Norwegian Cruise Ship Skips Private Island Due to Wind

High winds have caused a cancellation of the Norwegian Escape's visit to NCL's private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay.

Norwegian Escape has been forced to skip the planned visit to Great Stirrup Cay on Friday, January 27, 2023, due to high winds that have made the visit too hazardous. Instead, the ship is spending the day at sea en route back to its homeport.

Norwegian Escape Skips Private Island

The Breakaway-class Norwegian Escape will not be calling on Great Stirrup Cay as planned on its current itinerary, due to poor weather conditions that make the port unsafe for docking. The ship is instead heading back to Port Canaveral, where the sailing will end on schedule on Saturday, January 28.

Great Stirrup Cay is Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island destination in The Bahamas, offering exclusive access to pristine beaches, watersports, and island vibes for visiting guests.

Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock

The private island is a tender port, however, requiring guests to use small boats to transfer from the larger cruise ship into a small, sheltered harbor. The approach to the docks can be challenging to navigate in rough weather, and high swells can make the journey back and forth from the cruise ship very unpleasant for any guests susceptible to motion sickness.

Rocking tender boats can also be very hazardous for guests to board from the cruise ship’s gangway.

Norwegian Escape was scheduled to be at Great Stirrup Cay from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but instead is spending a leisurely day at sea on its way back to Port Canaveral. The ship is finishing a 7-night sailing, having already called on several other ports, including St. Thomas and Tortola.

At the time the ship was scheduled to arrive at Great Stirrup Cay, winds in the region were recorded at 17 knots (20 miles per hour / 31 kilometers per hour), with gusts as high as 23 knots (26 mph / 43 kph). Wind conditions are expected to worsen throughout the day and into Saturday, January 28.

Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

Pre-booked shore tours for Great Stirrup Cay will be automatically refunded to guests’ accounts, and the ship’s entertainment staff will work hard throughout the day to add extra games and activities onboard so everyone can find something to enjoy.

The new Norwegian Prima is scheduled to visit Great Stirrup Cay on Saturday, and may be similarly diverted if weather conditions do not improve. Guests on that 7-night sailing should listen for announcements from their captain and cruise director if changes need to be made.

Above all else, cruise lines keep the safety of their guests and crew members as their primary concern, and will always adapt itineraries if necessary to ensure a safe voyage. While the reasons for any

Other Private Islands

Great Stirrup Cay is just 1.5 miles east (2.4 kilometers) of another popular cruise line private island, Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay.

CocoCay, however, has a large pier and ships do not use tenders to transport guests to the island. Because vessels can safely dock even in some wind, the two ships calling on CocoCay today – Jewel of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas – have arrived without incident.

While the Caribbean can be very attractive in the winter months as a delightful escape from harsher northern weather, unpredictable winds and storm systems can still cause disruptions to cruise itineraries, even in what may seem to be a tropical paradise.

Guests should always be flexible with travel plans and port expectations, and never take such delays, diversions, or cancellations out on crew members who, after all, have nothing to do with weather patterns.

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