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My good friend is a retired college professor who doesn’t mind splurging on luxurious vacations a few times each year. He also carries the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card in his wallet. This card earns super easy to redeem Venture miles. So the rewards he earns from purchases throughout the year can offset the cost of his trips.
He and his wife especially enjoy cruises because they get to see multiple destinations on one trip and only have to unpack once. Well, at least that was the case before their recent journey! Just last month, they were booked on a 9-day Scandinavia, Russia, and Baltic cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line. The itinerary looks really neat on paper with stops in Berlin, Germany, Tallinn, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Russia, Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweeden.
However, due to high winds and bad weather along their journey, the ship (Norwegian Breakaway) had to skip Berlin, Helsinki, and Stockholm. So instead of spending 2 days at sea, they spent 5 days of their 9-day itinerary floating in the Baltic Sea. I’ve been on a few cruises and there’s only so much time you can spend in the casino and buffet while you’re at sea. After a while, it gets a bit repetitive and boring.
I completely understand that you can’t control Mother Nature. And one of the risks of traveling, in general, is facing weather-related delays and cancellations. So I 100% agree with Norwegian’s decision to skip ports to keep passengers and crew safe.
What I can’t understand is why the ~$10 billion cruise company didn’t offer any type of compensation to passengers. According to my friend and the Cruise Critic discussion board, passengers only received a credit of $44 per person for taxes & fees related to the skipped ports.
Meanwhile, my friend paid more than ~$10,000 to book a suite on the ship. He also paid ~$5,000 for 2 round-trip Premium cabin tickets to Copenhagen on Norwegian Airlines. In my mind, an $88 credit doesn’t help offset skipping more than 50% of the itinerary. At a minimum, the cruise line could have offered a discount for a future booking.
My friend sent a letter to Norwegian Cruise Line expressing his frustration with the trip and lack of compensation. By the way, he also has top-tier elite status with the cruise line because he’s been a frequent passenger on prior sailings. The cruise line responded that safety comes first and there would be no additional compensation or discounts for passengers on the ship.
As a comparison, my parents were booked on a Disney Cruise 2 years ago when a hurricane forced the cruise line to completely change the itinerary 2 days prior to departure. Even though it was non-refundable booking, Disney offered a 100% refund.
Lastly, I’m not a weather expert, but I’d be surprised if Norwegian Cruise Line didn’t have an idea about the potential for bad weather prior to departure. If they did expect to skip ports based on the weather forecast, they could have notified customers in advance and potentially offered an alternative cruise on a different date.
Do you have any similar cruise horror stories? Comment below!