After running aground on Monday afternoon off the coast of the Dominican Republic, Norwegian Escape has been forced to cancel its current voyage mid-cruise as the line assesses the vessel for damage.
As we first reported last night, the ship’s ordeal began when a combination of winds and shallows found the bow of the large ship digging into the sandy bottom of the ocean. Despite tugs attempting to assist Escape, the ship remained firmly lodged in place, forcing the ship to spend an unexpected night off the coast. It was hoped that the morning’s rising tides would allow the ship to break free and resume her regularly scheduled voyage. That was not, however, how things played out.
Tuesday, guests received a letter from the captain explaining the situation. “As per my previous announcement,” it read, “during the afternoon of March 14, 2022, Norwegian Escape made contact with the channel bed as it was departing Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. In the early morning of March 15 the ship was re-floated and returned to the dock at Puerto Plata, where it was assessed for damages.”
The letter went on to say, “In an abundance of caution, the remainder of the Norwegian Escape‘s March 12, 2022, sailing has been canceled and we will be disembarking all guests between March 16-18, 2022 in Puerto Plata. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.”
The line did not say what damage, if any, the vessel may have sustained after striking the bottom of the harbor on Monday afternoon.
Norwegian Cruise Line said it would be refunding 100 percent of the cruise’s cost to the original form of payment within five business days. If the voyage was paid for with a Future Cruise Credit, the amount will be applied to the guest’s latitudes account. The line is also giving guests an additional 100 percent Future Cruise Credit, regardless of how the fare was paid.
What Happens Next?
With close to 2,000 guests being stuck in the Dominican Republic, and over 800 miles from the ship’s home port, the cruise line is in the process of arranging charter flights to get stranded passengers to Orlando, Florida. The line is also arranging transportation for guests that drove to get from the Orlando International Airport to Port Canaveral to pick up their vehicle.
The next Western Caribbean cruise scheduled for March 19 has also been canceled.
This article will be updated as more information is released.