Cruise Passengers Furious After Discovering a Major Itinerary Change on Embarkation Day

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Itinerary changes require flexibility from passengers, but they can be particularly challenging if they’re discovered too late.

This was the predicament that several guests found themselves in when they learned on embarkation day that their cruise was skipping a highly anticipated visit to Antarctica’s Paradise Bay.

norwegian star portmiami
Norwegian Star in PortMiami

When the Norwegian Star left Buenos Aires, Argentina, on February 4, its passengers thought they would be touring South America and Paradise Bay.

However, the latter was dropped from the itinerary, and many guests only learned about the change after the vessel had sailed. Instead of the more popular Paradise Bay, they were told that Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) ship would head to Elephant Island.

The trip, which was formerly referred to as a “14-night sailing to Antarctica and South America,” was renamed to “14-night South America Round-Trip” in the app. Crew members informed the disgruntled passengers that the change was communicated by email and signs were posted in the luggage check-in area. Several guests contested this, citing that they hadn’t been properly informed.

Cruisers dissatisfied by NCL’s response

@ruinedvacation

Replying to @Sarah update!! Still veey little information from @Norwegian Cruise Line #cruise #cruisetok #help #southamerica #antarctica #ncl #vacation #cruiseship #fyp #fypシ

♬ original sound – ruinedvacation

Australian passenger Shane Grant told NZ Herald that he only found out about the change when the name of the trip in his app was renamed and the word “Antarctica” had been excluded. According to him, there was “no explanation. The entire ship is really pissed off.”

An unnamed passenger publicized the incident by posting a few TikTok videos under the user name “ruinedvacation.” In her first video, the frustrated woman expressed her dissatisfaction by saying, “They secretly changed the name of this cruise yesterday on the app from South America and Antarctica to  South America Roundtrip.

According to the Customer Service Desk, this decision was made by the head office in Miami before we departed and it was for ‘operational reasons.’ They refuse to explain what those operational reasons are.”

She added that the ship received a “go slow order” that impacted its ability to reach Paradise Bay, but guests weren’t told why.

In another part of the clip, she showed a crowd of passengers behind her as they complained in the ship’s atrium. Security personnel could be heard in the background attempting to pacify the group. Since publishing the first video 3 days ago, the footage has accumulated over 3 million views. 

Passengers on embarkation day were surprised by an itinerary change, as they were now going to observe penguins on ice floes in the Antarctic.

Cruise Radio received the following response from NCL, “To enhance the guest experience, the ship’s current itinerary was revised to allow more time for guests to explore Stanley, Falkland Islands.”

It went on to say, “As such, the cruise by Paradise Bay, Antarctica was replaced with a cruise by Admiralty Bay, Antarctica.  In addition, due to a recent regulatory requirement in the area, the ship is operating at a reduced speed, also impacting its original itinerary.” 

While cruise lines reserve the right to change their itineraries at any time, many felt that NCL could have been more proactive in updating its passengers and should have provided more details. Others suggested that NCL could have allowed guests to cancel or book another cruise. 

Last year, the cruise operator began offering itineraries to Antarctica until 2025. 

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