Norwegian Cruise Line has reached out to booked cruisers to alert them to itinerary changes, embarkation port changes, and port cancellations with respect to the situation in Israel.
The safety and security of all guests and crew members is the topmost priority, and all the applicable changes are being made to ensure smooth sailing for everyone aboard.
All 2023 Israel Calls Cancelled
In notifications to guests, Norwegian Cruise Line has confirmed that all scheduled calls in Israel for all Norwegian Cruise Line ships have now been cancelled for the rest of 2023. On impacted itineraries, alternative port calls are being arranged where possible.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic situation in Israel. Our thoughts are with all those impacted during this time,” a statement from a Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson reads. “As always, the safety and security of our guests, crew and communities we visit is our top priority. As a result, we have made the decision to cancel all calls to Israel for the remainder of 2023.”
Guests booked on individual sailings will be contacted when itinerary changes are confirmed, as it is now necessary to make multiple adjustments on some sailings that had planned multiple calls in Israel.
Furthermore, as many cruise lines are making similar adjustments to sailings within their respective fleets, it is becoming increasingly challenging to arrange alternative ports as the most convenient berths are full and dock space is limited.
Embarkation Port Changes
Some sailings face even more significant challenges that will have hefty impacts on cruise guests.
For example, the November 20, 2023 departure of Norwegian Epic was to have departed from Haifa, Israel, which is now no longer possible. The departure port has therefore, been changed to Piraeus (Athens), Greece, along with other port of call adjustments.
This can create travel difficulties for reaching the cruise departure port, especially only a month before setting sail when airline schedules may not have availability at the right time to reach the cruise.
Guests on this sailing – and likewise on others with affected departure ports – are having their flights automatically adjusted if they booked air travel through Norwegian Cruise Line. Guests who made independent air travel arrangements will need to contact their airline directly to reschedule flights.
Norwegian Cruise Line will reimburse air travel change fees up to $300 (USD) per person for such changes if they are not covered by the airline or any applicable travel insurance, but appropriate receipts must be submitted for consideration.
Refunds Not Offered for Everyone
Different cruise lines have different policies about refunds in the event of itinerary changes and port of call adjustments, especially in unexpected or extreme situations.
Cruises that are simply missing ports of call in Israel on sailings that embark and debark from other locations are not eligible for refunds from Norwegian Cruise Line. In particular, this applies to impacted sailings aboard Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Dawn.
Guests booked on cruises that begin or end in Israel through the end of 2023, however, are being offered the option to cancel their sailing and receive a future cruise credit of the fare amount, which will be valid for any sailing through December 31, 2024. This applies to the November 8 and November 20 departures of Norwegian Epic.
Additional charges – taxes, pre-paid gratuities, pre-paid Norwegian shore tours, airport transfers, etc. – will be refunded back to the original form of payment.
Israeli citizens and residents, however, can receive a full, monetary refund for any Norwegian Cruise Line sailing through the end of 2023, regardless of the cruise departure port, itinerary, or sailing region.
What About 2024?
At this time, Norwegian Cruise Line has not made any sailing adjustments for Israeli cruises in 2024. The situation continues to be monitored and future cruises will be adjusted as necessary to protect guests’ safety and to ensure smooth, comfortable cruises.
Similarly, there have been no changes at this time for sailings to Egypt, which has also seen recent tensions. Guests booked on any upcoming cruises to Egypt will want to remain in close contact with Norwegian Cruise Line for further updates as their sailing date approaches.