Norwegian Cruise Line Removing Ports to Lessen Carbon Footprint

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Norwegian Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked aboard another ship with itinerary changes in the name of sustainability. Guests looking forward to sailing on Norwegian Joy from New York City to Virginia Beach and Bermuda in the coming months will now only be visiting Bermuda, as Norfolk has been removed as a port of call from multiple itineraries.

Multiple Cruises Changed for Norwegian Joy

Travel agents and guests booked aboard multiple upcoming cruises on the Breakaway Plus-class Norwegian Joy are being informed of an itinerary change that includes a cancelled port of call. On many of the ship’s scheduled “Bermuda Virginia Beach” sailings, the call in Norfolk, Virginia has been cancelled with no replacement port visit.

Instead, the ship will depart New York City as planned, spend two days at sea en route to Bermuda, enjoy the planned extended stay in that unique tropical destination, then return directly to New York without any other port visits.

A variety of 7-night roundtrip sailings have been impacted by this change, including the following departure dates:

  • May Departures: 21, 28
  • June Departures: 4, 11, 18
  • July Departures: 30
  • August Departures: 6, 13

Additional sailings may also be impacted as Norwegian Cruise Line continues to refine itineraries and schedules, and booked guests should stay in close communication with their travel agent and the cruise line via email and text message to be sure they are updated as plans may be adjusted.

Norwegian Joy Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Igor Grochev /

It should be noted that Norwegian Joy‘s classic “Bermuda” itineraries remain unaffected, as Norfolk was never included as a port of call on those sailings, but the ship will now be operating many of the “Bermuda Virginia Beach” sailings without the “Virginia Beach” component.

Norwegian Joy weighs in at 167,725 gross tons and can welcome as many as 3,883 guests aboard at double occupancy, with 1,700 crew members to provide excellent service along the way.

Why Remove a Port of Call?

Sustainability has been cited as the reasoning behind the change.

“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,” the notification email read. “To support this mission, we have optimized our arrival and departure times.”

This is identical language in letters to booked guests announcing different changes for sailings aboard Norwegian Getaway. For that ship, changes included removing Puerto Plata as a port of call for the ship’s January 8 sailing, as well as adjusting visit times in other ports of call.

Similarly, Norwegian Getaway also had its call to San Juan, Puerto Rico shortened by one hour for the ship’s January 20 sailing.

Removing a port of call permits a ship to reduce speed, which in turn promotes better fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

It is also possible that the changes could be somewhat related to new speed limits introduced to protect endangered north Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), though this is unlikely because the whales’ typical migration season is from mid-November through mid-April, well outside the dates of Norwegian Joy‘s adapted sailings, and the speed limits will not be in effect.

Right whales birth their calves in southern waters, however, and Virginia is well within the animals’ typical range, even if they are not migrating at the time of the peak cruise season. It has been proven that not only are collisions a threat to the whales, but ocean noise can also be detrimental to the whales’ communication and ability to find food, attract mates, and navigate.

Considerations for other wildlife may also play a role in these itinerary adaptations, with other marine animals such as sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, and other wildlife all impacted by cruise ships and increased marine traffic.

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