Repairs to Norwegian Escape are taking longer than expected, prompting Norwegian Cruise Line to cancel a second seven-night cruise for the Port Canaveral-based ship.
The Escape is currently undergoing repairs outside of Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 5 after the ship ran aground while exiting the port of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on March 14 and suffered what the cruise line originally described as “minor damage.”
Now, in a statement released late Tuesday, Norwegian said that “repairs on Norwegian Escape will take longer than expected. For this reason, the cruise scheduled for March 26 has been cancelled. We are optimistic that the issue will be resolved shortly and we will resume normal operations on April 2.”
The damage forced the cruise line to cancel its March 12-19 cruise and cancel its March 19-26 and March 26-April 2 cruises departing from Port Canaveral.
Norwegian has arranged for cruise passengers to be flown back to Orlando and other airports on charter flights from March 12-19 from the Dominican Republic. However, some passengers have complained about the delays in getting home.
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Diane Luensmann, Port Canaveral’s vice president of government and strategic communications, said the ship carried 3,157 passengers on the March 12 cruise.
Norwegian provided passengers on that cruise with a full refund and a 100% future cruise credit through March 25, 2023.
Passengers scheduled for the March 26 cruise were informed Tuesday that their cruise had been cancelled. In an email, the cruise line told passengers, “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, as we understand that now, more than ever, there is a desire to travel and reconnect with the places and people we loved on.” have missed most.”
Norwegian was offering passengers the chance to sail on one of four Norwegian Cruise Line seven-night cruises that departed from other ports this weekend, as well as a 100% credit towards the price of their Escape booking booked through April 4, 2023 The cruise bookings on offer for this weekend were:
- Norwegian Joy departs Miami on Saturday.
- Norwegian Breakaway departs New Orleans on Sunday.
- The Norwegian Dawn departs Tampa on Sunday.
- Norwegian Encore departs Miami on Sunday.
As an alternative, passengers were offered a full refund plus a future cruise credit for a cruise through April 4, 2023, worth 50% of their currently paid voyage fare.
In a statement, Norwegian said: “We apologize to our guests for any inconvenience this may have caused. We appreciate their patience and understanding.”
Built in 2015, Norwegian Escape has a double occupancy capacity of 4,266 and a crew of 1,733.
Overall cruising “looks bright”
During the Canaveral Port Authority meeting on Wednesday, the port’s chief executive officer, John Murray, briefly mentioned Norwegian’s Escape’s repair issues and said he understood the cruise line was “in good shape” for the ship to return on April 2 could set sail.
Murray also reported that the port’s cruise business in general “is looking very good right now.”
“Our numbers are really strong” in March, Murray said.
Murray said Port Canaveral-based cruise lines are now generally sailing near or above 100% of their passenger capacity at double occupancy, which was not the case before cruising was halted for 16½ months in March 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic.
“They sell the ships,” Murray said.
Port Canaveral’s chief financial officer, Michael Poole, said that combined revenue from cruise ship operations and cruise passenger parking for the current fiscal year (October 2021 through February 2022) is $31.57 million. That’s $312,412 over budget projections for the period.
The port’s total operating income — including cruise, cargo, lease, recreation and other businesses — for the period was $42.89 million. That’s $1.29 million over budget.
The port’s fiscal year-to-date profit — which the port calls “change in net position” — is $19.54 million, or $1.25 million below budget.
Port Canaveral is currently home to 11 multi-day cruise ships representing five brands – Carnival, Disney, MSC, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.
According to Poole, in the first five months of the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, cruise lines carried 1.22 million passengers to and from Port Canaveral, on a total of 283 trips by Port Canaveral-based ships, plus 46 ports of call by ships that are stationed elsewhere.
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