Last month, I wrote about an azipod failure on the Norwegian Star which resulted in the NCL ship limping around on an altered Asian itinerary, much to the frustration of cruise vacationers. It seems that instead of sending the ship to dry dock, NCL arranged to send the azipod contractors aboard to repair the ship while it was sailing. They apparently fixed the problem but the other azipod has now apparently failed:
According to a message which from a crew member on the Norwegian Star today:
"I’m writing to you again from the unlucky Norwegian Star! I wrote to you sometime in December when we broke down in Singapore at the beginning of our Asian season . . . yesterday 25th of January, while at sea we experienced problems again, this timer with other engine, "the old one!" So now that one is offline… Today, 26th, in Bali, Indonesia, captain made announcement that we are changing the itinerary AGAIN this cruise, skipping 3 ports and adding sea days in order to reach Sydney in time. At the beginning of the cruise (before 23rd, Singapore) we already skipped places and for that everybody received 200$ for onboard account, today, that was changed to 500$. But of course, guests are NOT happy and poor guys at the reception and the security are getting pounded heavily by raging crowd . . . I feel sorry for them because it is not their fault or any other crew member for a broken engine and Miami office made a decision about refunds and amounts, not onboard management . . . So the stricken Norwegian Star is going AGAIN through some very hard times . . ."
I also received this message from a passenger’s family:
"I have been contacted by relatives on Norwegian Cruiseline NCL Star. They left Singapore earlier this week and are on the way to Australia. Azipod failure again and they have been told their day in Brisbane is canceled, and their trip to the barrier reef is off. This was the reason my relative took the cruise in the first place, so he is very annoyed – it was his 70th birthday present and he has waited over a year to take this cruise. This cruise already can celled part of the itinerary before leaving due to the delays on the previous cruise. So far, they have been offered no refund of this cruise – have been bunged some on-ship credit to spend and 50% off the next cruise. They are not happy bunnies!! There is nothing on the internet about this yet, so please can you inform everyone. I don’t see how NCL keep getting away with this – there is an obvious issue with this ship and they just keep taking people’s money and canceling the planned trips."
January 27, 2017 Update:
I received photographs (right and below) of what is happening on the Norwegian Star and comments from a passenger which say in part:
"This is what is happening here on the Norwegian Star at noon on Friday 27th January 2017!
We are on board NCL Star and it is desperate to say the least. To say that things have virtually descended to mob rule would not be an understatement.
As I write this there are more than 500 people demonstrating in the main atrium, shouting in unison ‘Shame on Norwegian’, ‘Where’s the Captain?’, ‘Boo, Boo, Boo’!
This has been going on for over two hours today and the same yesterday evening. I attach three photographs that I have taken within the last hour.
The ship has engine propulsion problems again and the itinerary has been changed once again with another three ports having been cancelled meaning that we are now only stopping at half of the planned ports on this three week cruise.
The main thing that seems to be causing mass unrest is not the fact that the ship has engine problems but the fact that this is the same fault as the ship has had many times previously and that people have been miss sold this long cruise when Norwegian Cruise Line clearly knew there were ongoing problems with the ship.
Documents have been circulated by some guests showing that this problem has been ongoing for months, and a ships log that has been produced on board which shows that the same propulsion faults also occurred on 17 October 2015 and again on 11 December 2016, there are other dates for similar issues in the report also.
During the peak of the demonstrations no officers were to be seen, the Captain has not been seen for the whole cruise and the reception desk are merely handing out comments cards to whose who want to complain. People are absolutely furious about how we are being treated here – there is just no leadership! We have been told by staff that there is nothing that staff on board can do because they need to wait to hear from Miami - but we have been waiting for nearly two days now! This lack of action seems to be infuriating people more and more . . . ."
January 28. 2017 Update:
". . . There were more demos today and captain eventually made an appearance after more chanting ‘where’s the captain’. NCL flying some execs in from Miami to speak to us at sometime tomorrow . . ."
January 30, 2017 Update: NCL offers passengers aboard the Norwegian Star 100% of cruise fare towards a future cruise in addition to onboard credit of $500 per first and second guest ($1,000 per stateroom). See letter here.
February 9, 2017 Update: The Star is dead in the water. I received dozens of emails today from passengers on the NCL cruise ship saying that the remaining azapood failed shortly after leaving Melbourne, Australia (although A/C, electricity and water remain on). Here’s one: "We are on the Norwegian Star and our complete propulsion system has failed. We are unable to maneuver and wait for help. Thank goodness before the coast of Australia and not in the middle of the Tasmanian Sea! The plan is to return to Melbourne for repair. For all friends and relatives: we are not in danger! Everything except the drive works and help is on the move. All stops in New Zealand are canceled…."
Another comment: "100% refund on this cruise and 50% on future cruise good for 5 years.. Also not the commotion of last cruise and no protests. Very orderly. Tugs are on way, should be here by 5pm and then we should be back in Melbourne by early evening on Saturday. Also giving 300 for airline changes or 350 if you decide to fly to Auckland."
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Photo credit: above – Top – Pjotr Mahhonin – CC BY-SA 3.0; commons / wikimedia; middle and bottom – anonymous.