Norwegian Cruise Line has notified guests booked for a 14-night sailing aboard Norwegian Breakaway departing November 6, 2022 that regular maintenance will require the ship to reduce speed, and as a result, two ports of call are being dropped.
Norwegian Breakaway Itinerary Change
Norwegian Breakaway‘s November 6 sailing is a repositioning cruise from New York to New Orleans, featuring a broad array of port visits including Aruba, Panama, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and more.
Originally, the ship was scheduled for a total of seven different ports of call, but guests have now been notified that two ports of call are being canceled, with no substitute ports arranged.
In an email sent to booked guests and travel partners, the cruise line has stated the following:
“It is always our intention to maintain original itineraries. However, at times, unforeseen circumstances require us to make modifications. As a result of required maintenance, Norwegian Breakaway will observe reduced speeds.”
The email goes on to outline the exact itinerary changes, which include removing Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, as well as Cozumel, Mexico from the schedule entirely.
Furthermore, the ship will have less time in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, though that change is minimal – only arriving 30 minutes later than originally planned, now 8:30 a.m. instead of 8 a.m., but with no change to the ship’s evening departure at 6 p.m.
In total, the ship has now gone from 7 ports of call to 5, and increased the sea days from the original 6 to a total of 8.
Other than “required maintenance” there has been no explanation of why the ship must sail at reduced speeds for this itinerary. The email does clarify that the ship’s safety is not compromised in any way.
Hotel operations as well as dining services and entertainment will also not be affected, and guests will have plenty to enjoy aboard the 145,655-gross-ton cruise ship during such a unique sailing.
Norwegian Breakaway measures 1,068 feet (326 meters) long, with 18 decks. The ship has the new Syd Norman’s Pour House rock lounge venue, as well as The Waterfront, a quarter-mile oceanfront promenade for unimpeded sea views.
Guests can also enjoy the ship’s Aqua Park and Sports Complex, featuring the thrills of zip lines, water slides, and The Plank, extending eight feet (2.4 meters) out over the ship’s edge.
Other guest favorites onboard include the casino, spa, thermal suite, multiple specialty restaurants, pools, and much more. Norwegian Breakaway can welcome 3,959 guests at double occupancy, with 1,657 international crew members offering superior service.
Compensation Offered, But Not Cancelation
As compensation for the now canceled ports of call, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering guests onboard credit. While the exact amounts may vary depending on the staterooms booked and how many guests are in each stateroom, most passengers are receiving $150 per person.
It should be noted that cruise lines have full authority to change, reschedule, or cancel ports of call at anytime, with no requirement to offer any compensation beyond refunding port fees and taxes as well as related pre-paid services, such as pre-booked excursions arranged through the cruise line.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s guest ticket contract, Section 7(c), Itinerary Deviation, clearly states that the ship may “deviate from the purchased voyage or the normal course for any purpose” which includes the right to “cancel any scheduled call at any port for any reason and at any time.”
For the changes to Norwegian Breakaway‘s sailing, the cruise line is offering the onboard credit, but is not offering guests the opportunity to cancel the sailing or the option to transfer to a different sailing without stiff penalties.
Those types of options had been offered for free by many cruise lines during the early days of the cruise industry’s post-pandemic restart, when vaccination and testing requirements, as well as ongoing changes in COVID-19 variants, remained widespread.
Now, many cruise lines are tightening their policies once again, even while cruisers may still be accustomed to the more forgiving policies that had helped entice travelers back to sailing.
Because of this, all cruise travelers should carefully consider whether or not travel insurance may be a good addition to their booking, which could permit them greater flexibility if a ship’s itinerary changes.