Massive Winter Storm Delays Two Norwegian Cruise Ships

Two Norwegian cruise ships were significantly delayed from New York City due to Winter Storm Elliott, but have now safely set sail.

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Both Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Getaway have been delayed on their current sailings due to the massive winter storm disrupting travel in the northeastern United States.

Sailing from New York City, both ships were held in port until the weather conditions improved, but have now set sail with itinerary changes as necessary.

Two Ships Delayed

New York City can be a magical place during the holiday season, but Winter Storm Elliott has brought temperatures into the single digits and massive wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour (88 kilometers per hour), which has caused all sorts of travel snarls with canceled flights and potential whiteout conditions.

Even cruise ships were impacted by the storm, and both Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Getaway remained docked rather than beginning their current sailings in unsafe conditions, which also included high waves that made pilot guidance out of New York Harbor impossible.

Norwegian Gem

The Jewel-class Norwegian Gem was due to begin an 11-night Caribbean sailing on Thursday, December 22, but weather conditions had already made the navigation issues too challenging for the ship to depart as planned.

Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship in New York
Photo Credit: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

Instead, Norwegian Gem remained docked in New York City, and guests were granted shore leave access if desired. The vessel departed Pier 88 at 6 a.m. on Saturday, December 24, en route to St. Thomas – which was to have been the ship’s third port of call, scheduled for Tuesday, December 27.

Because of the extensive delay, both the Christmas Day call to the Dominican Republic and the December 26 call to San Juan, Puerto Rico have been canceled. No further changes to the remainder of the itinerary are expected, and guests will still visit St. Maarten, St. Johns, and Tortola before arriving back in New York on January 2, 2023.

Guests are being offered onboard credit as well as a discount on a future cruise as compensation for the missed ports of call.

Norwegian Getaway

The Breakaway-class Norwegian Getaway was also delayed in leaving New York City, but not quite so severely as the ship was only scheduled to depart on Friday, December 23. Instead, the ship remained docked overnight and guests were also permitted shore leave in the Big Apple if desired.

The 145,655-gross-ton vessel departed at 6 a.m. on Saturday, December 24, and is currently en route to her first port of call, Port Canaveral in Florida. Because two days at sea were scheduled for the ship to make the journey to Florida, simply adjusting the speed has been possible and there are no delays or itinerary changes anticipated for Norwegian Getaway.

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Mariusz Lopusiewicz / Shutterstock

The ship is sailing an 8-night Bahamas itinerary. After Florida, the ship will visit Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in The Bahamas on Tuesday, December 27, followed by Nassau on Wednesday, December 28.

Norwegian Getaway will return to New York City on New Year’s Eve.

Other Storm Disruptions

The massive winter storm, which has stretched across much of the eastern and central United States, has impacted more than just two ships in New York.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista, homeported in Galveston, also battened down for the storm, closing off portholes, ocean view windows, and balcony partitions in anticipation of rough weather as the ship sailed into the storm to return to its homeport on Christmas Eve.

These precautions were due to expected high seas, strong winds, and excessive swells in the Gulf of Mexico, conditions which could potentially produce rogue waves.

While winter storms don’t typically have a tremendous impact on most cruises, poor weather of all types can impact cruises year-round, and booked guests should always stay in contact with their cruise lines about possible updates and delays as their sailing date approaches.

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