Guests aboard the Sky Princess Cruise ship have encountered an unexpected challenge on their journey. The cruise departed from Southampton, England on May 13 and was scheduled to visit a selection of picturesque Norwegian and Icelandic ports before returning to England on May 27.
However, weather conditions, a medical emergency, and an upcoming storm have resulted in significant changes to this schedule, much to the disappointment of those on board.
Unpredictable Weather Forces Itinerary Changes
The original itinerary of a Sky Princess cruise that departed Southampton in the UK on May 13 promised a diverse Nordic exploration. The cruise started well, with idyllic ports such as Skjolden, Olden, and Alesund in Norway.
The voyage onboard the 145,281 gross tons Royal-class cruise ship was then set to continue to a selection of Icelandic ports such as Akureyri, Isafjord, Grundarfjordur, and Reykjavik. Regrettably, the unpredictable weather patterns of the region have forced several changes to these plans, with the captain placing the safety of the guests first.
First on the Icelandic list was Akureyri, a much-anticipated port nestled at the end of Iceland’s longest fjord. However, due to adverse weather conditions, the visit to Akureyri had to be cancelled, much to the disappointment of the passengers.
Next was Isafjordur, known for its enchanting fjords and rich Viking history. This port was initially struck off the itinerary due to the weather conditions. However, Sky Princess was able to make a U-turn and visit Isafjordur as the weather improved, providing a silver lining to the many changes.
The picturesque port of Grundarfjordur was also originally on the itinerary. This quaint town is nestled between a mountain range and the ocean, making it a unique stop. However, unfavorable weather conditions also led to this stop’s cancellation.
Finally, Reykjavik, Iceland’s vibrant capital city, was meant to be a highlight of the journey—a much-anticipated destination for passengers eager to experience the city’s rich history, cuisine, and culture.
Unfortunately, due to the persistently adverse weather, the visit for May 23 has already been scrapped, adding to the list of weather-imposed changes.
Surely, That’s It?
Adding to the complexity, a visit to Akureyri, which had initially been cancelled due to weather, had to be reinstated on an emergency basis. Despite battling strong winds, the ship had to return to port due to a medical emergency onboard. Is this all? Not likely.
With weather reports for May 23 predicting winds of up to 50 miles per hour, gusts of up to 70 miles per hour, and towering wave heights of over 33 feet, the journey remains fraught with difficulties.
The weather outlook for May 24, when the 3,660-guest Sky Princess is sailing back to Southampton, offers little relief from these conditions, with improvements only expected on the evening of May 24. The ship is scheduled to arrive at the British homeport on May 27.
This type of weather is not uncommon for the region, but the timing has been particularly unfortunate for the guests on this cruise. Icelandic ports are notoriously hard to get in and out of, mainly due to the sudden changes in weather conditions that this remote island experiences.
Impact on Guests
The repeated alterations to the itinerary have had a notable impact on the guests. Many passengers had organized their own tours with external companies. These plans were disrupted as guests found themselves needing to cancel and rebook their tours in line with the changing itinerary, adding an extra layer of complication to their cruise experience.
Fortunately, if guests booked their shore excursions through the cruise line, they will usually be refunded for any costs incurred for the missed tours. However, for those that do have arrangements with outside companies, it’s up to the Icelandic tour operators whether or not the missed tours will indeed be refunded.
Worth Reading: Rough Seas on a Cruise Ship – How They Handle it
In addition to the guests onboard the Sky Princess who were experiencing challenges with their current cruise itinerary, it is worth noting that some guests have booked a back-to-back cruise departing after this one. Unfortunately for them, the weather forecast does not look great around the Norwegian coast next week.