TELLING STORIES, CHANGING THE CONVERSATION

Norwegian Cruise Line under fire for sailing through massive winter storm

in Lifestyle & Travel by

Enjoyment was the furthest thing for passengers aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) Breakaway ship sailing to New York this week from a Caribbean holiday.

Cruise officials sailed through a massive winter blizzard this week creating a harrowing nightmare for the 4,000 passengers and crew members.

On land, the bomb cyclone brought strong erratic winds and dumped inches on parts of the U.S. At sea, the Atlantic churned furious waves that swelled to 30 feet.

The massive ship tossed about like a toy tin can. Water leaked into the boat and staterooms, as the battered ship took on damage in the rough waters. CBS news reports passengers recounting stories of boat that rocked so strongly, people flew across their cabins. Even the most well-cruised travelers vomited from seasickness.

After docking this past weekend, passengers complained about the lack of communication from the cruise’s captain; and trying to figure out, who made the decision to sail in such dangerous sea conditions.

Meanwhile, the cruise line released a statement to passengers planning to travel on the same ship hours after it docked.

    “Due to winter storm Grayson, Norwegian Breakaway will have a delayed arrival into New York today. As a result, Norwegian Breakaway’s 14 day cruise that was originally scheduled to depart on January 5, will now depart on Saturday, January 6, at 3 p.m. Due to the ship’s late arrival today, and the ongoing weather situation, embarking guests are encouraged to arrive to the pier on Saturday morning. All guests must be onboard by 1 p.m. on January 6. Guests unable to adjust their travel are welcome to board on Friday evening between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. The ship will now sail a slightly adjusted itinerary, which will be communicated to guests onboard. All guests will receive a refund of one day of their cruise fare, in the form of an onboard credit. We sincerely thank our guests for their understanding of this unexpected change due to the weather and apologize to our guests for any disruption to their schedule,” the statement said.

No mention of the issues raised concerns.

Dollars No Sense

Photo credit: Peter Hansen

After NCL’s blundered received attention, the American-Bermudian company headquartered in Miami-Dade County, issued a statement to future passengers:

    “During the early morning hours of January 4, Norwegian Breakaway encountered stronger than forecasted weather conditions due to winter storm Grayson during the trip’s return to New York from the Bahamas. All guests and crew are safe. We sincerely apologize to our guests for these stronger than expected weather conditions and any resulting discomfort they may have experienced,” it read.

This is not the first time for NCL to down play a disaster to avoid losing profits. And probably not the last.

In late 2016, in the first months of the cruise’s launch of Asian cruises, their ship, the Jewel experienced mechanical issues resulted in delayed travel. Guests were given full refunds. However, passengers who traveled on the same ship right after were not fully informed, and some were not given any communication an amended, 14-day-excursion.  An itinerary promising to destination hop from from Hong Kong to Taiwan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand then finally dock in Singapore, changed drastically. NCL removed two countries which left more time on the water.

Irate passengers, some who traveled across the world had no choice but to board the ship because the cruise took place during the Christmas and New Year holiday. As a result, the slow moving ship stayed most of its time on the water.

More frustrating for passengers is the agreements that they have to sign before traveling which absconds the company form a number of mishaps on sea.

Cruise Preparedness

Cruise experts advise that passengers pack an emergency kit for crisis situations; and in some cases, everyday cruise issues. Items such as snacks, backup power, water, seasickness pills, aid for nicks and cuts, medication dosages more than the length of the trip and small luggage are suggested.

For everyday, use hand sanitizer and wipes because the longer you stay onboard with thousands of strangers, the more likely some type of bacteria will fester around the buffet. Overall, travel insurance that covers a range of issues is another way to ensure some level of protection.

But sometimes, if you are at sea the boat is rocking and everyone is upchucking, all you might have are prayers.

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