Norwegian Cruise Line guests on the current January 3 Norwegian Pearl sailing have been informed that the voyage has been immediately canceled, and the ship is returning to the US. It comes as several COVID cases were identified among the crew members.
Norwegian Pearl Returns to Miami Due COVID Cases Among the Crew
The cruise line is taking no chances and has decided to cancel Norwegian Pearl’s current voyage, which started from Miami, Florida, on January 3. The ship is returning to its homeport due to several COVID cases among the crew. The specific number of cases was not detailed in the letter sent to guests onboard.
NCL said in the letter, “Today we identified several COVID-19 positive cases within our crew onboard Norwegian Pearl, which is sailing with 100% vaccinated guests and crew, most being asymptomatic and being monitored by our medical team. All affected crew and close contacts are currently in isolation.”
Norwegian Pearl is now scheduled to arrive in Maimi on January 6, and all guests will have to disembark. With the ship arriving home earlier, it will also allow for further sanitation and cleaning ready for the January 14 departure to the Bahamas.
The cruise line continues to say in the letter, “Norwegian Pearl’s January 3rd, 2022 sailing has been canceled and we will be returning to Miami to disembark all guests on January 6th, 2022. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, as we understand now more than ever the desire to travel and reconnect with the places and people, we’ve missed most.”
The ship was originally scheduled to sail an eleven-day voyage, and that was still the case until January 4, when guests were informed of the cancellation. Norwegian Pearl was set to visit Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Costa Maya, and NCL’s private island of Harvest Caye in Belize.
With cases already on board so early in the voyage, the situation would no doubt have become a lot worse by the time the cruise was scheduled to end on January 14. As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted, all cruise ships operating in the US with guests have positive cases on board. Cruise lines do have protocols and procedures in place to deal with these situations, including Norwegian Cruise Line, which just recently altered its protocols.
Guests on the current sailing will undoubtedly be very disappointed that their voyage is now canceled with the Norwegian Pearl returning to Miami. NCL is offering compensation to make up for this, starting with a full refund that will automatically be returned to the original form of payment.
If the voyage was purchased using a Future Cruise Credit, that will automatically be added back onto the account to be used for another sailing in the future. In addition to the typical refund, NCL is offering choices for when guests rebook their cruise vacation.
The first option is a 100% Future Cruise Credit that can be reused for any voyage through May 31, 2022. The second option is 70% off the second guest for a limited time only. Guests can use the 70% off option to book a new cruise by January 31, 2022, on any sailing through 2024.
The third option allows guests to use the “TAKE ALL!” offering, which includes the cruise line’s all five Free at Sea amenities, including a free Wi-Fi package, free specialty dining, a free unlimited beverage package, free shore excursion credit, and reduced rates for family and friends, all worth up to $4,000 per person.
The final option is a $150 Free Credit + Lower Deposit as long as guests purchase a $150 Cruise First certificate toward the next cruise. It means the cruise line will match this with an additional $150 credit.
This comes during a worrying time for the cruise industry as the Omicron variant spreads and some ports have already denied ships. For Norwegian Cruise Line, it has been especially concerning today as Norwegian Getaway’s January 5th sailing from Miami was canceled less than 24 hours before departure due to COVID.