Several readers of this blog alerted me to a Facebook page called Panama Canal Sun chronicling the ill-fated cruise aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sun through the Panama Canal which left from Miami on March 16, 2018.
Construction related to a deck refinishing project reportedly began on board the NCL cruise ship almost immediately according to the website.
As you can see in the numerous photographs posted online, the cruise involved the sanding of the wooden decks and the application of noxious smelling chemicals and compounds throughout the open decks of the ship. Many of the ship employees/contractors involved in the work were wearing respirators due to the dust but the passengers obviously were not wearing personal protective equipment. There are dozens of comments on the Facebook page regarding dust generated by the work covering the public spaces.
The heavy construction caused NCL to shut down numerous bars, deck spaces and restaurants. The photos show paint particles and fibrous insulation covering the decks. Flammable chemicals were stored on open decks. Many passengers complained of burning, itching and runny eyes and difficulty breathing due to the strong fumes and/or particles.
One passenger complained to guest services of what they believed to be toxic fumes which were entering her cabin from the work on the outer decks. Guest services sent a supervisor to the cabin who reportedly sprayed "Fabrese" into the vent and around the cabin.
The passengers were expecting a dream vacation on a luxurious cruise ship but paid for a construction zone which woke them up in the early morning with noise and odors which they heard and smelled throughout the day and into the night.
This appears to be a project which obviously should have taken place in dry-dock, not during a cruise with nearly two thousand people aboard trying to enjoy a relaxing vacation. The Facebook page members realized that this project was not due to the fault of the captain or crew but was the result of poor leadership from NCL’s corporate offices here in Miami who essentially scheduled a floating dry-dock at sea with passengers on board in order to maximize profits.
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April 2, 2018 Update: Some of the passengers state that doors leading to muster stations on the ship were blocked (photo above right) – this seems dangerous, especially considering the flammable chemicals stored all over the decks . . . Muster assembly access to some of the lifeboats is also blocked, as shown in some of the photos below . . .
April 3, 2018 Update:
Global News (Canada) B.C. travellers say trip of a lifetime ruined by work on Norwegian Cruise Line ship. Norwegian Cruise Line said: “While we do our utmost to minimize any impact on the guest experience when these enhancements are taking place, we recognize that in this situation our guests have experienced some inconvenience.” (The company offered passengers 25 per cent off another cruise until March 2019).
CBC Passengers angry and frustrated as cruise ship renovations ruin vacation (Canadian newspaper interviewed me regarding NCL’s outrageous dry-dock-at-sea shenanigans).
April 5, 2018 Update (A.M.): The U.S. media is finally reporting on the NCL madness:
Travel Pulse: Unhappy Norwegian Sun Passengers Making Voices Heard.
Photo credit: Panama Canal Sun Facebook page.
April 5, 2018 Update (P.M.): NCL finally offers a 100% future credit.