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.