Published on : Saturday, January 15, 2022
Aimee Focaraccio boarded the Norwegian Gem on Sunday for her 10-day birthday cruise from New York.
But the celebration ended Thursday when Norwegian let passengers know the cruise would be cancelled due to COVID-related issues.
By Friday evening, Focaraccio learned she was staring down several days at sea with no early return even though the cruise had been cancelled.
Focaraccio, who had spent the day in St. Maarten Friday, sent a recording of an onboard announcement.
Christine Da Silva, Senior Vice President of branding and communication for Norwegian Cruise Line, told in a statement earlier Friday that the ship would overnight in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and would return to its port of origin, New York, “shortly.”
At the time, she did not have an estimate as to when the ship would make its return to New York.
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Da Silva said that as they continue to navigate the fluid public health environment, while focusing on delivering a safe experience for all on board, today, they made the difficult decision to cancel Norwegian Gem’s current Caribbean sailing, due to COVID-related circumstances.
Early Friday evening, when asked about the ship returning to New York as scheduled but spending the remaining days at sea, the cruise line said there were no updates on its estimated return.
While the sailing was cancelled due to “COVID-related circumstances” according to the cruise line, Focaraccio said she isn’t aware of any official announcement regarding cases on board.
Letter from Norwegian to passengers on the Norwegian Gem explaining that the ship will end its trip early due to COVID related circumstances.
Once she learned that the Gem would not be returning to New York early from its cancelled sailing, Focaraccio expressed more frustration. Initially, she’d had mixed feelings about the cancellation and was grateful for the compensation the cruise line offered.
Passengers on the Gem’s cancelled sailing have been given a full refund in their original form of payment (or in cruise credit if that is how a passenger paid for the cruise), plus an additional cruise credit equal to 50% of the voyage fare for this sailing that can be applied to a future cruise by May 31, 2023.