Passengers Furious With Norwegian Cruise Line for Removing Antarctica From Itinerary Without Warning

Source: Flickr/miguelb

More than 2,000 people signed up for the Norwegian Star expecting to travel to South America and Antarctica. It wasn’t until after they boarded the vessel and set sail that they noticed a slight change to the itinerary – one that made hundreds of passengers angry. Here’s what happened!

Feb. 9: Female Passenger Makes TikTok Criticizing Cruise Line

One of the passengers created a TikTok account (@ruinedvacation) specifically for the incident. She shared her first video on Feb. 9, and it accumulated more than 3.2 million views in four days. In the video, she criticized the Star for what she described as ‘poor communication.’

Source: TikTok/ruinedvacation

She shared screenshots confirming that the trip was originally titled ’14 Night Antarctica and South America,’ but was then changed to ’14-Day South America Round-Trip Buenos Aires: Argentina and Chile’ at some point after they boarded the ship. “I’m on board Norwegian Star,” the passenger said. “Our ship is not going to Antarctica.”

Passenger Says Decision Was For ‘Operational Reasons

A group of passengers went to customer service and demanded answers – especially since the weather wasn’t an issue. They were eventually told that the decision was made by the NCL head office in Miami prior to departure due to what they described as ‘operational reasons.’

Source: TikTok/ruinedvacation

“They’re telling us we just have to accept it – well, guess what? We’ve paid too much money, we’re too smart, we’re too angry to just order another cocktail and sit down and accept the fact that our money has vanished into Norwegian Cruise Line’s pockets,” she said.

Feb. 10: Other Passengers Join In On Facebook

She wasn’t the only one furious. One Facebook group, titled ‘Norwegian Star South America and Antarctica,’ has seen an increase in activity over the past few days as past, present, and future passengers share their recent experiences with the cruise ship – and it wasn’t pretty.

Source: Facebook/Norwegian Star South America and Antarctica

“No explanation.. the entire ship are really pissed off. My wife and myself only found out via whispers in the hallway. It changed a few days ago the day we boarded then again a few days ago. Not sure on the exact day as we weren’t advised,” wrote one passenger.

Other Commenters Had Similar Experiences

One commenter, who claimed to be ‘sapphire and a shareholder,’ demanded change after his most recent trip on Dec. 22 – calling out the captain, cruise director, and other members of the staff for poor hospitality. Others were encouraging future passengers to cancel their trip immediately.

Source: Wikimedia/VlagoZg

The story gained so much traction that Nicholas Cirone, a segment producer for Good Morning America, published a post on the page in hopes of learning more about the situation. He hasn’t received much help, though that could be due to a poor internet connection on board the Star.

Feb. 10: Woman Provides Update On TikTok

On Feb. 10, the ‘ruinedvacation’ TikTok account posted an update confirming that the decision to remove Antarctica was made by the head office in Miami on Jan. 31 – four days before the vessel departed. They were told it wasn’t due to a weather-related issue.

Source: TikTok/ruinedvacation

She also clarified that, while they weren’t going to Paradise Bay (in the Antarctic), they were cruising by the South Shetland Islands and Elephant Island – roughly 200km north of where the passengers wanted to go, but still in Antarctica. To be fair, Paradise Bay is a major selling point for many cruise ships sailing through the Antarctic.

Ship Was Handed a ‘Go Slow Order’

The woman went on to explain that NCL officials were forced to take a detour because the ship was handed a ‘go slow order.’ Since the ship wasn’t allowed to cruise past a certain speed, they had to change the route accordingly. Unfortunately, that pushed the ship 200km north of Paradise Bay.

Source: Norwegian Cruise Lines

She found it weird that the captain hadn’t made an announcement since the chaos erupted – even to wish everyone a good morning. She was also frustrated that they gave no explanation as to why a ‘go slow order’ was issued. Her update received more than 560,000 views, 25,000 likes, and nearly 3,000 comments.

Feb. 11: Norwegian Cruise Line Issues Response

On Feb. 11, the ship sent a notification to the passengers providing a more detailed explanation. While they do their best to maintain original itineraries, sometimes they’re forced to modify those itineraries to ‘accommodate certain circumstances.’ In this case, it was revised to ‘enhance the guest experience.’

Source: VictoriaJStokes from Getty Images via Canva

“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,” the notification continued.

The Norwegian Star Has Had Problems Before

According to the New Zealand Herald, this isn’t the first time the Norwegian Star has faced criticism. In 2015, the ship’s Azipod propulsion system malfunctioned – putting the ship down for repairs for nearly two weeks. A similar incident occurred 10 years earlier, in 2005.

Source: Wikimedia/get directly down

Itinerary changes have even happened recently. “They changed the itinerary and the name after the experience with the 1/21 cruise missing the Falklands and all the upset passengers (I was on that sailing),” said one former passenger on the Facebook page.

They’re Not The Only Ones Making Unexpected Changes

In fact, the Norwegian Star isn’t the only cruise vessel facing scrutiny for itinerary changes. MSC Cruises angered passengers a day before setting sail for what was supposed to be a trip to the Bahamas. Instead, it ended up being a trip to Canada and Boston – not exactly a good trade-off.

Source: Wikimedia/Rene Cortin

“We definitely don’t want to go to Boston. Our suitcases are packed for a beach, not for Canada and Boston,” one passenger told Business Insider, adding that he received the news too late to change his flight. “We weren’t able to speak to anybody, so we were left in the dust hoping that they would do the right thing,”

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Ryan Handson

Written by Ryan Handson

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