Imagine Paying $10,000+ for a Cruise and Skipping 60% of the Ports…You Won’t Find Me Sailing Norwegian Cruise Line Anytime Soon!

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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.

Norwegian Cruise Line Skipped Berlin, Helsinki, and Stockholm on My Friend’s Recent 9-Day Cruise!

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!

Million Mile Secrets is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Roger Marcum
1 year ago

Missing a port is not uncommon due to weather. It happens and cruisers have to understand that. It’s also in their contract (booking confirmation) but few people actually read the fine print. I’ve been on 33 cruises, have missed some ports and never had a compensation issue. My most memorable experience was actually pre-cruise with Royal Caribbean. We booked a hotel through them the day before the cruise in Miami. For some reason, the power went out in the hotel. About an hour later, a RCL rep knocked on our door and said they were moving us to another hotel. Not only did they put us up in a more expensive luxury hotel, they also gave everyone affected a $100 OBC even though they had nothing to do with the problem. Needless to say, I’m a loyal Royal Caribbean customer. I do think NCL could have done better.

Andrew W
Reply to  Roger Marcum
1 year ago

Glad to hear of your experience! One of my old coworkers has been on a few Royal Caribbean cruises, and she’s said they’ve been pretty nice overall!

Marilyn B
1 year ago

The cruise line’s contract of carriage states that ports can be missed, etc. So they don’t have to offer any compensation. If a cruise line does, it is a goodwill gesture, not a requirement. Sometimes there will be a class action lawsuit – lawyers love that, as they probably benefit the most.

It is often said, if you really want to see some place, don’t take a cruise to do it. Ports can be missed or itineraries altered.

This year, weather has been pretty horrible in Europe in the past month – floods in Venice, hail and ice in Rome, high winds and rain causing damage in Italy, including Sicily, severe weather in the Med causing missed ports for a number of cruises.

This is more of an issue if the port is a tender port because tenders cannot be used when seas are too rough. We have missed a port on a couple of cruises for this reason. Sometimes ships can get permission to go to another port, sometimes not. Depends on a lot of factors. In one case our ship went to Genoa instead of Portofino and we had a fantastic day. In the other case, we missed St. Jean-de-Luz due to rough seas in the notorious Bay of Biscay, so went to Bilboa for an extra day.

We did a similar Baltic cruise this past August on Azamara Journey (small ship) with 3 days in St. Petersburg. It was wonderful. Except I made a dumb move near the end of the cruise, broke a metatarsal, ended up with a splint cast and crutches, so didn’t get off the ship in Stockholm (the last port with an overnight stay). Stuff happens. C’est la vie. Luckily UA opened up 2 biz seats at the last minute so I was able to rebook connecting flights in economy to a nonstop biz flight home. UR points to the rescue!

Daniel McCain
1 year ago

We went on a cruise to the Bahamas last year on Norwegian and the same thing happened. Could not dock the first two days, spent 4 out of 5 days onboard, we won’t be cruising anytime soon and certainly not with Norwegian.

Andrew W
Reply to  Daniel McCain
1 year ago

Hi Daniel,

Wow that’s terrible! So sorry to hear you had to go through that. Did the cruise at least offer some type of compensation?

Susan L.
1 year ago

Husband and I went on a Regent Seven Seas cruise to AK this summer. We both got food poisoning (along with 36 others) and were forced to stay in our cabin for 3 1/2 days due to Norovirus protocol. Except this wasn’t noro! Mine lasted less than 12 hours! Cruise line gave us nothing. I had purchased separate trip insurance and they gave us ~3 days of refund, which covered the cost of the insurance plus a little extra.

Of interest, they claimed they had reported it to the CDC but they hadn’t. As a retired physician, I reported it.

Reply to  Susan L.
1 year ago

Oh goodness, that sounds terrible. Appreciate you sharing your experience and I’m just so surprised the cruise lines don’t seem to offer anything for major mishaps.

Susan L.
Reply to  Keith
1 year ago

Needless to say, we won’t be using Regent again.

It was bizarre ordering filet mignon and cheesecake while “confined to quarters”, and watching for water spouts off of our deck.

david donne
1 year ago

Well Americans are known for their geographical illiteracy
but placing Berlin there !!!!!!!!
Don’t you mean Hamburg

Reply to  david donne
1 year ago

I wish I could take credit for the graphic, but that comes right from Norwegian’s website, which says Berlin in the itinerary.

1 year ago

I worked for a cruise line. Emphasis “cruise”. It’s called cruising, not porting. Missing one, two, three ports, oh well. Enjoy the sights of the passing world. Enjoy the water. Enjoy the solitude from your balcony. Read a book on your cruise. Draw that masterpiece. Talk with others onboard. You never have to go to the casino. You don’t have to eat every meal. Relax. Exercise more onboard. People watching is fun. Nothing I mentioned costs any money. Get in a cruising frame of mind and you will really enjoy the cruise much more.

And I rode Norwegian airline from Copenhagen to ft
Lauderdale for $300. I am pretty sure I got there the same time as those in the Uber premium seats.

1 year ago

Wait, how is no one else freaking out about $2,500 EACH for premium economy seats on Norwegian Air Shuttle? I just went backed and checked, it lists Norwegian Airlines but I have to imagine that we are talking about the same carrier. You’d have to go out of your way to spend $2,500 per person on premium economy on Norwegian Air Shuttle. To do it twice – that’s almost a talent at burning money. A talent I wouldn’t want to have.

Yes, they are due more back than that even if the contract of carriage doesn’t allow a credit for the missed ports simply as a matter of good business.

But can we just circle back to that Norwegian ticket price again? Did they take a connection on Ryan Air for $900 too? I don’t even know how you get to that kind of price point? Do their fares even come with commas? Call me flabbergasted.

1 year ago

I went on this cruise last year. For a mini suite for 4 people (2 adults, 2 teenagers) with a large balcony I paid less than $6000. I booked through United cruises and as a bonus they gave me almost 60000 United miles, the premium drink package for 2, 3 dinners at a specialty restaurant, and a $200 credit to spend. It stopped on every port and It was an amazing experience and ship (It was the sister ship, Norwegian Getaway). In general, I am not a big fan of cruises, but this one was very convenient and it really was awesome. The price seemed more than fair. It only spent 2 days at sea. Got to Copenhagen 2 days before and had an amazing time there. As a note, this ship does not stop in Berlin. You have to take a 3-hour train to Berlin if you want to do that.
Don’t deter your readers from trying this itinerary. Your friend had bad luck and I agree that the cruise line could have been more generous in their compensation

Ed. C
1 year ago

I couldn’t imagine spending $10,000 on a cruise, period.