Threat of Icebergs Cancels Ports for Norwegian Cruise Ship

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Guests aboard the Norwegian Dawn transatlantic crossing are not going to enjoy as many ports of call as they planned for, as just one day after setting sail, the ship’s master has notified passengers that two ports visits are unable to be kept on the itinerary – one due to icebergs and another due to weather.

Some compensation is being provided, but not all guests are pleased with the result, given that two full ports are being cancelled.

Norwegian Dawn Transatlantic Sailing Adjusted

Norwegian Dawn departed on her transatlantic repositioning sailing between New York and Southampton on Thursday, April 20, 2023.

The very next day, guests received letters in their staterooms notifying them that two upcoming ports were being cancelled – St. Pierre & Miquelon, as well as St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Both ports are northeast of New York along the route to Iceland, but are currently posing hazardous conditions for visiting cruise ships.

“Unfortunately, due to the presence of icebergs near St. John’s, Newfoundland and forecasted adverse weather conditions enroute to Reykjavik, Iceland, our itinerary has been revised,” the email, signed by the ship’s captain, Asen Gyurov, explained.

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship
Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Renatas Repcinskas / Shutterstock)

Norwegian Dawn was to have called on St. Pierre & Miquelon on Sunday, April 23 from 12:30-8 p.m., and on St. John’s on Monday, April 24 from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The two ports of call are approximately 260 miles (418 kilometers) apart for sailing distance, but just 185 miles (298 km) in a straight line measurement.

Weather in the region is forecast with showers and strong winds reaching 20 miles per hour (32 kilometers per hour) or higher on the previously scheduled port days, conditions that can make either docking or tendering too dangerous.

Furthermore, a visit on such poor weather days would be a very disappointing experience for guests and could result in cancelled excursions.

The ship was able to visit Halifax, Nova Scotia, successfully on Saturday, April 22, and the remainder of the ports of call are unchanged at this time.

During the 14-night cruise, Norwegian Dawn will also call on Reykjavik, Iceland; Belfast and Dublin in Ireland, and Paris in France, before arriving in Southampton on Thursday, May 4, 2023.

Compensation Offered

Because two ports of call are cancelled with no alternative ports being offered, Norwegian Cruise Line is providing guests with $25 of onboard credit each for the first and second guests in each stateroom (maximum of $50 per stateroom). That credit is non-refundable, but can be used for onboard purchases.

All shore excursions booked through the cruise line for the now-cancelled ports of call are being automatically cancelled and fully refunded to guests’ onboard accounts.

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock

There is no word on whether taxes and fees may be refunded for the missed ports, and not all guests onboard are pleased with the compensation offer, considering the ship will now spend half of the lengthy sailing – a full seven days – at sea.

It must be noted, however, that any cruise line can alter a ship’s itinerary for any reason, and many cruises lose ports of call due to weather.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Guest Ticket Contract explicitly outlines that the cruise line may “cancel any scheduled call at any port for any reason and at any time before, during or after sailing of the vessel.”

Are Icebergs Really a Threat?

The idea that icebergs might be of concern in late April can be a surprise to travelers who may be accustomed to setting sail in more tropical destinations, but icebergs are a real threat to cruise ship safety and navigation throughout the year.

In late June 2022, Norwegian Sun hit a small iceberg while sailing in the Hubbard Glacier area, resulting in a mid-cruise cancellation and several cruises cancelled afterward while the ship underwent repairs.

Furthermore, one of the world’s most famous cruise ships – Titanicstruck an iceberg and sank in mid-April 1912, roughly 550 miles (885 km) southeast of Newfoundland; well south of Norwegian Dawn‘s itinerary route.

With these ports of call cancellations, the 92,250-gross-ton Norwegian Dawn can take a much safer route and be sure guests enjoy their transatlantic crossing in comfort.

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