Norwegian Cruise Line has decided to cancel all Asia sailings of Norwegian Sun from October 11, 2022 through and including April 25, 2023.
Instead, the ship will be repositioned to Europe during the upcoming winter and spring seasons, where it will offer roundtrip sailings to the Canary Islands.
Cruises Canceled From Four Asian Ports
In a letter sent to booked guests and travel partners, Norwegian Cruise Line announced the cancelation of Norwegian Sun‘s Asian sailings from October 2022 through April 2023. This includes departures from four homeports: Tokyo, Japan; Singapore; Hong Kong; and Laem Chabang, Thailand.
The email explained the reason for the cancelation as continued uncertainties in the region.
“Given challenging and inconsistent local travel restrictions related to the public health environment in Asia, we have made the decision to reposition Norwegian Sun from Asia to Europe,” the email stated.
While no further details about the travel restrictions were noted in the email, it has been a struggle for the cruise industry to resume operations in Asia because of quickly changing protocols and reactions to COVID-19 case counts in different areas.
The affected sailings range from 5-16 days and were scheduled to have visits throughout the region, including in Cambodia, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, and more.
“We understand the desire to travel now more than ever, so we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” the email concluded.
The 78,309-gross-ton Sun-class vessel will now be offering roundtrip sailings in Europe to the Canary Islands, but details on those departures or full itineraries are not yet available.
The ship is currently sailing 5-9 night roundtrip sailings from Seattle to Alaska, having just resumed service on May 5, 2022 for the highly anticipated Alaska season.
While guests will be understandably disappointed by this decision – many guests hoping to cruise in the region have had several sailings canceled or rescheduled throughout the pandemic – Norwegian Cruise Line is offering compensation.
All guests will receive a full, 100% refund processed back to their original form of payment. This will be done automatically, and should appear in guests’ accounts within 30 business days, though the processing speed will vary for different financial institutions.
If the cruise was booked using a Future Cruise Credit (FCC), the full credit will be returned to passengers’ Latitudes accounts within a week of the cancelation. Furthermore, the book and sail expiration date for that credit will be extended to December 31, 2024.
Guests will also receive an additional 10% FCC based on their cruise fare paid to use as a discount on a future sailing of their choice, if booked by June 3, 2023 and with a sailing date by December 31, 2024.
This will permit guests who are still interested in sailing in Asia to explore the 2023-2024 season of cruises, which will be available for reservations beginning June 16, 2022.
Finally, Norwegian Cruise Line is also offering assistance with change and cancelation fees related to airline arrangements guests may have booked independently. Consideration for up to $300 (USD) per passenger can be requested through the cruise line’s website.
Other Cruise Lines Canceling Asia Sailings
Because of the difficulties with sailings in Asia, other cruise lines have recently made similar cancelations in their respective Asian markets.
Last month, Celebrity Cruises announced the cancelation of 18 Asia sailings, with plans to reposition Celebrity Solstice to the Mexican Riviera from September 2022 through April 2023.
Similarly, Holland America Line has canceled 11 sailings of Westerdam in Asia from September 2022 through February 2023, instead moving the ship to Australia and New Zealand.
Royal Caribbean International has also opted to reposition Voyager of the Seas away from the Asia-Pacific region, where the ship has sailed for the past 10 years, and instead has brought the ship to Europe and will later move it to North America.
As cruise lines are making these decisions months ahead of the now-canceled sailings, impacted guests have plenty of time to choose different cruise destinations to explore.
Hopefully, by the 2023-2024 season, more cruises will be able to resume in Asia with fewer restrictions, bringing eager travelers to this diverse and intriguing region.