Guests aboard the current sail of Norwegian getaway are not enjoying the cruise they had planned when they originally booked their vacation.
Once on board the ship, passengers were advised of several itinerary changes, including swapped days, modified port times and a canceled port of call.
Norwegian getaway Route changes
The Breakaway class Norwegian Getaway departed Port Canaveral on Saturday, July 16, on schedule, but was the only time in the cruise itinerary that remained on schedule for this sailing. Once on board, guests were notified by letter of significant changes to their upcoming itinerary.
“We always intend to maintain original routes”, the letter read. “However, sometimes unforeseen circumstances force us to make changes.”
The ship’s first port of call, at Norwegian Cruise Line private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Caywas shortened by one hour, arriving at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday July 17, instead of 7:30 a.m. Although a one-hour change may not seem like much, late arrival times can be difficult for shore visits.
The second port of call, which was to be St. Thomas, was removed from the itinerary altogether, with no replacement.
The third visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday, July 20, changed drastically. Rather than arriving at 7:00 a.m. and departing at 3:00 p.m., the ship was scheduled to arrive at 10:00 a.m. and depart at 8:00 p.m. This disrupted early shore visits, but provided passengers with an additional two hours to explore this rich and diverse port of call. .
The last port of the initial route, Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, was moved from the visit scheduled for Thursday to Tuesday, the day the ship was scheduled to be in St. Thomas. Instead of calling at Amber Cove from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the ship remained in port from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The last two days of the itinerary are expected to be days at sea, with the ship returning to Port Canaveral on Saturday July 23. An on-time arrival is expected.
Shore visits that had been booked for St. Thomas were automatically canceled and refunded, while the date and times of shore visits to Amber Cove were also automatically adjusted. Customers did not need to take action for these adjustments.
Why so many changes?
No explanation was given for the multiple adjustments or the lost port of call, other than “unforeseen circumstances”.
There could be many reasons behind the changes. It is possible that mechanical problems on the vessel, such as propulsion or navigational limitations, may make it impossible to maintain the original route.
There could also be challenges at ports of call, such as overcrowding with too many ships scheduled for simultaneous visits, additional commercial traffic taking up dock or channel space, damage or construction work on docks, or even canal dredging operations that limit cruise ship visits.
Port changes are not uncommon for cruise itineraries, and customers should always prepare for such eventualities by remaining flexible in their cruise plans. This is particularly true with respect to shore visits – customers who can book excursions through independent companies could face cancellation fees or no refunds if their port times or tour days are changed to the last minute.
If tours are booked through the cruise line, however, bookings are either adjusted to the new schedule or payments will be fully refunded if the ship cannot visit or tours cannot be arranged at a new date or time .
The 145,655 gross tons Norwegian getaway can accommodate 3,963 guests, with over 1,600 crew members on board to provide excellent service no matter where and when the ship visits different ports.