Late yesterday afternoon, the Norwegian Escape encountered high winds and ran aground as the NCL cruise ship was departing Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Several videos showed the ship in Puerto Plata near the shore.
@WESH @WFTV @FoxNews @cnnbrk @CNN @MSNBC Hearing from friends onboard the NCL Norwegian Escape, out of Port Canaveral, that the ship has run aground on a sandbar while departing Puerto Plata. No injuries reported. #cruise #Caribbean #Florida https://t.co/iYGwpI1HyF
— Marc Gordon (@marcgordon_) March 15, 2022
An NCL cruise passenger, the Disney Dude, was one of the first guests to report on the grounding and posted numerous photos of tugs which initially and unsuccesfully tried to free the ship.
— The Disney Dude (@DisneyTalk101) March 14, 2022
Update: still stuck and the tide is going out pic.twitter.com/Kly6DGyrCQ
— The Disney Dude (@DisneyTalk101) March 14, 2022
Several pro-cruise bloggers inexplicably praised the master of the ship, for handling the situation, although the ship was under the control of a pilot at the time of the grounding. But some people commented on the photos and left comments rightfully criticizing the master, who remains responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel notwithstanding the involvement of the pilot. “No excuse for running aground in this day and age. Captain Giovanni will have to answer some very pointed questions.”
The NCL ship was finally freed by tugs late last night, and then returned to port in for an inspection of its hull.
#NorwegianEscape is Free! We wiggled our way out at about 12:45am. Kudos to Captain Giovanni and the amazing bridge officers for working hard, swiftly and most importantly, safely! ❤️ #PuertoPlata #NCLEscape pic.twitter.com/uzrQo4ArzY
— Robbie O’Malley (@robbieo625) March 15, 2022
Many cruise fan bloggers downplayed the incident. Cruise Radio, for example, stated “And while some seemed to think the situation was dire, (the NCL captain) assured us – and those following his feed – that nothing could be further from the truth. ‘Everything is very calm,’ he said. ‘Life is normal other than the boat isn’t moving. All activities [are still] going on.'”
NCL stated that all cruise guests and passengers were uninjured and there was no damage to the ship itself. The grounding was initially described by some as the ship allegedly striking the “ocean’s sandy bottom.” But the issue remains whether damage was caused by the ship on surrounding reefs.
As a follow-up; she did have a pilot on board, and probably should not have tried a departure in such high winds. She returned pierside for damage assessment and survey. @dnv_maritime may need to board to give a clearance to sail as they are the classification agency.
— Sal Mercogliano 🚢⚓🧭🐪🚒🏴☠️ (@mercoglianos) March 15, 2022
The cruise ship was on the second day of a seven night cruise, having departed from Port Canaveral on Saturday, March 12th. The ship was scheduled to call on St. Thomas, Tortola and NCL’s “private island” in the Bahamas (Great Stirrup Cay), and then end its current cruise in Florida on March 19th.
Se habla de Taino Bay en Puerto Plata ya que el crucero Norwegian Escape se encalló en el canal de acceso intentando salir el pasado lunes en la tarde.
Según medios ya fue desencallao' 🛳 pic.twitter.com/Q9LfaWncZ6
— El Snack Report (@Elsnackreport) March 15, 2022
NCL has been in the news lately. A passenger went overboard from the Norwegian Breakaway last week; his body had not been recovered. (There have been well over three hundred people who have gone overboard from a cruise ship in the last twenty years). NCL also increased its daily service charges, making it the cruise line with the highest gratuities and the highest paid CEO (Frank Del Rio) in the cruise industry.
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Image credits: Top – Norwegian Escape – El Nuevo Diario / N Digital via El Snack Report; remaining photos – respective users on Twitter
March 15, 2022 Update: Master Mariner Bill Doherty left this comment on our Facebook page:
.@CruiseNorwegian I did many news interviews this week and my pictures and quotes have been shared around the world. I praised you up and down in every interview but as of last night at 730pm you have officially dropped the ball. You owe us at least a statement. #NorwegianEscape
— The Disney Dude (@DisneyTalk101) March 19, 2022
March 22, 2022 Update: Although NCL calls the damage “minor,” the Norwegian Escape suffereed a ruptured hull, causing the company to cancel another cruise.
— James (Jim) Walker (@CruiseLaw) March 23, 2022
March 30, 20211 Update:
For third straight week, NCL canceled its sailing of the Norwegian Escape; the #cruise ship continues to undergo repairs after it ran aground while leaving the Dominican port of Puerto Plata, sustaining what @CruiseNorwegian initially described as just "minor damage." https://t.co/L4ktcllbwP
— James (Jim) Walker (@CruiseLaw) March 30, 2022
April 4, 2022 Update:
— James (Jim) Walker (@CruiseLaw) April 4, 2022