Engine problems on the Norwegian Pearl.

Thousands of passengers are stuck in Barcelona on a stricken cruise ship while another of its voyages has been cancelled with just days’ notice

Norwegian Pearl, which was sailing a 13-day voyage from northern Europe to the Mediterranean when it experienced a technical issue - leaving passengers stranded in Barcelona
Norwegian Pearl

A mechanical issue has left thousands of cruise passengers stuck in Barcelona, while another of its voyages has been cancelled entirely with just days’ notice.

Norwegian Pearl was sailing a 13-day voyage from northern Europe to the Mediterranean when it experienced a technical issue – causing it to travel at a slower speed.

The problem meant the ship, which has 2,300 guests on board, missed a stop in Palma, Majorca, as well as Monte Carlo and is currently stranded in the Spanish city.

Additionally, an upcoming cruise of the Greek Isles and Italy, which was due to depart on Friday (July 5), has been cancelled much to the fury of its passengers.

She said: ‘We were supposed to depart to Livorno at 6am and only miss the second port of call.

‘They changed it around 9am to tell us we may not be able to go to Civitavecchia (Rome), will not be travelling to Livorno, will be receiving a 50 per cent refund and credit for a future cruise. If guests wanted to fully disembark they were allowed to and to make other travel arrangements.

‘Then they announced we will not be sailing to Civitavecchia, our last port of call where most guests have flights booked. We are now kindly asked to disembark the ship by Friday at noon.’

A picture taken by Cheyenne Lewis, a passenger on the cruise, showing people lining up at guest services to try and re-arrange their travel plans

A picture was taken by Cheyenne Lewis, a passenger on the cruise, showing people lining up at guest services to try and re-arrange their travel plans

She continued: ‘A good portion of the guests aren’t from Europe and will be spending a lot in fees to get to another destination. They are reimbursing $300 for airfare costs and have given customers an hour of free WiFi.

‘However, flight tickets will soon run out or be price gouged.

‘I was fortunate enough to have a WiFi package so when the first announcement about disembarking came on, I just bought my family and I flights to Rome and a hotel room.

‘However, from what I’ve heard walking around, some of the flights are not remotely close to the $300 guests will be reimbursed.’

Another passenger Kelly Flint expressed her frustration on Twitter posting: ‘Stuck on Norwegian Pearl in Barcelona. Already missed two shore stops. No info from NCL.

‘Learned on the internet that next cruise has been cancelled. Don’t know how to get to Rome for flights home. Come on NCL.’

Several passengers took to Twitter to vent their frustration at being stuck in Barcelona

Several passengers took to Twitter to vent their frustration at being stuck in Barcelona

Jessica Monroe also took to social media to vent her anger.

‘Still stuck on the Norwegian Pearl in Barcelona. They said we’d leave at 6am, pretty sure the engine still won’t start. Can they update us so I can book a flight out of Barcelona?’

While Simon also tweeted: ‘I was on the Norwegian Epic last February when we missed all ports of call due to engine problems. Used credits to book Norwegian Pearl – now cancelled due to engine problems. Want to vacation with you again but you’re not making it easy.’

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line said: ‘On July 1, 2019, Norwegian Pearl, which is currently sailing a 13-day repositioning cruise from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean, experienced a mechanical issue which necessitates that she travel at a reduced speed.

‘As such, she did not call to Palma, Majorca, and instead sailed directly to Barcelona where further assessments were made.

‘Due to necessary repairs, Norwegian Pearl’s upcoming Greek Isles and Italy sailing departing on July 5, 2019, will be cancelled.

‘We recognise the disappointment and inconvenience our guests have experienced as a result of this unforeseen situation and we offer our sincere apologies.

‘Our team is working diligently to assist all of our guests, and we thank them for their continued support and loyalty.’

Cruise liners may BOYCOTT Majorca and Ibiza

Cruise liners may BOYCOTT Majorca and Ibiza unless Balearic government changes its mind about two-euro-a day-charge for passengers

Costa and MSC in Majorca Port

  • The Cruise Lines International Association says the new fee is undemocratic 
  • Cruise passengers had been exempt from the new Balearics tourist tax charge 
  • But now the authorities want them to pay two euros for every day on the islands
  • Cruise association has threatened legal action and might leave islands off routes

Cruise liners are threatening to shun Majorca and Ibiza unless the Balearic government changes its mind about charging passengers two euros (£1.78) a day to stay on the islands under the new tourist tax rules.

The association of cruise companies in Europe, the Cruise Lines International Association, says the new fee is undemocratic and could force companies to leave the islands out of its routes.

And it says that unless the Balearics rescinds the decision to slap the tourist tax on all cruise passengers for the first time next year, it might take the issue to court.

The islands’ government has already come under fire for doubling the so-called eco tax for all holidaymakers in the high season of 2018, meaning guests in luxury accommodation will pay a much as four euros (£3.56) a day.

Until now, cruise ship passengers have been exempt from the fee unless they were docked for more than 12 hours.

But from summer 2018, they will pay two euros a day regardless of the duration of the stay and the Balearic government says this move alone will generate revenue of about 1.8 million euros (£1.6million).


Cruise ship stays included in Balearics tourist tax proposals

MSC Splendida and me in Majorca.

The Balearic government has proceeded with plans to introduce a daily tourist eco-tax, including charges for passengers on cruise ships in its draft proposals.

The islands’ vice-president and tourism minister, Biel Barceló, told a parliamentary hearing last month that it would apply a tourist tax in 2016 and the government has now drawn up formal proposals.

There is concern among the trade that the tax will drive visitors away from the Balearics.

Stays on cruise ships moored in any of the islands’ ports; hotels; hostels; campsites; and holiday homes will all be taxed, should the proposals be approved.

Those staying on cruise ships will be charged €2 per day in high season, along with those staying in hotels rated above four-star.

Lesser taxes will be applied to those staying in lower grade hotels and most apartments, the tax will be halved in low season and children aged under 14 will be exempt.

“This represents a maximum surcharge of no more than 1.4% of the respective holiday budget,” said Balearic president Francina Armengol.

A decision on the tax will be made by the Commission for Sustainable Tourism, which will be founded if the tax is passed through parliament. This is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2016.

Mr Barceló said: “With the help of these revenues we will be able to maintain and improve the quality of tourism services in the islands.

“We ask our visitors for a small contribution to protect and preserve this little paradise formed by four islands.”

The tax will also be levied to locals who stay in tourist accommodation.

The government said the revenue generated by the tax will be invested in environmental protection, sustainable tourism, the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage, improvement of infrastructure in tourist areas as well as in research, training and development in the tourism sector.

The islands, which attract almost 3.5 million visitors from the UK each year, scrapped a similar tax in 2003 just one year after it was introduced, because it was deterring holidaymakers.