guests’ onboard accounts before they leave the ship. Tours booked via the cruise line’s website are also being processed automatically.
If guests booked excursions through a TUI store, however, they should return to that store upon arriving home, using the letter provided as proof of cancellation to have refunds issued back to the original method of payment.
Why the Cancellation?
While no cruise line wants to cancel a full sailing for any reason, different causes such as severe weather, emergency repairs needed for engine issues, or accidents with the vessel – such as when Norwegian Escape ran aground in March 2022 – can require cruises to be cancelled.
“Food and beverage service” is a less frequent cancellation reason, however, but an equally valid one.
If the vessel suffered some power system failure that impacted freezers or refrigerators, for example, the food available onboard would no longer be able to be used, and it may be impossible to fully resupply the ship before the next cruise is due to begin.
Likewise, necessary repairs to cooking ranges, ovens, dishwashers, or other kitchen equipment could lead to an inability to provide the full culinary experience expected onboard. This would be far different than simply closing a dining venue or single bar location, as equipment malfunctions can impact multiple locations.
Marella Discovery 2 is a Vision-class ship capable of welcoming 1,836 guests onboard. The ship has seven restaurants onboard, including a Sushi Bar, buffet, main dining rooms, an Italian restaurant, the Surf & Turf Steakhouse, and Kora La, a pan-Asian a-la carte restaurant featuring a wide variety of Asian dishes, from Indian food to Indonesian cuisine.