A few days after the cruise line canceled its cruises from Jamaica onboard Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled the voyages departing from La Romana in the Dominican Republic onboard Norwegian Gem.
The move is even more surprising than the cancelation of Norwegian Joy. President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Frank Del Rio, said only a few weeks ago the company had high hopes for the voyages from the Dominican Republic.
Norwegian Experiences Crewing Problems
The cruise line cited problems crewing its ships according to Travel Weekly. Citing the fact that the ships need around 90 days to be fully operational, both the cruises from Jamaica and from the Dominican Republic come too early for Norwegian:
The letter that Norwegian Cruise Line sent to guests booked onboard said the following:
“As you may know, we have for many months said that launching and crewing our vessels require approximately 90 days. At this time, we are doing our best to maximize our operational fleet and active crew to deliver on cruise vacations in destinations our guests value the most. We are so sorry your cruise has been impacted but we hope to welcome you aboard another sailing.”
Norwegian Gem was scheduled to sail from La Romana from August 15 to October 10 onwards. The timeline until August 15 gives the cruise line more than 90 days to prepare the ships for service; however, the launch of sailings to Alaska in August has caused planning issues for the cruise line, which is why they are pulling the crew to Norwegian Bliss instead.
The lead time for crewing the ships and the sudden unplanned itinerary for Norwegian Bliss was also the cause for the cruise line to cancel voyages between August and October onboard Norwegian Joy departing from Montego Bay in Jamaica.
The Caribbean Showed Encouraging Bookings
The cancelation of both Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Gem in the Caribbean comes as a surprise from Norwegian Cruise Line. A few weeks ago, during a quarterly earnings call on May 9, Frank Del Rio, the CEO and President of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings talked about the promising bookings he saw for ships in the Caribbean.
Frank Del Rio:
“We’re very encouraged with the vessel out of the Dominican Republic. The DR has a very good airlift to the U.S. I believe it’s the #1 destination for Americans to the Caribbean. And who knows? That vessel might prove to be so profitable there that it never returns back to U.S. waters.”
It’s a quick turnaround for the cruise line, which is making the cruises in Alaska an absolute priority, as it turns out.
Whether or not the cruise line will be able to crew its other vessels in time for the restart dates is something that will make many wonder. The company has committed itself to sail with 100% vaccinated crew and passengers. In the countries where Norwegian Cruise Line gets most of its crew members, vaccinations are going slowly or have not even started for seafarers.