Cruise lines can usually change itineraries at will and often do for various reasons. Whether that is because of weather conditions, scheduling issues, or double bookings at ports, there could be any number of reasons, and typically, guests have little choice but to accept those changes.
In this case, Norwegian Cruise Line has adjusted the itinerary for the Norwegian Getaway in January and gone as far as removing a call to Taino Bay, Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic. The cruise line says it’s to reduce its carbon footprint as part of its sustainability program.
Norwegian Getaway Itinerary Change
Norwegian Cruise Line sent out a letter to guests booked on the January 8 sailing for Norwegian Getaway on December 20, informing them of several itinerary changes that have been made.
In the letter, the cruise line states that these changes have been made to support the various initiatives the company has made to reduce the carbon footprint the company has.
The statement said the following: “Our company is committed to driving a positive impact on society and the environment. As part of our global sustainability program, Sail & Sustain, we are continually seeking opportunities to reduce our overall carbon footprint and recently committed to pursuing net zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations and value chain by 2050.”
“To support this mission, we have optimized our arrival and departure times. We appreciate your understanding and support of this important sustainability initiative.”
The changes include a shorter stay in St. Johns, Antigua; a more extended stay in St. Thomas; and Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled the call to Taino Bay, Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic on January 17.
Even though the cruise line sent out a letter regarding the itinerary adjustments, the voyage is still for sale on the Norwegian Cruise Line website and includes the call to Puerto Plata on January 17.
Why No Puerto Plata?
Sailing slower is an excellent way to save on fuel and is typically highly effective in minimizing the carbon footprint. However, there could be a different reason for not sailing to Puerto Plata.
In March 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape ran aground while departing Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Since then, the port has been busy dredging the entry to Taino Bay, where cruise ships typically dock. Norwegian Cruise Line has been conducting a series of studies to see whether sailing into Taino Bay is safe.
The Taino Bay Port Authority revealed this on December 26: “Taino Bay informs you that the schedule of ship arrivals to the port is subject to change without exceptions. In this regard, we inform you that the Norwegian Cruises Line ships were not and are not confirmed for the month of December.”
“This is due to a series of studies and simulations that the shipping company is performing to carry out successful operations, which will be at the beginning of the first quarter when they will be integrated into the calendar, bringing more cruise passengers to Puerto Plata.”
So while Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships could not visit in December, chances are that they will be visiting Puerto Plata in January, depending on the success of the studies that are being undertaken.
The cancelation of Puerto Plata could be a situation where Norwegian believed a call would not be possible, but this call is now under discussion again. Whatever the decision will be, it is certainly understandable that guests are voicing their concerns over the lack of communication.