Norwegian Cruise Line Explains After Switching Port

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Norwegian Cruise Line has altered the itinerary of Norwegian Star, cancelling its planned visit to Portsmouth and opting for Southampton, England, instead. Norwegian Star would have been the largest ship to enter Portsmouth International Port.

Opting for Southampton Over Portsmouth

In a move that has disappointed travelers and business owners alike, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced the cancellation of Norwegian Star’s scheduled embarkation from Portsmouth International Port.

The highly anticipated visits were expected to mark a significant milestone as Norwegian Star would have been the largest cruise ship to dock at the port.

Instead, NCL has opted to reroute the ship to Southampton, located just 19 miles from Portsmouth, affecting hundreds of tourists who had planned to embark on a 10-night “British Isles: Ireland & England” cruise. Business owners hoping to cash in on the 2,348 potential passengers and more than 1,000 crew members visiting Portsmouth ahead of the May 8 cruise and its May 18 return are equally dismayed.

Norwegian Star Cruise Ship
Norwegian Star Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Lukassek / Shutterstock)

An NCL spokesperson commented on the decision in Portsmouth’s The News, stating, “We are committed to providing exceptional vacation experiences, both aboard our ships and by taking our guests to some of the most sought-after destinations around the world. 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.”

She further explained,As such, Norwegian Star’s turnaround port on May 8 and May 18, 2024, was changed from Portsmouth to Southampton, England, to enhance the overall guest experience during the embarkation and disembarkation process.”

Portsmouth Record At Risk

Due to its close proximity to Southampton, along the southern coast of England, passengers will not have to travel too far for the departure of the upcoming cruise. The cancellation also affects Norwegian Star’s May 18 sailing, a 12-night “Norway & Iceland” adventure, now embarking from Southampton before traveling to multiple ports in Scotland, Norway, and Iceland.

However, the unexpected cancellation of the 91,740-gross-ton Norwegian Star’s visit to Portsmouth has cast a shadow over the port’s ambitious projections for 2024. Initially set to be a landmark year with record-breaking cruise passenger numbers, the port faces the challenge of maintaining momentum in the wake of this setback.

Southampton Port
Southampton Port (Photo Credit: Chris Jenner)

In 2024, Portsmouth International Port anticipated setting new records, announcing at the start of the year that 10 cruise ships would be debuting at the port. It estimated approximately 155,000 passengers to its cruise terminal, which would be a record high.

This loss brings the estimated passenger count down by over 7,000.

Broader Impact of Norwegian’s Itinerary Changes

The cancellation of Norwegian Star’s visit to Portsmouth is not an isolated incident. NCL has recently announced a series of cancellations and alterations affecting select sailings across seven of its ships.

The reasons behind these widespread changes range from logistical challenges to efforts aimed at enhancing guest experiences. For many passengers, the adjustments have led to alterations in vacation plans, with some needing to modify their travel days or arrange travel to new embarkation ports. Such is the case for passengers on Norwegian Star.

Read Also: Norwegian Cruise Ships – Newest to Oldest

Additionally, affected cruises include Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sky, and Norwegian Viva, the cruise line’s newest ship. That announcement on March 28 included Norwegian Dawn in the lineup of ships receiving adjustment.

At that time, Norwegian Cruise Line said it would announce replacement itineraries in two weeks and promised that affected guests would receive full refunds and a 10% discount towards an alternative cruise.

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