After the Norwegian Epic finally arrived in San Juan (after it experienced partial power loss causing NCL to cancel ports of call in Tortola and St. Thomas yesterday) reportedly via tugs on the starboard side, the NCL ship struck a pier in port and collapsed a portion of the dock.

TweetsWithTito videotaped the Norwegian Epic striking the dock.

The accident reminds me of an incident when the Celebrity Infinity crashed into a dock in Ketchikan, Alaska in June of 2016, or perhaps when the MSC Amonia struck a small dock in Roatan last year.

Perhaps some cruise guests will say that this was an appropriate end to a disappointing cruise.

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Video credit: TweetsWith Tito via Twitter

Update: It appears that NCL is reportedly offering a pittance to the guests, only a 50% credit on a future cruise, and no refund of any kind. As one cruise passenger posted on Twitter:

The Norwegian Epic sustained power loss yesterday during its current cruise to the Caribbean, requiring the NCL cruise ship to divert to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Epic left Port Canaveral, Florida on February 9th heading toward Tortola, British Virgin Islands where it was scheduled to arrive this morning around 8:00 a.m. It was then scheduled to call on St Thomas, US Virgin Islands tomorrow (February 13th) and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas on February 15th before returning to Port Canaveral on February 16th.

The cruise ship reportedly sustained power loss to one or two engines (reports via social media vary) which reduced its speed to around 11 knots. It has slowly sailed a couple hundred miles toward San Juan for the last 24 hours. It is now approaching San Juan after NCL cancelled the ports of call on Tortola and St. Thomas yesterday.

I have received several emails from passengers on the ship as well as cruise guests’ family members asking for what options they have after the aborted cruise in question.

It is anticipated that NCL will refer the guests to its terms and conditions which permit it to “cancel, advance, postpone or substitute any scheduled sailing or itinerary without prior notice” due to “mechanical difficulties or any other reason whatsoever.” It is largely a matter of whether NCL executives wish to extend good will to their customers.

Travelling with Bruce’s up-and-coming YouTube page (video bottom) was one of the first to report on the power failure. Cruise guests also left comments on Twitter.

Cruise guests Mr. Wozniak posted a humorous observation on Twitter yesterday, stating that he was on a “. . . broken cruise ship where everyone is freaking out. The people watching is amazing right now. You would think we were on the Titanic with the way some people are acting.”

This is not the first time in recent history that NCL has modified or cancelled cruises due to mechanical problems.

NCL cancelled a cruise on the Norwegian Jade due to an unspecified “mechanical issue” last November which left thousands of passengers in San Juan. NCL arranged for charter flights for many of its guests to fly back to Miami, and reimbursed those passengers who made their own flight arrangements. NCL also refunded the cruise fares and extended a future cruise credit based on the cruise fare paid.

Over one year ago, NCL had to suspend a cruise on the Norwegian Gem due to mechanical issues related to the ship’s azipod system. The cruise was suspended in Barbados. NCL flew the passengers back to New York and later offered a 25% discount on a future cruise.

The Norwegian Star underwent a series of azipod problems in December of 2016 and in January/February of 2017 during Asian and Australian itineraries, which resulted in cancellation of the cruises and refunds and cruise credits to the guests following widespread protests on the ship (photo above left).

Update: Norwegian Epic Crashes Into Dock in San Juan – some may say a fitting end to a disappointing cruise.

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The United States Coast Guard medevaced a passenger from a NCL cruise ship yesterday off of Southern California.

The Norwegian Star requested assistance on Thursday morning from the Coast Guard after a 68-year-old man began experiencing problems related his heart.

The cruise ship was approximately 310 miles at sea but diverted toward shore in order to meet a Coast Guard helicopter which flew 200 miles west from San Diego.

The passenger was hoisted aboard the helicopter and flown to San Diego. Emergency medical services personnel then transferred the passenger to UC San Diego Medical Center.  The Coast Guard says the man was reported to be in stable condition.

Video credit: Video by Seaman Taylor BaconU.S. Coast Guard District 11 PADET San Diego via Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS).

A couple from Northern Ireland were surprised when after boarding the Norwegian Jewel, they opened the door to their cabin (# 10039) and were confronted with strangers having sex on one of the beds.

The cruisers in question, Bobby and Mary Jackson, are from a small town north of Belfast and were about to begin their first cruise on what they hoped would be a dream vacation. According to the Sunday Post article titled The Boat That Rocked: Scots Holiday-Makers Stunned to Find Crewman and Mystery Woman Making Waves in Their Cruise Ship Cabin, the cruise couple was embarking on a cruise from Singapore to Thailand when they encountered the two strangers making jiggy jiggy in their cabin.

Ms. Jackson told the newspaper that she was “horrified, what I witnessed was extremely unpleasant.”

The attendant for their cabin subsequently identified the man as a crew member, although the woman engaged in the faire une partie de jambes en l’air was not identified. There is a question whether she was also a ship employee.

The couple complained to guest relations who explained that the ship was full but offered them a £100 ($128) on board credit, which they say “insulted” them. When the Jacksons contacted NCL after the cruise, the cruise line increased its offer of compensation to £200 ($257) each toward a future cruise. (Ms. Jackson also reportedly contracted a gastrointestinal illness during the cruise).

I have written about all type of foolhardy behavior during cruises – read Marketing “Sex at Sea” on Cruise Ships; I suppose that this couple received less than they bargained for on their first cruise, particularly at a cost of £4,800 (around $6,175).  But at least they were not with young kids who saw the spectacle such that they would had to explain for the remainder of the cruise what they witnessed.

NCL appears to be notoriously skimpy when issuing compensation for most inconveniences, if it does at all. But $500 in a credit to two guests for temporarily being delayed entering their cabin while amorous crew members did the deed, does not seem particularly unreasonable, although fresh bed linen would seem to have been in order.

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January 21, 2019 Update:  Here’s the latest – NCL now denied that the incident ever occured, as explained in an article titled Norwegian Cruise Line denies claim crew member used passenger’s cabin for sex.  “The thorough investigation undertaken, including full review of security footage of the corridor where the stateroom was located, does not corroborate the allegation,” the line said in the statement.  In its statement, Norwegian said it operated its ships at the very highest standards. “Any incidents that may fall below these standards are thoroughly investigated and actioned appropriately,” the line said.

The truth of the matter is that few cruise lines keep CCTV images for as long as 4 months, even when crimes are alleged to have occurred. And it does not appear that NCL conducted any type of serious, timely investigation, at least not until the story went viral . . . .

Photo credit: A.jo – Public Domain, commons / wikimedia.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced during the evening of Sunday November 18th that is was cancelling the current cruise of the Norwegian Jade due to an unspecified “mechanical issue.”

The Jade is currently is San Juan, Puerto Rico during the third day of a “10-Night Southern Caribbean,” having left Miami during the afternoon of November 16th.  The NCL cruise ship was scheduled to leave San Juan last night and arrive in St. Thomas later this morning. The ship was originally scheduled to call on St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Maarten, returning to Miami on November 26th.

The Master of the ship, Captain Frank Juliussen, confirmed via a letter to the guests that the mechanical issue will keep the ship in San Juan until Tuesday, November 20th at which time “all guests will be required to disembark as the ship will undergo several days of repairs.”

NCL stated that it is trying to arrange charter flights for its guests back to Miami; however, it will pay $650 a person in change fees in the event that passengers are able to make their own flight arrangements.

NCl also stated that it is refunding the cruise fares and will extend a future cruise credit based on the cruise fare paid.

AIS data show the ship has been moved from a pier in Old San Juan to a nearby dock so that the passengers can disembark.

This is not the first time that a NCL has been cancelled during a cruise in the Caribbean due to mechanical issues. One year ago, NCL had to suspend a cruise on the Norwegian Gem due to mechanical issues related to the ship’s azipod system. The cruise was suspended in Barbados and flew the passengers back to New York. NCL later offered a 25% discount on a future cruise.

The Norwegian Star underwent a series of azipod problems in December of 2016 and in January/February of 2017 during Asian and Australian itineraries, which resulted in cancellation of the cruises and refunds and cruise credits to the guests.

NCL states that its terms and conditions for the cruise permit it to “cancel, advance, postpone or substitute any scheduled sailing or itinerary without prior notice” due to “mechanical difficulties or any other reason whatsoever.”

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A copy of a more legible letter can be viewed here.

The United States Coast Guard medevaced a 78-year-old passenger from the Norwegian Escape yesterday afternoon on September 22, 2018 after the man reportedly suffered a stroke on the cruise ship.

The NCL’s cruise ship was approximately 40 nautical miles south of Nantucket at the time of the medevac as the cruise ship was returning to New York from a weel long cruise to New England and Canada.

The Norwegian Escape had sailed from New York a week ago, on September 16th, and had sailed to Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine and then to the Canadian ports of Saint John and Halifax.

The NCL ship reportedly notified the Coast Guard around 5 p.m. yesterday and the Coast Guard dispatched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at around 7:30 P.M. which flew to the ship and hoisted the man and a nurse from the ship.

The passenger was flown to a hospital in Rhode Island where reportedly in stable condition.

Coast Guard medevacs like this funded for by U.S. taxpayers and are not paid for by either the passenger or the cruise line.

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Video credit: U.S. Coast Guard District One via Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS).

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued air quality violations to eight cruise ships and water quality violations to nine cruise ships last week, according to the Juneau Empire.

In an article by Kevin Gullufsen, the newspaper reported that four Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ships, two Princess Cruises ships, and one cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and one ship operated by Royal Caribbean violated Alaska’s air quality standards throughout the cruise season’s summer months (June-August).

Alaska’s DEC cited HAL’s Eurodam, Westerdam, Amsterdam, and Nieuw Amsterdam; Princess’ Emerald Princess and Golden Princess; NCL’s Norwegian Jewel; and Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas (which was cited twice).

Last year, the DEC determined that NCL’s Norwegian Jewel and HAL’s Amsterdam violated Alaska’s air standards.

The violations reportedly could result in fines as high as $46,192 per cruise ship.

The manager of Alaska’s cruise ship emissions monitoring program told the Juneau Empire that: “opacity is an indicator for overall air quality. So there are things that could be in the emissions. Things like nitrogen oxides or particulates. Things that can be breathed in and can potentially cause some health effects.”

Just last week in another article by Kevin Gullufsen, the Juneau Empire reported that “exhaust emissions poured from the Norwegian Pearl’s exhaust stack” as the NCL cruise ship was docking in Alaksa. The DEC has not yet announced whether the Norwegian Pearl violated Alaska’s air quality standards.

A few days later, a Canadian resident filmed the same NCL cruise ship spewing emissions in Victoria and posted the film on Twitter, which you can see below.

The DEC also found that nine cruise ships violated Alaska’s water quality standards this summer, according to the Juneau Empire.

Five Princess cruise ships violated water quality standards, including the Emerald Princess, Island Princess, Golden Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess.  The Star Princess and the Emerald Princess violated the water standards twice.

The DEC also issued wastewater discharge violations to HAL’s Eurodam, Noordam, and Voledam, as well as Seabourn Cruise Line’s Sojourn.

A month ago, we reported that Princess Cruises’ Star Princess recently discharged sludge from its exhaust system scrubbers in the port of Ketchikan, according to the city of Ketchikan. The discharge was originally reported by KRBD Community Radio. KRBD reported the Star Princess’ discharge and a similar discharge from the Golden Princess while the ship was in Ketchikan.

As shown by photographs (above and on our Facebook page, courtesy of the city of Ketchikan), the sludge polluted the waters of Ketchikan and fouled the port facilities where the Princess cruise ship were berthed. The DEC has not yet announced that these particular discharges violated Alaska’s water standards.

Princess denied the reports, claiming that “our experts believe what was viewed and photographed is most likely sea foam discolored by natural microorganisms such as algae in the seawater, which is commonly experienced in northern climates in the summer season.”

Alaska cited two cruise ships operated by Princess Cruises for violating both air and water standards – the Emerald Princess and Golden Princess.

The air violations by HAL, Princess and Royal Caribbean and the water violations by HAL and Princess all involved pollution by cruise lines which have pleaded guilty to environmental violations and lying to the U.S Coast Guard. Princess was the latest cruise line to have pleaded guilty to such crimes and lying to federal agencies, resulting in a fine of $40,000,000.  Federal prosecutors found that the Star Princess and the Golden Princess were in the middle of Princess’ widespread, ongoing schemes to pollute and lie about it.

Princess appears to be in direct violation of the guilty plea agreement (where it promised not to commit further violations of international, federal, state, or local environmental laws) which it entered into with the federal government in December of 2016. Whether the federal government does anything about Princess’ continuing pattern of pollution is another matter.

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September 13, 2018 Update: Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation stated today that the DEC issued wastewater citations to HAL for “unauthorized discharge of untreated graywater” from the Noordam. It cited Princess Cruises for “unauthorized discharge of treated graywater” from the Star  Princess.  The DEC’s notices of violations issued for water standards were all related to unauthorized untreated graywater or treated mixed graywater and sewage, in violations of Alaska’s wastewater discharge permit. These are not for scrubber washwater discharges.

Photo credits: Top – Norwegian Pearl in Juneau / Photo credit Tim Olson / KTOO Public Radio; middle – city of Ketchikan via KRBD Community Radio.

Today, the Miami Daily Business Review (DBR) reported on an arbitration award entered against Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) on behalf of a seriously injured crew member.

The DBR article, titled “Miami Attorney Helps Secure $3.3M for Man Whose Arm Was Amputated After Seeking Care for Flu-Like Symptoms,” explains that the case involved a 30 year-old crew member from Serbia by the name of Ilija Loncar who was employed by NCL as a waiter aboard the Norwegian Breakaway.

Mr. Loncar, who previously worked as a carpenter prior to working on the NCL cruise ship, was treated by the NCL shipboard team for flu-like symptoms in March of 2016. NCL had earlier hired a doctor, Sebastian Campuzano, who the arbitrator described as a “young, inexperienced, Columbia trained physician (licensed in 2013) who was hired by NCL just 4 months before the subject accident.”

Dr. Campuzano prescribed promethazine which the ship nurse injected in a massive dose too quickly, causing an intensely painful and  harmful reaction.  NCL then failed to timely medically evacuate Mr. Loncar from the ship, squandering any chance his arm could be saved.  As a result of the malpractice and delayed medical evacuation, Mr. Loncar developed Compartment Syndrone and required the eventual amputation of his dominant right arm.

The arbitrator’s decision reflects what appears to be completely abysmal medical care by an inept doctor and nurse who demonstrated a complete lack of basic medical knowledge, training and experience. The arbitrator found that: Dr. Campuzano had no experience or familiarity with the drug which he ordered to be mistakenly injected intravenously in Mr. Loncar’s arm rather than intramuscularly in his buttocks; he first attempted to schedule a consultation via the internet with a medical facility in South Florida for advice but he gave up after he could not establish a connection; he didn’t read the relevant physician desk book, medical literature, package inserts or warnings for the medication; he never warned Mr. Loncar of the risks associated with the medicine or obtain his informed consent; and he didn’t consider ordering a lower dosage or other medicines available on the ship which did not contain the risk of such catastrophic injury.

Dr. Campuzano tried to refute his deposition admissions after the fact via an “errata sheet” which the arbitrator rejected. The decision seems to indicate that the arbitrator did not find Dr. Campuzano or the ship nurse (Marco Oracion) or NCL’s defense particularly credible.

The case was the result of “arbitration.” NCL is one of many cruise lines which prohibit injured crew members from filing cases in the U.S. legal system and require them to pursue “arbitration” cases where a single arbitrator, paid by the cruise lines, applies the law of the Bahamas.  NCL started the trend toward arbitration after a decrepit, poorly maintained steam boiler on NCL’s 40+ year-old SS Norway exploded at the port of Miami in 2003. The explosion killed eight NCL crew members and seriously burned another nineteen crew members. NCL forced the families of the dead Filipinos to pursue the limited benefits permitted under Filipino law, as opposed to the full range of damages permitted under U.S. law.

The arbitration award, which you can view here, was rendered in June of this year. The arbitrator awarded past pain and suffering in the amount of $337,500, and $3,000,000 for future pain and suffering (estimated at 48 years), loss of future earning capacity (over the course of 35 years) and future medical expenses, including the replacement of the crew member’s prosthesis.

One of the reasons NCL requires arbitration (as opposed to a trial by a U.S. jury) is to keep awards to a minimum in catastrophic injury cases like this.

The case was handled by Thomas Scolaro and  Mason Kerns of the Leesfield Scolaro firm here in Miami. NCL was represented by  Curtis Mase and Larry Krutchik of the Mase, Mebane and Briggs firm.

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Photo credit: Dickelbers (Dick Elbers) CC 3.0 wikipedia / commons.

 

Local residents in Juneau recently lodged numerous complaints about exhaust emissions which belched into the air from the Norwegian Pearl to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in Alaska, according to a newspaper in Juneau.

The Juneau Empire reported that on Tuesday “exhaust emissions poured from the Norwegian Pearl’s exhaust stack” as the NCL cruise ship Pearl began to dock at around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, maneuvering into position after the Norwegian Bliss left the dock around this time.

The newspaper stated that it took a 45-minute video of the pollution, which was compressed into a video time lapse. The video (shown below) “shows the Pearl emitting nearly-opaque exhaust for much of the video.”

The newspaper explains that based on EPA guidelines, “air quality violations are based on percentage of opacity, where 0 percent means emissions are see through, while 100 percent opacity means one can’t see through it.” Ships are allowed to exceed 20 percent opacity for three minutes an hour while at the dock. When casting off, anchoring and docking, ship exhausts are only allowed to exceed 40 percent opacity for nine minutes out of an hour.”

The Juneau Empire reports that Ed White, who runs the Commercial Passenger Vessel Environmental Compliance program, “couldn’t comment on whether DEC was in the process of issuing a fine to the Norwegian Pearl as he’s not allowed to comment on ongoing compliance issues.”

Early last month, Princess Cruises’ Star Princess cruise ship discharged sludge from its exhaust system scrubbers in the port of Ketchikan, according to the city of Ketchikan.

Scrubber systems are increasingly being used on cruise ships in order to reduce sulfur particles and engine exhaust particulates.  Petroleum-based, non-combustible particulate matter accumulates as toxic sludge during the water-scrubbing process, and must eventually be removed from the ships and should be disposed of properly in certified facilities ashore. Many cruise ships often discharge the sludge into the ocean, while they are underway or even at port, rather than properly disposing of the sludge in facilities ashore.

Photographs shown on our Facebook page, courtesy of the city of Ketchikan, show that the sludge polluted the waters of Ketchikan and fouled the port facilities where the Princess cruise ship was berthed.  Princess responded to new reports of the discharge by making the farcical claim that the sludge was “most likely sea foam discolored by natural microorganisms such as algae in the seawater, which is commonly experienced in northern climates in the summer season.”

There has been a long history of cruise ships violating the air and water standards of Alaska, which we have written about ever since we started this blog nine years ago. See our article three years ago – Alaska Alleges Cruise Lines Violated Air Emission Laws (photo below).

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September 9, 2018 Update: The Pearl was observed continuing to spew emissions at port in Victoria.

Photo Credit:  Top – Norwegian Pearl– Michael Penn / Juneau Empire; Bottom – Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas cruise ship – AlaskanLibrarian’s Flickr photostream. Video Credit – Juneau Empire.

A Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) cruise ship on Sunday, September 2, 2018 stopped its cruise to the Caribbean and Mexico and deployed a lifeboat to pick up four Cuban nationals spotted “in the middle of the ocean,” according to a report by Fox News.

NCL issued a public statement stating that the Norwegian Getaway rescued “four distressed individuals,” who were taken aboard the NCL cruise ship. NCL stated: “The individuals, who are Cuban nationals, were safely brought on board, immediately taken to the ship’s medical facility for evaluation and provided with clothing and food. The Bahamas Maritime Authority and the U.S. Coast Guard were notified by the ship’s Captain, who was advised to disembark the rescued individuals at the next port of call in Costa Maya, Mexico on September 4.”

A passenger on Twitter, by the name of Pico, stated that the men were spotted by others on board by a “flash in the middle of the ocean.”

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The “rescue” of the Cuban men has a strange twist. The NCL passenger who took the videos, which were posted on Twitter, stated that he observed NCL allegedly dressing the men “up as workers so that they would not be noticed by the passengers.” The Twitter videos allegedly show the Cuban men wearing white crew member overalls and walking down a deck in front of passengers.

Video credit: “Pico

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