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Montevideo, April 23rd 2024 - 08:14 UTC

 

 

Cruisers furious as Norwegian line removes Antarctica from itineraries at last moment

Tuesday, February 13th 2024 - 10:42 UTC
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The original stop in Paradise Bay and continental Antarctica would no longer be reached, Norwegian Star told passengers in the middle of the Drake Passage The original stop in Paradise Bay and continental Antarctica would no longer be reached, Norwegian Star told passengers in the middle of the Drake Passage

Furious passengers are anticipating all the necessary actions against Norwegian Cruise Lines which at the last minute removed Antarctica from its upcoming itineraries. Over the weekend, the Norwegian Star, which is currently in the Drake Passage, informed passengers that the trip would have to be altered for operational reasons.

Some travelers reacted launching a TikTok channel titled “@ruinedvacation”, and alleging that the cruise line was aware of the operational issues before they boarded on January 31.

The current sailing and another upcoming trip departing on February 18 would no longer be reaching Antarctica, shortening the cruise line season. The February 26 sailing has also substituted a call on Antarctica for Admiralty Bay in the sub-Antarctic South Shetland Islands.

“While we try to maintain original itineraries as much as possible, unfortunately, at times modifications are made to optimize the itinerary or to accommodate certain circumstances,” read a notification sent to travelers. “As such, in order to enhance the guest experience, the itinerary has been revised.”

Online, and on the NCL app, Norwegian appears to have removed any mention of Antarctica from the sailing, leading to uproar. Guests aboard the Star say they were told the ship was operating under a “go-slow order,” affecting the itinerary.

The original stop in Paradise Bay and continental Antarctica would no longer be reached, instead skirting past the tip of the sub-Antarctic South Shetland Islands and Elephant Islands.

A spokesperson for the cruise line said NCL tried to stick to original itineraries as much as possible, certain circumstances meant that modifications were unavoidable.

“To enhance the guest experience, the ship’s current itinerary was revised to allow more time for guests to explore Stanley, Falkland Islands. As such, the cruise by Paradise Bay, Antarctica was replaced with a cruise by Admiralty Bay,” on Antarctica’s South Shetland Island chain.

Responding to the ‘go slow’ order, the spokesperson said this was “due to a recent regulatory requirement in the area, the ship is operating at a reduced speed, also impacting its original itinerary.”

The body responsibly for governing Antarctic tourism IAATO brought into effect slower speed restrictions this summer 2023-24, for the protection of migratory whales, but members like NCL had been aware of the change since 2021.

The Norwegian Star is a 23-year-old 2300-passenger cruise and one of the larger vessel to visit Antarctica this summer.

While the exact nature of the “go-slow” issue is unknown, mechanical issues and previous woes have led it to be dubbed “the unluckiest ship at sea” by the New Zealand and Australian media.

Malfunctions with the ship’s Azipod propulsion system led to the ship cancelling ports of call in 2005 and 2015. In 2017 speed issues force the ship to cancel all planned stops on a sailing round New Zealand, turning around back for Australia on the day it reached Auckland.

Categories: Tourism, Antarctica.

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