Norwegian cruise line passengers revolt after '14 days to hell'
Published Wednesday, October 9, 2019 7:25PM EDT
TORONTO -- Frustrated passengers on the NCL Norwegian Spirit were in an uproar after the cruise ship missed its fifth scheduled port of call in a two-week voyage that was supposed to take them to Iceland, Amsterdam, Norway, and Ireland, according to social media posts.
YouTube videos shared on Twitter by user @NCLHELL1, who identified himself as Cody McNutt, showed angry passengers confronting a cruise official, and others staging protests and holding signs asking for refunds. The dedicated Twitter account's bio said, "Traveled Norwegian Spirit 14 days to Hell Sept. 2019."
Passengers fed up with the changes and the unscheduled extra days at sea could be heard chanting, "Take us back!" "We don’t want to be on this ship!" "Take us to London!"
According to a user on Facebook, the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) vessel made itinerary changes even before leaving port on September 27, changing the first port from Amsterdam to Le Havre, France.
But the Spirit never made it to Le Havre due to rough sea conditions. Later, the ship announced they would bypass Iceland -- a key destination on the "Mystical Fjords" trip -- over concerns the ship could encounter remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo on the way back.
"Instead of 3 ports in Norway, we were told once again that two ports in Iceland would be substituted. We ended up with 5 ports in Norway. All 5 ports in Norway were providing excursions to the same points of interest," Snowy Dey complained on Facebook.
A stop in Greenock, Scotland, was also added, but passengers were then told strong winds prevented the ship from docking. Travellers ended up at sea for six days instead of four, according to McNutt.
About a week and a half into the cruise and five port changes, passengers were fed up. On Monday, a large number of the more than 2,000 weary travellers gathered in the ship’s atrium to vent their anger, according to footage from multiple videos.
NCL said in a statement that their first priority is ensuring the safety of its passengers and crew.
"Unfortunately, Norwegian Spirit’s itinerary was impacted by severe weather conditions," a spokesperson for the cruise line wrote in an emailed statement.
The company said nine ports of call were originally planned, but said the revised itinerary allowed for eight port calls. NCL did not answer questions confirming which ports were originally scheduled and which ports were changed.
"We are very sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment our guests experienced. As such, we made the decision to offer a 25% future cruise credit," the spokesperson added.
A letter from the ship’s captain apologizing to passengers for having to cancel Greenock shows the credit will only be valid for 24 months, McNutt posted on Twitter.
According to several media reports, a number of passengers abandoned the cruise during a scheduled stop in Belfast, Ireland on Tuesday.
A similar 14-day cruise departing from Southampton with stops in France, Iceland and Scotland on the NCL.com website invited prospective passengers to “discover Iceland’s natural treasures” and “explore beautiful Paris during the day and beneath the stars”. Prices start from $2,074.