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.’

Norwegian Cruise Line Alters Norwegian Star Itinerary Due to Propulsion Issue

Norwegian Star Photo credit by Dave Jones

Weeks after repairs to Norwegian Star’s starboard-side azipod, a separate propulsion-related problem forced the line to alter the ship’s itineraries.

Problems arose in the 2,240-passenger ship’s port-side azipod midway through a 33-night Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand cruise that departed January 16 from Hong Kong. Azipods are engine components that help propel and maneuver ships.

Norwegian Star suffered a separate mechanical issue in December 2016 that affected its starboard-side azipod and forced the cruise line to alter itineraries. The cruise line fixed the starboard-side azipod and says the current azipod problem is unrelated.

To ensure the ship arrives in Sydney as scheduled February 6, the cruise line canceled calls at Komodo Island, Airlie Beach and Brisbane; it will instead call at Darwin and spend an additional three days at sea, according to Norwegian Cruise Line. The ship will leave Sydney as scheduled February 6 but will forego stops in Burnie, Milford Sound and Napier, adding a second day in Melbourne and two additional days at sea.

Itineraries for the February 18 and February 24 cruises are being finalized and will be shared with passengers in the coming days, according to a cruise line statement.

According to the statement, released Friday night: “The ship’s system experienced a technical malfunction on January 24, which resulted in the ship’s speed being restricted from full capacity. This is a very unusual situation and unrelated to the issue the ship experienced in December.

“Norwegian Cruise Line sincerely apologizes for this unexpected but necessary change in itinerary for our guests onboard this and the following cruises. We understand that our guests were looking forward to the original itinerary, and it is always our intention to sail that whenever possible.

“All guest activities, amenities and services onboard the ship are functioning normally. While the speed of the vessel has been affected, there has been no interruption to any guest services and there are no safety concerns. Safety and security is, and will always remain, our number one priority.”

Cruise Critic members onboard Norwegian Star reported passenger protests. Fieryme, who shared a video on the cruise’s Cruise Critic Roll Call, said: “The atrium on two floors were packed and everywhere I turn everyone is talking about it.”

Norwegian is sending members of its leadership team in Australia, including Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific Steve Odell, to board the ship Sunday. They’ll hold a town hall meeting with passengers and answer questions.

The cruise line also is offering compensation to passengers as follows:

  • Passengers currently onboard will receive a total of $500 per person in onboard credit. The payment can be used onboard or refunded via mail at the conclusion of the cruise. They’ll also receive a 50 percent  future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid that can be used within the next three years.
  • Passengers scheduled to sail on the February 6 12-night cruise from Sydney will receive a $250 onboard credit per person, plus a 25 percent future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid, to be used within two years;
  • Passengers scheduled to sail on the February 18 19-night cruise from Auckland will receive a $500 onboard credit per person, plus a 50 percent future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid, to be used within two years;
  • Passengers scheduled to sail on the February 18 six-night cruise from Auckland will receive a $150 onboard credit per person, plus a 50 percent future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid, to be used within two years;
  • Passengers booked on the February 24 13-night cruise from Auckland will receive a $350 onboard credit per person, plus a 50 percent future cruise credit of their cruise fare paid, to be used within two years.

Norwegian says it will reach out to affected passengers with information as it becomes available; alternatively, passengers booked on any of the affected cruises can call the guest services team at 1-800-327-7030 for information.

Norwegian Star also altered itineraries in October 2015 because of an azipod problem.