MSC Seaside has altered its itinerary and missed two scheduled calls in the Canary Islands, Santa Cruz de La Palma and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, citing technical issues for the alteration. Passengers reacted tensely to the situation, interrupting a show in the ship’s theater to demand explanations when the change was announced.
Ports of Call Canceled
MSC Seaside is currently sailing a transatlantic crossing as it repositions from South America to Europe. The ship departed Rio de Janeiro on March 20, 2022, and has not visited any ports as it sails northeast across the Atlantic.
The ship’s first port of call was to have been Santa Cruz de La Palma on March 28, followed by Las Palmas on March 29, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife on March 30.
In a statement provided to passengers, MSC Cruises explained, “We confirm that it was necessary to make an adjustment to the itinerary of the MSC Seaside due to urgent operational reasons beyond our control.”
Instead, it was announced that the ship would no longer be visiting either Santa Cruz de La Palma or Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The should would instead head straight to Las Palmas, extending its stay in the city for an overnight, before heading to Funchal, Portugal, as planned for March 31.
To compensate for the missed ports, MSC has offered onboard credit for passengers, as well as ferry tickets from Las Palmas to Tenerife so guests can still explore that city. The two cities are less than 90 miles apart and a variety of ferries operate in the region, with the fastest option sailing between the two ports in about 2.5 hours.
“We regret the change of itinerary and apologize for the inconvenience. We are doing our best to compensate our guests with onboard credit and ferry tickets from Las Palmas to Tenerife, so that they could visit the city if they wish. We emphasize that the health and safety of our guests and crew were never at risk during this itinerary adjustment,” the statement read.
While no further explanation was offered for the itinerary change, passengers onboard have indicated that the ship appears to be sailing very slowly, which may indicate propulsion problems. Fuel shortages were another possible explanation, but have not been confirmed.
While cruise travelers on a transoceanic voyage expect to enjoy many days at sea, they also look forward to unique ports of call that are not often part of other itineraries.
Aboard MSC Seaside, guests were frustrated and reacted angrily when the cancelations were announced on Saturday, March 26. According to reports from passengers currently on board the ship, there was a tense interruption to South African singer Vick Vicus’s show in the ship’s main theater, as passengers protested with chants and shouts.
The ship’s commander, Lauro Maresca, appeared at the show to explain, with the assistance of a translator to ensure his message was communicated properly. The explanation was interrupted several times with angry shouts and booing, but at no time was there any violent or physical behavior.
The namesake of MSC Cruises’ Seaside class of ships, MSC Seaside is currently carrying 5,333 cruise passengers and 1,413 crew members on board. After the March 31 call in Fuchal, Portugal, the ship is scheduled to also call in Valencia, Spain, on April 3 as well as in Marseille, France, on April 4, before reaching Genoa, Italy, on April 5. No further itinerary changes have been announced.