Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a significant itinerary change to its upcoming sailing of the Norwegian Joy just days before its departure on March 11, 2023.
The cruise line has cited congestion concerns at the port as the reason for the change. The port change is part of a long list of changes that Norwegian Cruise Line has made to itineraries for its cruise ships. On March 13, only one other cruise ship was scheduled to be in the port of Roatan.
Norwegian Joy Itinerary Change
Norwegian Cruise Line has decided not to include a call to Roatan, Honduras, in its Norwegian Joy itinerary for the upcoming March 11 sailing.
The original itinerary for the Norwegian Joy included stops in Mexico, Honduras, and Belize. The stop in Roatán has now been replaced with Bimini in the Bahamas. The guests were notified of the change, citing unforeseen circumstances and crowding at the port.
Only one other cruise ship was due in port in Roatan on March 13, the 2124-guest Carnival Paradise. Roatan regularly has days with many more cruise ships in port. For example, on March 15, four ships are scheduled to visit the port: Allure of the Seas, Carnival Glory, Carnival Pride, and Norwegian Dawn.
The modified itinerary for the Norwegian Joy departure from Miami, Florida, on March 11, will be followed by a day at sea. Cozumel, Mexico, is next on the itinerary on March 13 instead of March 16. Further calls include Harvest Caye, Belize, on March 14, and Costa Maya, Mexico, on March 15. Following a day at sea, Norwegian Joy will visit Bimini in the Bahamas on March 17.
Besides the switches to the days and ports, timings have also been changed. The Harvest Caye visit will be an hour later on arrival and departure, while the visit to Cozumel will now be from 6 AM until 4 PM. Norwegian Joy was initially scheduled to be in port until 8 PM. The timing change now potentially disrupts plans for guests to go out for dinner or plan more extended tours in the popular Mexican port.
Although the changes are unfortunate, guests must accept the changes made by Norwegian Cruise Line. Legally, a cruise line can change the scheduled itineraries for any number of reasons, which the cruise line has taken advantage of in the last few months.
Efficiency and Sustainability or Financial Gain?
Norwegian Cruise Line’s decision to change the itinerary of the Norwegian Joy just days before its scheduled sailing is part of a trend of itinerary changes that the cruise line has been making to become more efficient and sustainable.
This trend is aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of cruises, addressing issues such as weather, port congestion, and unscheduled dry docks:
- The April 13 departure of Norwegian Sky was adjusted to “reduce its carbon footprint.”
- Norwegian Cruise Line has changed itineraries for the Norwegian Getaway across two different cruises, with one change made due to weather.
- Norwegian Epic‘s upcoming March 19 sailing is changed, with one port of call being canceled and another extended. The affected cruise is a 7-night roundtrip Caribbean sailing from Puerto Rico.
- Guests who booked aboard June 8, 2023, sailing of Norwegian Sky will experience a significantly different itinerary. The ports of call and the length of every port stay have been adjusted in the name of the cruise line’s global sustainability program, Sail & Sustain.
- Norwegian Cruise Line cancelled a month of sailings for the Norwegian Joy in early 2024 due to the ship’s dry dock. This includes four affected sailings, including two 15-night voyages between Miami and Los Angeles, a 5-night Mexican Riviera getaway, and a 7-night sailing from Miami to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico.
- Due to dry dock, the cruise line also cancelled multiple sailings for the Norwegian Escape cruise ship in June last year.
While these itinerary changes may be seen as being driven by financial gain in some cases, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Sail & Sustain program highlights the company’s commitment to the environment and the communities that it visits. The program promotes sustainable practices across the company’s operations, including fuel and energy conservation, waste reduction, and recycling.
However, it’s worth noting that itinerary changes can also result from financial considerations, such as maximizing the time guests spend onboard the ships while at sea. This would allow the cruise line to increase onboard revenue from the casino, onboard shops, and food and beverage programs.