Ship passengers protest after missing stops on Norwegian cruise

Ship passengers protest after missing stops on Norwegian cruise
In this July 3, 2011 photo, the Norwegian Spirit is seen docked in New Orleans. Copyright John McCusker, Times Picayune
By Suzanne Ciechalski and Phil Helsel with NBC News World News
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A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line said that it has no control over the weather and apologized for any disappointment.


Cruise passengers upset about being forced to miss several scheduled stops in Europe erupted in protest aboard the Norwegian Spirit cruise ship.Protests broke out earlier this week in the lobby of the ship with passengers chanting "liars, liars" and "we want refunds" after the ship was supposed to dock in Scotland but instead turned away from port, said passenger Cody McNutt, 31, of Denver.Video posted to social media captured the angry chants. McNutt described the protest as peaceful.The demonstrations came after a series of missed stops — including to Amsterdam and France, which itself was a substitute for a missed stop, and Iceland. The cruise line said weather forced the changes."Imagine you plan a trip in January and you go on this trip and nothing is [as] expected," McNutt, who ended up booking a flight home from Ireland, said in a phone interview Thursday.

Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement that Norwegian Spirit's "itinerary was impacted by severe weather conditions" and that "we are very sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment our guests experienced."The cruise line said that nine ports of call were originally planned for the 14-day cruise but that the schedule was cut to eight, and it offered passengers a 25 percent credit to be used on a future cruise."We understand that it is disheartening when we are unable to call on ports that our guests have been looking forward to visiting," a spokesperson for the cruise line said. "However, we do ask for our guests' patience, cooperation and understanding that severe weather conditions are an act of God and cannot be controlled, influenced or remediated by the cruise line."The statement did not address protests and did not say whether any of the eight stops it referenced were substitutions for other canceled stops.McNutt said the ship left from the United Kingdom on Sept. 27 and was scheduled to stop in Amsterdam, Ireland, Iceland and Norway.Almost immediately, he said, passengers were told the Amsterdam visit was scrubbed and the ship would be docking in France. That stop, too, was canceled because of weather.The ship did make it to Norway, but the stop in Iceland was called off, again because of weather, and "people were very disappointed," because "a lot of people booked this trip to go to Iceland," McNutt said.The Norwegian Spirit then went back to Norway and was supposed to go to Scotland on Monday, which was a substitute for Iceland, but it turned away and instead went to Belfast.Smelly or non-working toilets and the suspicion that food had turned stale also added to passengers' ire, he said.

In this July 3, 2011 photo, the Norwegian Spirit is seen docked in New Orleans.
In this July 3, 2011 photo, the Norwegian Spirit is seen docked in New Orleans.John McCusker, Times Picayune

McNutt and his girlfriend got off in Ireland and caught a flight back home. He said he was not impressed with the 25 percent credit Norwegian offered. We're "feeling like we're hostage on this ship and now they're offering us 25 percent off to go again," McNutt said.He said they planned the trip in January and will never travel with Norwegian again."We always do our best to provide our guests with a truly enjoyable and memorable vacation, but our very first priority is to ensure their safety and the safety of our crew," the Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said in the statement.The Norwegian Spirit is an 880-foot-long ship with capacity to carry 2,018 passengers, according to the cruise line's website.

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