Norwegian Cruise Lines put off an American passenger who was complaining about delays and port cancellations aboard the Norwegian Star as it made its way to Sydney last week.
The move came after propulsion issues meant the ship, on the line’s first visit to Australia in 13 years and a trail-blazer for Norwegian’s assault on the burgeoning market here, was forced to cancel port calls to maintain its schedule.
According to the line, most passengers received “generous” compensation and were happy – A$1,000 and the chance to use the value of their cruise to book another.
But one lone passenger refused the deal – and was put off the ship to be flown home.
Executive Vice President for International Business Development Harry Sommer revealed the deal to Cruise Passenger as the 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star was on her way to Sydney.
She arrived in the harbour on Monday morning. While she docked on schedule, media visits were scratched as passengers disembarked.
He said the 16-year-old ship had been hit twice by the same problem on each of its ABB Anzipod propulsion units, necessitating a new part being created. Luckily, because the experts remained on the vessel, they were able to repair the second unit.
“This will be fully fixed by the the time she comes back to Sydney on February 24th. But when she comes in on Monday, she will be running one propulsion unit – which causes reduced speed – 16 knots instead of 19 knots.”
“We think our compensation deal was far – and the overwhelming majority of passengers think its fair.
“When we tell people: you had your vacation, it’s unfortunate you missed ports but all the shipboard facilities were functioning. We gave them $1,000 back and all their money for a future cruise.
“We think that’s fair.
“There was one individual who was particularly vociferous and who was ruining everyone else’s vacation and we asked him to leave the ship when it got to Cairns. And since he left everyone’s happy.”
Mr Sommer said the situation would have been worse if the ship had not reached its departure port of Sydney on time, meaning passengers could have missed their flights or hotel stays.
“Fortunately, we were able to get to all our departure ports on time. Sydney on the 6th, Auckland on the 18th and Singapore on March 9.
“On the February 18th cruise we just have to shuffle a couple of ports around – I think we’re missing Burnie, but other than that we are going to get everything else. ”
Norwegian Cruise Lines, which also owns premium line Oceania and luxury brand Regent Seven Seas, is one of the biggest operators and celebrated 50 years of cruising last year.
The line recently opened an office in Sydney, which now has 100 staff working across all three brands – and announced record sales growth of 140 per cent at the weekend.
The line is planning to put the Norwegian Jewel into Sydney at the end of the year, and is building a new vessel for China called Norwegian Joy.