Guests aboard the current sailing of Norwegian Getaway are not enjoying the cruise they anticipated when originally booking their vacation.
Once onboard the ship, passengers were notified of multiple itinerary changes, including swapped days, changed port times, and a canceled port of call.
Norwegian Getaway Itinerary Changes
The Breakaway-class Norwegian Getaway departed Port Canaveral on Saturday, July 16, on schedule, but that has been the only timing on the cruise itinerary that has remained as planned for this sailing. Once guests were onboard, they were notified via letter of significant changes to their upcoming itinerary.
“It is always our intention to maintain original itineraries,” the letter read. “However, at times, unforeseen circumstances require us to make modifications.”
The ship’s first port of call, to Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in The Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay, was shortened by one hour, arriving at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 17, rather than 7:30 a.m. While a one hour change may not seem like much, late arrival times can be challenging for shore tours.
The second port of call, which was to have been St. Thomas, was dropped from the itinerary altogether, with no replacement.
The third visit, to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday, July 20, was changed dramatically. Rather than arriving at 7 a.m. and departing at 3 p.m., the ship was instead scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m. This disrupted early shore tours, but did provide guests with two extra hours to explore this rich and diverse port of call.
The final port of the original itinerary, Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, was moved from the planned Thursday visit to Tuesday instead, the day the ship was to have been at St. Thomas. Instead of calling on Amber Cove from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the ship remained in port from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The final two days of the itinerary are slated to be sea days, with the ship arriving back at Port Canaveral on Saturday, July 23. An on-time arrival is expected.
Shore tours that had been booked for St. Thomas were automatically canceled and refunded, while the date and times for shore tours in Amber Cove were also automatically adjusted. Guests did not need to take any action for those adjustments.
Why So Many Changes?
No explanation was given for the multiple adjustments or lost port of call, other than “unforeseen circumstances.”
There could be many reasons behind the changes. It is possible that mechanical issues on the ship, such as propulsion or navigation limitations, may make it impossible to maintain the original itinerary.
There could also be challenges at ports of call, such as overcrowding with too many ships scheduled for simultaneous visits, additional commercial traffic taking up dock or channel space, pier damage or construction, or even channel dredging operations that limit cruise ship visits.
Port changes are not uncommon for cruise itineraries, and guests should always be prepared for such eventualities by remaining flexible in their cruising plans. This is particularly true with respect to shore tours – guests who may book excursions from independent companies could be stuck with cancelation fees or no refunds if their port times or visit days are changed at the last minute.
If tours are booked through the cruise line, however, reservations are either adjusted to the new schedule or payments will be fully refunded if the ship cannot visit or the tours cannot be accommodated at a new date or time.
The 145,655-gross-ton Norwegian Getaway can accommodate 3,963 guests, with more than 1,600 crew members on board to provide excellent service, no matter where or when the ship visits various ports.