A passenger aboard Norwegian Star sailing at the southern tip of South America with scenic viewing in Antarctica is posting social media videos about the change in the ship’s itinerary, wondering about unclear information from Norwegian Cruise Line and why the ship’s destinations have been changed without explanation from the cruise line.
Viral Videos Seeking Explanation From Cruise Line
A woman currently aboard Norwegian Star has claimed the cruise line altered the once-in-a-lifetime itinerary and is seeking an explanation from Norwegian Cruise Line.
The woman’s name has not been revealed, but she is posting on TikTok under username ruinedvacation, with just a few videos related to her current cruise. Between her first two videos detailing her concerns, she has amassed more than 3.1 million views as others tune in to the dramatic situation.
“Our ship is not going to Antarctica. They secretively changed the name of this cruise yesterday,” the woman said, referencing the description of the cruise on the cruise line’s app in a video posted on February 9, 2024.
She claims to have spoken to Guest Services onboard and learned that the ship’s itinerary was changed for “operational reasons” by Norwegian Cruise Line headquarters in Miami.
“We feel we’re being cheated, being scammed,” she said. “Everyone on this ship has paid a lot of money to cruise to Antarctica, not to do a round trip South America at sea.”
Norwegian Star Itinerary
Norwegian Star is currently sailing a 14-night cruise roundtrip from Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the trip, calls to ports in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, the Shetland Islands, and the Falkland Islands all add up to an amazing getaway.
What is not amazing passengers, including the woman posting the videos, is the change in the ship’s planned scenic cruising. As has been done for several of Norwegian Star‘s Antarctic itineraries this season, ports of call have been shifted and likewise, the ship’s scenic cruising locations have also been altered.
The video shows a large crowd gathered in the ship’s lobby near the guest services desk, with security in the crowd seeking to keep everyone calm.
“We are being dismissed, ignored, refused answers,” the woman said. “We’ve paid too much money, we’re too smart, and we’re too angry to just order another cocktail and sit down and accept the fact that our money has vanished into Norwegian Cruise Line’s pockets.”
In a follow up video, the woman shares an update with more explanation about the ship’s change of itinerary, acknowledging that crew members did eventually speak with the crowd to explain the itinerary change decision.
“The operational decision made by Miami head office and forced upon this ship is that this ship, the Norwegian Star, has a ‘go slow’ order,” she said. “They are not allowed to travel as fast as they normally would. That’s all we know. There was no explanation as to why there was a go slow order.”
An email was apparently sent to guests advising them of the change, and a notice was available at luggage check-in when the cruise began, but the woman claims that “hundreds” of people never received those notifications. The woman also claims there have been no explanatory announcements from the ship’s captain addressing the situation.
Is Norwegian Star Visiting Antarctica?
Originally, the ship was to have sailed through Paradise Bay – a stunning cove adjacent to Antarctica’s mainland. Instead, that scenic cruising has been removed from the itinerary, and the ship will instead offer Antarctic viewing near Elephant Island – 350 miles (560 kilometers) northeast of Paradise Bay, and 150 miles (241 km) from the continent’s mainland.
It must be noted that Norwegian Star had never planned to have an actual landing on Antarctica’s mainland, and travelers were never to have been able to set foot on the continent.
Furthermore, Elephant Island, which the ship is visiting for scenic cruising, is a geographic part of Antarctica administered by the Antarctic Treaty. While it is not the continent’s mainland, it very much is part of Antarctica.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Guest Ticket Contract, section 7(c), specifically outlines the cruise line’s right to implement itinerary deviations.
“The Guest agrees that the [cruise line] has the sole discretion and liberty to direct the movements of the vessel, including the rights to deviate from the purchased voyage or the normal course for any purpose,” the contract reads.
This includes the right to “cancel any scheduled call at any port for any reason and at any time before, during or after sailing of the
Cruise lines frequently change itineraries, sailing routes, port visit times, and other parts of the cruise vacation schedule for a variety of reasons, which may include weather, ship operations, port congestion, environmental regulations, and other factors. While it can certainly be disappointing to travelers, such changes are not uncommon and are part of the risk of booking a cruise itinerary.