Three Sailings Changed for Norwegian Cruise Ship, Port Dropped

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Norwegian Cruise Line has reached out to travel agents and booked guests to alert them to itinerary changes for three upcoming sailings of Norwegian Breakaway. Every port of call on each of the 7-night itineraries has been adjusted, and one port has been removed from the schedule altogether.

Itinerary Changes for Norwegian Breakaway

Three upcoming cruises for Norwegian Breakaway have had their itineraries significantly adjusted, with each port of call seeing changes and one port altogether removed from the itinerary. The impacted sailings are the ship’s May 12, May 19, and May 26 departures from Miami, sailing Caribbean routes.

The original itineraries were to have visited Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic; St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.

“Given recent guest feedback, and to accommodate certain circumstances including but not limited to fuel optimization as part of our commitment to the environment and sustainability efforts, as well as global maritime regulations, we have adjusted the original itinerary,” the email notification explained.

Each port of call is impacted, though the days visiting remain the same. Each of these cruises is a 7-night sailing with a Sunday departure, and Monday is scheduled as a day at sea. The visit to Puerto Plata will now be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, instead of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. as previously planned.

The next port, St. Thomas on Wednesday, will now be from 1-7:30 p.m. instead of the original schedule of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Thursday was to have been a visit to Tortola from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., but that port has been removed from all three itineraries altogether, and no substitute port has been added in its place.

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: picture.factory / Shutterstock

Instead, the time spent at Great Stirrup Cay on Saturday will now be a full 12 hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., instead of the original schedule of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Read Also: Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas – What You Need to Know

With the loss of 1 hour in Puerto Plata, the loss of 1.5 hours in St. Thomas, the loss of all 8 hours for Tortola, and the gain of 4 hours in Great Stirrup Cay, guests on these sailings will now have 6.5 fewer hours in port for the entire cruise. Norwegian Getaway‘s departure and arrival times to Miami remain unchanged.

Compensation Offered

Because these adjustments may significantly impact guests’ travel plans for the time they plan on spending in port, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering an onboard credit as compensation. The credit will be applied as $50 per person for the first two guests in each stateroom.

“As a gesture of appreciation for choosing to sail with us and as a genuine acknowledgement of the inconvenience caused, we have arranged a $100 non-refundable onboard credit per stateroom,” the email explained.

Furthermore, all pre-booked shore tours for Tortola will be automatically cancelled and fully refunded, while tours for the other ports will have their times adjusted as necessary to accommodate the new schedule. Guests who have booked independent tour arrangements will need to contact their tour operator for cancellation or rescheduling as necessary.

Why the Change?

Other than “to accommodate certain circumstances including but not limited to fuel optimization” no explanation has been given for such a dramatic itinerary change.

Norwegian Cruise Line does frequently make similar adjustments to various itineraries for fuel optimization or to “enhance the guest experience.” Norwegian Getaway – sister ship to Norwegian Breakaway – has had her current sailing modified with a slight delay due to “global maritime regulations, as well as whale zone speed restrictions enroute from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic to New York City.”

Norwegian Breakaway in Miami
Photo Credit: Theodore P. Webb / Shutterstock

Since Norwegian Breakaway is also sailing to Puerto Plata, the same whale zone speed restrictions might be one of the factors leading to these itinerary changes.

It is of interesting concern that Tortola is the port being removed from the itinerary, when five cruise guests have failed to return to their ship – Norwegian Sky – after visiting that port on two different cruises in the past month.

At the moment, the US State Department lists the British Virgin Islands as a Level 1 advisory with no unusual precautions necessary. The region is not noted for excessive crime or other difficulties, and there is no indication that crime might be a factor in the itinerary changes for Norwegian Breakaway.

While future itineraries for Norwegian Breakaway are not yet adjusted, guests booked on similar sailings should remain alert to the possibility of similar changes. The 145,655-gross-ton ship is homeported from Miami through mid-August, offering very similar 7-night cruises.

Norwegian Breakaway can welcome 3,963 travelers at double occupancy, and is also home to approximately 1,600 international crew members.

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