Cruise News Update: January 21, 2023

Here are the biggest stories from the past week in another weekly cruise news update, with headlines on Carnival, Norwegian and MSC.

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We’re back with you with another weekly cruise news update across the major cruise lines. It has been a busy week with major developments on Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, and even one of the busiest cruise port destinations in the world.

Cruise News Update

It’s time to make sure you’re all updated with the biggest cruise news from the past week. We’ve got coverage on propulsion issues that have hit the newest MSC cruise ship, faster Starlink internet rolling out across the Carnival cruise brands, multiple record-breaking days with passengers in Nassau, a month of cancellations for the Norwegian Joy cruise ship, and a Carnival cruise ship ends up sailing a cruise to nowhere.

MSC Seascape Propulsion Issue

The MSC Seascape, a newly constructed cruise ship based out of Miami, has been forced to change its scheduled itinerary due to problems with one of its engines.

Despite the efforts of the technical team and specialized personnel brought on in Grand Cayman, an engine software issue has not been resolved onboard MSC Seascape, and the scheduled call to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, today, January 20, has been cancelled.

Although there were no issues with the vessel until the stop in Cozumel, Mexico, the problem started after departure from Mexico. The cruise ship arrived 4.5 hours late to Grand Cayman, where it was announced that the call to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, would be cancelled.

MSC Seascape Sea Trials
Photo Courtesy: MSC Cruises

The Captain announced in his letter to guests that MSC would give a 50% refund on the cruise fare after the sailing and reimburse guests for any pre-booked shore excursions in Ocho Rios.

The plan is now to proceed with the vessel’s available speed to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve for an afternoon stop on Saturday, January 21, followed by the scheduled arrival into Miami on Sunday, January 22.

During an announcement on board, the Captain stated that the issue was an engine software problem that compromised one engine. However, several crew members supposedly stated that 3 out of four engines were not working due to the problem.

After struggling to meet the demand for a significant amount of time, with several ships losing connection during cruises, the wait was for Carnival Corporation to follow Royal Caribbean and switch to Starlink. The cruise company finally announced the two parties had signed a new agreement.

Installation of the satellite connection packages started in December onboard the Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises ships and is expected to roll out further across all brands soon, including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK), and Cunard.

Carnival Cruise Line Ship
Photo Credit: SeregaSibTravel / Shutterstock

The agreement is part of Carnival Corporation’s ongoing plan to provide guests and crew across its cruise brands with the best available Wi-Fi experience at sea.

The move by Carnival Corporation is a massive step forward and one that will be welcomed with open arms by those sailing onboard one of the Carnival Cruise Line or other brands’ ships in 2023.

Starlink is the leader in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology providing fast and more reliable Wi-Fi on a global scale. The added bandwidth will give the brands the capabilities and flexibility to introduce new guest services and features and help boost operational functions like onboard equipment monitoring and real-time communications between ship and shore teams.

Record-Breaking Days at Nassau Cruise Port

Nassau has experienced its busiest period in history over the new years period. In the space of just over a week, the cruise port broke its visitor number record three times.

On December 28th, Nassau, in the Bahamas, broke its one-day visitor number record when 25,279 cruise ship passengers visited on the same day from the cruise ships Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Dream, Norwegian Getaway, Liberty of the Seas, and Independence of the Seas.

Docked Nassau Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Georges_Creations / Shutterstock

On January 5th, the port broke that record with 25,393 cruise ship passengers arriving in the port onboard Carnival Conquest, Carnival Legend, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Carnival Dream, and Symphony of the Seas.

And in the same week, on January 8, the port broke the record again when a staggering 26,396 cruise ship passengers arrived on the same day. These guests arrived in the port on Carnival Liberty, Carnival Sunrise, Norwegian Escape, Liberty of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, and Freedom of the Seas.

Nassau has welcomed more than 150,000 cruise ship passengers since the start of the year. This sets the port up to break the records it set in 2019 when 3,85 million passengers visited Nassau while building on the solid base it set last year. 

Norwegian Joy Cruises Cancelled for Dry Dock

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.

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.

Norwegian Joy Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Solarisys / Shutterstock

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.

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.

Carnival Sunshine Sails Cruise to Nowhere

Carnival Sunshine was sailing a 4-night cruise from Charleston, South Carolina, with just one planned port of call – Nassau in The Bahamas. That visit had been scheduled for Saturday, January 14, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Guests were notified onboard, however, that the visit was not possible due to poor weather. “We are not able to visit Nassau today due to unfavorable weather that would make docking unsafe,” the letter delivered to guests said. “We know you were looking forward to your time in port and apologize for this change of plans.”

During the time Carnival Sunshine was to have been docked, Nassau was experiencing steady winds at about 20-25 miles per hour (32-40 kilometers per hour), with gusts as high as 40 mph (64 kph).

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

These conditions created unstable conditions on the dock, making it unsafe for guests to cross the gangway to get on or off the ship, or to walk down the dock into the downtown area.

Furthermore, many of the most popular excursions, such as snorkeling trips or dolphin encounters, would have been impossible in the choppy water.

Since the ship did not stop at the port, all shore excursions, as well as taxes and port fees, were automatically refunded to guests’ Sail & Sign accounts.

Cancelling the port of call was the second alteration to Carnival Sunshine‘s sailing. Prior to setting sail, guests had been informed of a change in embarkation time in Charleston, and had to adjust their arrival times one hour earlier than originally planned.

Fortunately, no further delays or changes to the cruise were expected, and Carnival Sunshine arrived back in Charleston as expected on Monday, January 16.

More Cruise Headlines

In what was a busy week of cruise news, we’ve got all the coverage on Cruise Hive, including Holland America Line expanding its onboard casinos, a record day at the Caribbean cruise port in St. Maarten, new details released on Disney Cruise Line’s Silver anniversary, Carnival plans to continue with the e-muster drill, construction update on the new Carnival Jubilee vessel, Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas makes a rescue at sea after skipping port due to bad weather.

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