Norwegian Cruise Line Cancels Port of Call for European Sailing

Continued drought and lock operation changes in Amsterdam has impacted the itinerary for Norwegian Dawn, canceling a call in Copenhagen.

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Guests booked on the upcoming August 16, 2022 sailing of Norwegian Dawn have received an email confirming the cancelation of Copenhagen, Denmark, as a port of call on their itinerary. Little explanation is offered, and no additional port will be substituted on the 10-night cruise.

Copenhagen Canceled

In an email sent to booked guests, Norwegian Cruise Line has confirmed that the Libra-class Norwegian Dawn, which is currently sailing a variety of one-way northern European itineraries, will not be visiting Copenhagen on the August 16 cruise.

“We are committed to delivering exceptional vacation experiences around the world. As such, it is always our intention to maintain original itineraries,” the email reads. “However, at times, unforeseen circumstances require us to make modifications.”

Instead of calling on Copenhagen from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24, the ship will have a day at sea, with no substitute port of call. The vessel will arrive in Amsterdam much earlier than previously scheduled, however.

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

Originally, Norwegian Dawn was planned to arrive in Amsterdam – the disembarkation port for this particular sailing – at 6 a.m. on Friday, August 26. Now, the vessel will arrive the evening before, at 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 25.

This gives guests an opportunity to have an enjoyable evening in Amsterdam. Debarkation is still planned for Friday morning at the original time.

Why the Cancelation?

Norwegian Cruise Line has offered no details explaining why the call in Copenhagen must be canceled, but it may not have to do with Denmark’s capital at all.

Recent drought and salt in the Netherlands’ North Sea Canal has created some restrictions on lock operation into the port of Amsterdam, which is limiting when vessels may enter the port.

The salt levels are of particular concern, as that impacts local water supply quality. By restricting lock operation, less salt is permitted into the canal and the water supply is better protected.

To compensate for the change in operation, vessels are only being permitted in groups rather than individual passage into Amsterdam. This is causing some delays in vessel passage, and cruise ships must plan for those delays as necessary.

Similar delays impacted Royal Caribbean International’s Jewel of the Seas earlier this month, as well as Holland America Line’s MS Rotterdam. Both cruise lines had to adjust multiple itineraries due to the low water levels and high salt content.

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: David T London / Shutterstock.com

Because Norwegian Dawn is disembarking at Amsterdam, it is essential that the vessel arrive in a timely manner to that port. If the ship were to be delayed because of lock closure, guests’ travel plans to return home could be dramatically disrupted, as would embarkation for the next voyage, a 10-night cruise between Amsterdam and Southampton.

Norwegian Dawn has a guest capacity of 2,340 passengers per voyage, which means 4,000 or more passengers could be impacted by Amsterdam delays.

The Port of Amsterdam implemented this temporary change in scheduling on an as-needed basis in mid-July, and it will continue so long as necessary.

No Compensation Offered

At this time, guests booked on the August 16 sailing with its now-altered itinerary are not being offered any compensation for the change. This is not required, as cruise lines often have to adjust itineraries and ports of call for a variety of circumstances outside the cruise line’s control.

Poor weather, regional tensions, unexpected port traffic, dock damage, and other factors can all impact a cruise ship’s schedule.

According to Norwegian Cruise Line’s Guest Ticket Contract, part 7 section C, the cruise line has the sole discretion to “cancel any scheduled call at any port for any reason and at any time” and no mention is made of compensation for such changes. When cruise passengers book and pay for a cruise, they agree to the terms of that contract.

While the August 16 sailing of Norwegian Dawn will no longer feature Copenhagen, the ship will still be visiting a variety of other amazing destinations in northern Europe, including ports in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany. A total of six ports of call remain on the itinerary – seven if the early arrival into Amsterdam is included.

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