A Norwegian Cruise Line’s 10-day trip to the Caribbean was abruptly canceled mid-trip due to COVID-19, leaving the ship’s passengers idle with no set return date.
The Norwegian Gem left New York on Jan. 9 with promises of various island visits. Just one day into the roundtrip getaway, passengers were told that two stops would be cut, raising the number of days at sea to six. Three days later, the passengers were told that the rest of the trip’s disembarkations had been nixed, CruiseHive reported.
“Without the islands and ports to break up the sea days, this is turning into a nightmare,” passenger Aimee Focaraccio, who called it a “cruise from hell,” told USA Today. “I really can’t imagine four more sea days back to back without much to do.”
A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line called the cancellations a “difficult decision” caused by “COVID-related circumstances.”
“The ship will overnight in Philipsburg, St. Maarten and will return to New York shortly. We do not yet have an estimated time of arrival to New York,” a spokesperson for the company told HuffPost in a statement Sunday.
That overnight stop in St. Maarten was the only port of call for the Gem, according to CruiseHive. Passengers were given a full refund plus a discount on a future trip, USA Today and CruiseHive reported.
The abrupt schedule changes comes after Norwegian Cruise Line canceled eight trips earlier this month, again citing health concerns.
Those cancellations followed a planned 11-day voyage out of Miami that returned after completing just one full day at sea. One passenger, citing an announcement on the ship, told a local news station that the trip was cut short because 50 crew members tested positive for COVID.
Late last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged people to avoid cruises regardless of their vaccination status, due to the high rate of virus transmission onboard.
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