Norwegian Cruise Line announced on Wednesday the cancellation of upcoming voyages on eight different vessels and a pause on new ship restarts. The cancellations extend as far out as late April in response to the Omicron variant.
The cruise line is offering compensation to affected passengers, but the last-minute notice is frustrating to many.
Voyages on 8 Cruise Ships Canceled
On Wednesday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced the cancellation of several sailings and pushed the restart dates of a number of its cruise ships further into the future as it deals with operational challenges posed by the Omicron variant.
Our first priority is the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit. Due to ongoing travel restrictions, we’ve had to modify a few sailings and unfortunately have had to cancel the following voyages:Norwegian Cruise Line, Media Statement
The following scheduled voyages are now canceled:
- Norwegian Getaway with embarkation dates through and including January 5, 2022
- Norwegian Pearl cruises with embarkation dates through and including January 14, 2022
- Norwegian Sky cruises with embarkation dates through and including February 25,2022
- Pride of America cruises with embarkation dates through and including February 26,2022
- Norwegian Jade cruises with embarkation dates through and including March 3, 2022
- Norwegian Star cruises with embarkation dates through and including March 19,2022
- Norwegian Sun cruises with embarkation dates through and including April 19, 2022
- Norwegian Spirit cruises with embarkation dates through and including April 23, 2022
Although the cruise line has not announced any further modifications or sailings for the other vessels in its fleet, Norwegian’s website travel advisory does state:
“As the global public health environment continues to rapidly evolve and destinations around the world modify their travel requirements or implement new travel restrictions, it is possible that itineraries may need to be modified.”Norwegian Cruise Line, travel advisory
Each of the affected ships is scheduled to restart sailing after the cancelation dates as follows:
- Norwegian Getaway offering Caribbean itineraries from Port Miami from January 14, 2022
- Norwegian Pearl on a Panama Canal sailing departing from Port Miami on January 17, 2022
- Norwegian Sky offering Caribbean sailings from Port Miami from March 2, 2022
- Pride of America sailing Hawaiian itineraries from Honolulu from March 5, 2022
- Norwegian Jade sailing Greek Isles itineraries from Rome beginning March 30, 2022
- Norwegian Star offering Mediterranean sailings from Barcelona from April 3, 2022
- Norwegian Sun beginning Alaska itineraries from Seattle beginning May 5, 2022
- Norwegian Spirit sailing Hawaii itineraries from Papeete, Tahiti from April 23, 2022
Passenger Compensation Offered
Guests affected by the canceled cruises are being offered several compensation options for the disruption to their vacation plans. As part of the compensation, Norwegian Cruise Line will provide guests with a 100% refund of their cruise fare, automatically returned to their original form of payment.
If guests booked using a Future Cruise Credit (FCC), the full value of the FCC will be reapplied to their Latitudes account. The new FCC will have an updated expiration date of January 7, 2023, and a sail date of May 31, 2023. Guests who booked using the FCC now have a full year to rebook a new Norwegian cruise vacation to take advantage of their credit.
Guest who booked using a combination of payment and FCC will receive a refund for their payment and the same FCC terms, with the updated expiration and sailing dates.
Additionally, affected guests will receive 10% off a future Norwegian cruise booking. (Note: Guests may only have one such discount associated with their Latitudes account at any given time. Guests may not be eligible for the future discount if they booked the original cruise with a similar discount.)
Guests on the Norwegian Getaway sailing were given notice of the cancellation on embarkation day. To make up for the short notice, passengers scheduled for the sailing will receive a full refund as well as a 20% off discount for a future cruise booking.
Finally, guests who no longer wish to redeem their Future Cruise Credits can apply to have them converted into monetary funds. Norwegian Cruise Line will return the funds to the original form of payment. Guests who choose to convert their FCCs will forfeit any additional FCC-related bonus offers.
Why Are So Many Sailings Cancelled?
At this time, Norwegian Crusie Line has not announced the reasoning behind their decision. The abrupt cancellation is widely viewed as a response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Omicron variant.
Not only are cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant rising worldwide, but many ports of call are turning away cruise ships that have positive cases onboard. Further, tightened testing restrictions have made it more difficult for passengers to leave the ship at ports of call due to narrow testing windows. Many cruise ships have had their itineraries change mid-sailing due to these changes.
Onboard cruise ships, quarantine requirements for crew members who test positive, show symptoms, or come in close contact with confirmed cases have impacted how ships can offer services. Recent cruise passengers have confirmed the cancellation of onboard shows, activities, and entertainment on vessels across the industry.
Many cruise travelers are eager to set sail again following the industry’s restart in mid-2021. Mounting cancellations, itinerary changes, reduced services, and restrictive onboard requirements have frustrated many current and future cruise passengers.
The frustration passengers feel is shared across industries as new restrictions come into place around the world.
Cruise passengers have been very accommodative of testing and vaccination requirements as well as onboard health and safety protocols. As additional changes are made, cruise lines may see an impact on bookings as passengers choose to delay their vacations.