Norwegian Cruise Lines has been non-responsive to our many complaints,assuring us (passengers) that we have no recourse to their decision. The following is being sent to various travel editors and newspapers in the hope of shedding light in the darkness. A short article appeared June 8, 2003 in the Washington Post entitled "Mutiny on the Norwegian.." (and picked up by the Birmingham Newspaper).
LETTER TO TRAVEL EDITOR
You thought you were sailing where ?!
Do you know that a cruise ship line could decide on a change of destination well in advance of the sailing date, and not only not notify the passengers until boarding, but refuse to refund any portion of the fare, or allow rebooking?
When you book through a travel agent or a cruise line they hold themselves out to be experts in the field of providing travel services. One of the performance requirements is called "the duty to warn". The law requires they warn service recipients of their inability to perform a service as soon as this inability becomes known.
Recently, Norwegian Cruise Lines "Dream" embarked 1700 passengers for St. Petersburg, Russia, on St. Petersburg's 300th Anniversary year,
only to announce that due to pre-existing ice conditions, and insurance considerations, they will not be sailing to the major ports of call, and as recompense, would be cruising the Fjords of, where else, Norway. In this case, NCL did not even inform their travel agents. Many NCL passengers had to "jump ship" en route.
Some cruise lines make an effort to be more accommodating.
When Princess Cruise Lines cancelled a Mediterranean port-of-call, they contacted every passenger 5 days before sailing, and offered a full refund, a cabin upgrade, or a cruise at a later date.
Carnival Cruise Lines, in the event of a pre-planned change of
itinerary, has a policy of prior notification of any changes, and the passengers have 24 hours after receipt of the notification to decide whether or not they want to sail the itinerary, and there are no penalties. ….
Radisson Cruise Lines will notify passengers of change in itinerary,
and in the past, when unable to get into a scheduled port, offered alternative transportation to passengers.
Crystal Cruises will advise your travel agent of itinerary changes, and generally these will be known prior to any penalty periods, especially if they impact any of the major ports of call. There may be slight changes in itinerary closer to sailing as well (which will most often be arrival/departure times in ports rather than full port changes). While they do reserve the right to alter an itinerary at any time, in the past when changes have been significant, they have offered options. Smaller changes are at the company's discretion, but will seldom impact the overall itinerary.
If your cruise destination is as important as the food, you would be well advised to check with your travel agent or directly with the cruise line to be aware of their track record before booking your next cruise.