Embarkation Change for Norwegian Cruise Ship

The Norwegian Gem cruise ship will no longer be embarking at the planned point, but the new embarkation location isn't too far away.

Guests booked on an upcoming sailing of Norwegian Gem have been notified of a change in their embarkation location, which will mean some necessary changes to planned arrivals at the cruise port.

Fortunately, the ship’s departure time and guests’ arrival appointments do not need to be adjusted, and the disruption should be minimal.

Norwegian Gem Embarkation Change

The February 6, 2023 sailing of Norwegian Gem will not embark where initially planned, and guests and travel partners are being notified of the change via email.

“In order to provide a smooth embarkation experience, embarkation for Norwegian Gem’s February 6, 2023 sailing will now take place at the Panama Convention Center,” the email read.

Typically, cruise ships departing from Panama City use the dock at Port Fuerte Amador on Flamenco Island, in Panama Bay just south of the city. A road does connect the cruise port to the mainland, and the Panama Convention Center is on the tip of the mainland, just 2.9 miles (4.6 kilometers) from the dock.

Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

This means guests will not have far to adjust their arrival plans for the new embarkation point, but it will be necessary to have proper information to ensure a smooth, efficient arrival. Guests who booked their transportation to the pier through Norwegian Cruise Line will have their drop-off location automatically updated to the Panama Convention Center.

Guests arriving through private transportation, rideshares, taxi service, or independent shuttles will need to ensure their drivers have the updated location and address. The Panama Convention Center is located at Calle General Juan D. Peron.

Arrival times for cruise check-in have not been impacted, and guests are advised to arrive at the convention center at the time they’ve already selected.

“We sincerely appreciate your understanding and look forward to welcoming you aboard the beautiful Norwegian Gem for your dream vacation at sea!” the email concludes.

The ship’s February 6 sailing is an 11-night one-way cruise from Panama City to New York, calling in Costa Rica, Aruba, Curacao, San Juan, and the Dominican Republic along the way. The ship will arrive in New York on Friday, February 17, and there are no other changes to its schedule or itinerary needed at this time.

Norwegian Gem is a Jewel-class ship that joined the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet in 2007. Weighing in at 93,530 gross tons, the vessel can welcome 2,394 guests, and has more than 1,000 international crew members to provide superior service in Norwegian’s characteristic “Freestyle” fashion.

Why the Location Change?

No details have been given about why the embarkation point change is needed, but there could be several reasons.

It is unlikely that crowding at the port has necessitated the move for Norwegian Gem, as only one other ship – Princess CruisesEmerald Princess – is scheduled to be in port that day. On other days, as many as four different vessels may be using the port facilities.

Norwegian Cruise Line Passengers
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

Construction along the roadway leading out to Flamenco Island could be a concern, as closing lanes would greatly restrict traffic flow to the cruise terminal. Similarly, construction or upgrades to the cruise terminal itself might require a temporary diversion for some docked ships.

Shortage of personnel for processing travelers, dredging operations near the dock, or other commercial marine traffic could all be factors in the change of embarkation point.

While no other ships are impacted by this embarkation change for now, any guests sailing from Panama City on any cruise line in the next few weeks should stay in close communication with their cruise line for updates as needed, in case further cruises must change cruise terminals or embarkation locations.

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