Holland America Line Cruise Ship Suffers Propulsion Problems

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A cruise ship sailing for the Seattle-based Holland America Line suffered technical issues with its Azipod propulsion system during a cruise to Alaska. The Westerdam, which only returned to service on June 12, will miss several ports due to the issues affecting the vessel’s top speed. 

Holland America Line informed guests onboard of the changes on July 15 and has offered all guests compensation in the form of an onboard credit. 

Azipod Propulsion Issues For Westerdam

During an Alaska cruise onboard Holland America Line’s Westerdam, which sailed from Seattle on July 10, the vessel suffered damage to its Azipod propulsion system. The issues presented themselves while the ship was sailing through the Hubbard Glacier area.

Before returning to Seattle, the cruise was scheduled to call on Juneau, Hubbard Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC. However, due to the technical difficulties the vessel is experiencing, the calls to Ketchikan and Victoria have both been canceled. The Vista-Class cruise ship will only make a one-hour technical stop for immigration purposes. 

Holland America Cruise in Alaska
Photo Credit: Ungnoi Lookjeab / Shutterstock

The calls have been canceled as the ship is unable to sail at full speed, according to the letter guests received onboard:

“Thank you for your patience while we have been managing the technical issue with our Azipod propulsion system. While this in no way affects the safety of our guests or team members, which is our highest priority, it has restricted our ability to operate at full speed.”

“Due to this, we will not be able to visit Ketchikan, Alaska on Friday, July 15, or Victoria, British Columbia on Saturday, July 16. We will make a brief service call to Victoria on Saturday evening to complete clearance formalities. Our call in Victoria should take around an hour, and no guests or crew will be permitted to go ashore.”

To compensate guests for the disappointing experience of missing Ketchikan and Victoria, Holland America Line is offering guests compensation. Each guest onboard will receive a $100 onboard credit, and Holland America Line will refund any payments made towards shore excursions in one of the two ports. 

Holland America Westerdam
Photo Credit: The Mariner 4291 / Shutterstock

“As a gesture of concern for your experience and gratitude for your understanding, each guest will receive USD 100.00 as a non-refundable onboard credit applied to your shipboard account.”

Westerdam is expected to return to its homeport of Seattle, Washington, on July 17. The cruise line has not made any announcements or informed future guests of any changes to the July 17 sailing at this time. 

Westerdam Resumed Operations On June 12

After not sailing for more than 2 ½ years, the 81,811 gross tons, 1,964-passenger Westerdam finally resumed operations on June 12 from Seattle. She was the last ship in the fleet to resume operations for Holland America Line. 

Westerdam is also the second ship in Carnival Corporation, which suffered technical difficulties after the long lay-up period.

ms Westerdam Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: The Mariner 2392 / Shutterstock.com

So far, it’s been an eventful season in Alaska. Besides the technical issues with the Azipod propulsion system onboard Westerdam, several other ships have also experienced technical difficulties this year.  

Early in May, Crown Princess resumed service with her first cruise since the global pause in operations. However, the vessel has been plagued by several issues that have affected cruises between April and July. Those issues also stemmed from technical problems related to her engines and top speed.

Of course, there has also been the iceberg that the Norwegian Sun hit, also at Hubbard Glacier. Although the vessel sustained only minor damage, and the hull had not been breached, repairs took significant time, with multiple voyages canceled. 

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