Just when cruising has been slowly returning and more ships are setting sail, Norwegian Cruise Line is canceling upcoming voyages on eight different vessels, some of which will now not be sailing until April, 2022. Passengers are being offered compensation for the changed plans, but the last-minute notice is frustrating to many.
Voyages on 8 Ships Canceled
In an update posted on January 5, 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced cancelations for upcoming sailings on eight of its ships. The following voyages have been affected:
- Norwegian Getaway embarking on January 5, 2022
- Norwegian Pearl with embarkation through and including January 14, 2022
- Norwegian Sky with embarkation through and including February 25,2022
- Pride of America with embarkation through and including February 26, 2022
- Norwegian Jade with embarkation through and including March 3, 2022
- Norwegian Star with embarkation through and including March 19, 2022
- Norwegian Sun with embarkation through and including April 19, 2022
- Norwegian Spirit with embarkation through and including April 23, 2022
While other itinerary modifications or cancelations have not yet been announced, Norwegian’s website travel advisory does state:
“As the global public health environment continues to rapidly evolve and destinations around the world modify their travel requirements or implement new travel restrictions, it is possible that itineraries may need to be modified.”
Each of the affected ships is scheduled to restart sailing after the cancelation dates as follows:
- Norwegian Getaway offering Caribbean itineraries from PortMiami from January 14, 2022
- Norwegian Pearl on a Panama Canal sailing departing from PortMiami on January 17, 2022
- Norwegian Sky offering Caribbean sailings from PortMiami from March 2, 2022
- Pride of America sailing Hawaiian itineraries from Honolulu from March 5, 2022
- Norwegian Jade sailing Greek Isles itineraries from Rome beginning March 30, 2022
- Norwegian Star offering Mediterranean sailings from Barcelona from April 3, 2022
- Norwegian Sun beginning Alaska itineraries from Seattle beginning May 5, 2022
- Norwegian Spirit sailing Hawaii itineraries from Papeete, Tahiti from April 23, 2022
Compensation Options Offered
Guests on the now canceled sailings are being offered several compensation options for their changed vacation plans. All guests will receive a 100% refund of their cruise fare, automatically returned to their original form of payment.
If guests booked using a Future Cruise Credit (FCC), the full value of the FCC will be reapplied to their Latitudes account, with an updated expiration date of January 7, 2023 and a sail date of May 31, 2023. This gives guests a full year to rebook a new Norwegian cruise vacation, and until the end of May 2023 to set sail on that cruise.
Guests who booked using a combination of new payments and FCC will receive a refund for their payment and the same FCC will be returned to their Latitudes account, with the same updated expiration and sail dates.
Additionally, guests on the affected sailings will also receive an additional 10% off a future cruise booking, if they did not book using a similar discount from a previously suspended sailing. Guests may only have one such discount associated with their Latitudes account at a time.
Guests on the Norwegian Getaway sailing that is now canceled – the announcement being made on the day of embarkation – will receive a full refund as well as a 20% off discount for a future cruise booking.
Finally, guests who have Future Cruise Credits they no longer wish to redeem can apply to convert those FCCs into monetary refunds, which will be returned to the original form of payment. Doing so will forfeit any additional FCC-related bonus offers related to the credits being converted to cash.
Why So Many Cancelations?
While there have been no direct announcement as to why Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled so many sailings so abruptly, it is likely related to a variety of COVID-19 influences that are continuing to impact the industry.
Not only are cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant rising worldwide, but more ports of call are tightening restrictions for visiting ships that may show positive cases. Furthermore, tightened testing requirements are making it impossible for ships to visit some ports of call due to narrow testing window restrictions. This creates the need to further adjust itineraries to available ports of call, which may not be able to accommodate additional ships on short notice.
On board ships, quarantine requirements for crew members who test positive – even if asymptomatic – as well as close contacts to positive cases are dramatically impacting how ships are able to offer services, entertainment, and activities. It is possible that Norwegian Cruise Line may reassign crew members to different ships to meet staffing needs as ships restart.
Many cruise passengers are eager to set sail again, but frustrations are mounting with so many last-minute cancelations, en-route itinerary changes, reduced services, and more restrictive onboard atmospheres.
Cruise passengers have been very willing to accommodate testing and vaccination requirements as well as onboard health and safety protocols. As additional changes are made, however, cruise lines may see a shift in bookings as passengers choose to wait out the current crisis rather than set sail immediately with so much uncertainty.