Norwegian Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked on an upcoming sailing of Norwegian Star that the ship now has itinerary revisions that completely change the destinations and focus of the cruise.
Rather than calling on seven ports in Ireland as it circumnavigates the Emerald Isle, the ship will now visit seven ports in seven different countries, not one of which is Ireland.
Massive Itinerary Change for Norwegian Star
The October 10, 2024 sailing of Norwegian Star has been completely revised with all new ports of call, according to a notification email sent to impacted guests and travel partners.
“While we try to maintain original itineraries as much as possible, at times modifications are made to optimize the itinerary or to accommodate certain circumstances,” the email explains. “As such, due to recently imposed restrictions in Ireland, which do not allow tendering operations from October through April, we have revised the original itinerary.”
The changes to the 10-night cruise are extreme, as the sailing was originally to have traveled completely around Ireland to enjoy an in-depth focus on Irish culture, history, and natural beauty. Now, the sailing will not be visiting Ireland at all.
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Instead of calling on Waterford, Dingle, Galway, Killybegs, Belfast, Dublin, and Cork, the ship will now be visiting Paris (France), Brussels (Belgium), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Oslo (Norway), Copenhagen (Denmark), Berlin (Germany), and Helsingborg (Sweden).
The only unchanged port on the ship’s itinerary is its homeport of Southampton, though the return time at the end of the cruise is now listed as 8 a.m. rather than 5 a.m., which could impact travel plans for debarking guests.
Norwegian Cruise Line does try to put a positive spin on the new itinerary, as it will allow guests “to fully immerse [themselves] in the culture of Northern Europe.”
No Options Offered
Guests who have received the notification letter are reporting that there are no options offered for rescheduling to a different cruise or otherwise rebooking onto a comparable Irish itinerary at a different date, nor is there any mention of cancellation options.
While all cruise travelers understand that many factors can cause itineraries to fluctuate, this extreme modification is, in effect, a completely new cruise and a very different experience than the one travelers would have expected.
The new itinerary is certainly attractive for guests who may never have sailed northern Europe or who wish to visit a variety of European capitals on one expansive trip, but it will not provide the in-depth experience of a single culture that the original itinerary offered.
Furthermore, the new itinerary would be of no interest at all for a cruiser whose primary desire was to enjoy the Emerald Isle, as the revised cruise is not visiting Ireland at all.
The notification email references “recently imposed restrictions” on seasonal tendering operations in Ireland, stating that tendering is not allowed from October through April. The reasoning behind this is unknown at this time, but could be related to severe winter weather and the safety of small boats at that time, or as part of seasonal environmental protection measures.
On Norwegian Cruise Line’s list of tender ports, only Dun Laoghaire (Dublin) and Cork are listed as tender ports in Ireland. Cork, in fact, is listed as also being a dock port, which would depend on the exact port of call date and local conditions.
The cruise line has offered no explanation as to why the Irish itinerary could not be modified to eliminate tender ports, while still calling on the other Ireland destinations.
Additional days at sea could have been substituted for the missed ports, or time in other ports of call might have been able to be extended to compensate without avoiding Ireland altogether.
This is the second time in recent days that Norwegian Cruise Line has admitted to issues with tender ports. In addition to this massive itinerary revision, the current sailing of Norwegian Dawn did not initially list tender ports appropriately on the reservation system, which may cause confusion and inconvenience to guests unable to tender.
Guests booked on other upcoming cruises to Ireland should stay in close contact with their cruise line about tendering restrictions or itinerary changes to be sure their cruise plans and expectations are accurate.