Weather Forces MSC Cruise Ship to Avoid Planned Port Visits

MSC Cruises has redirected the December 16, 2023, MSC Meraviglia cruise from the Bahamas to New England and Canada due to severe weather.

In light of expected adverse weather conditions in Florida and the Bahamas, MSC Cruises has revised its December 16, 2023, itinerary for the MSC Meraviglia.

Instead of the planned tropical locales, guests were informed at the last minute that they would instead be visiting New England and Canada.

MSC Meravliglia’s Itinerary Shifts from the Bahamas to New England

MSC Meraviglia, which originally was destined for balmy beaches and warm waters, has been rerouted to the cooler climates of New England and Canada.

The proactive measure comes as a response to forecasts predicting heavy rain and wind gusts up to 40 knots on the original itinerary.

An email to passengers from MSC stated, “To ensure the safety and well-being of everyone on board, we will sail to New England and Canada instead, where we expect to encounter fairer weather conditions that will allow us to offer you the pleasant cruise experience that you expect.”

The 5,400-passenger ship’s 7-night voyage was initially set to visit Port Canaveral; Nassau, Bahamas; and MSC’s private island destination, Ocean Cay. The revised journey will leave from Brooklyn, New York, as planned but will now stop in Boston, where it will be docked for two nights.

It will then continue to Portland, Maine, and St. John, Canada, before circling back to New York, including a day at sea. To align with the new destinations, MSC Cruises has updated its onboard activities program.

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Ship
MSC Meraviglia Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: AlexKuznetsov)

The cancelation comes on the heels of an earlier itinerary adjustment for MSC Meraviglia on December 13, prompted by inclement weather. Instead of visiting Ocean Cay, the ship made an unscheduled detour in Miami that required all passengers to disembark for customs processing.

Read Also: Severe Weather Impacting Multiple Cruise Ships

Guests expressed their frustration, as every passenger was mandated to go through Customs and Border Protection checks before they were permitted to re-board the vessel.

Alternatives for Affected Passengers

Passengers seeking to maintain their original Bahamas travel plans had limited time to reschedule their cruise without any penalty before the cruise departure date, as well as little reprieve for those who had already traveled to New York ahead of departure. 

Those opting to cancel their bookings were offered a full refund in the form of a Future Cruise Credit. Guests wishing a return of funds to their original payment method were told to contact MSC Cruises directly.

While MSC ensured full refunds to passengers’ onboard accounts for pre-booked excursions on the 167,600-ton MSC Meraviglia that were set for the origination destinations, the offerings contrast with more generous compensation packages from other cruise lines for cancellations.

For example, Royal Caribbean recently offered monetary compensation for travel changes and onboard credits for a cancellation due to a private charter. 

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Ship
MSC Meraviglia Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: ArtMediaFactory)

This is not MSC’s first itinerary cancellation, leading to an entirely different destination. MSC Virtuosa’s June 1, 2024, 14-night roundtrip voyage from Southampton to Norway, Iceland, and Ireland was also cancelled, without explicit reason provided.

Guests were instead presented with a 12-night alternative route, also on MSC Virtuosa, to the Canary Islands, Spain, and Portugal. MSC also offered prorated refunds for the two missing nights of sailing.

Looking ahead, MSC Meraviglia has two more “7 Night The Bahamas and Florida” departures scheduled for December from New York. These are scheduled for December 23 and 30. On January 6, the ship will embark on a 20-night extended voyage to the Bahamas and Florida.

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