AIDAperlaPassengers aboard the Norwegian Sun are still complaining about the massive renovation projects that ruined their two week cruise from Miami through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles several weeks ago.

We wrote about the problem almost three weeks ago in an article titled NCL’s Panama Canal Fiasco Cruise. The Miami Herald just reported on the continued fallout from the large scale project yesterday in They booked a two-week Norwegian cruise. Instead, they got a ‘nightmare at sea.’

For a cruise where customers paid for what should have been a relaxing and care-free vacation at sea, NCL scheduled the sanding and application of noxious smelling chemicals and compounds throughout the open decks of the ship. Ship employees and contractors involved in the work were wearing respirators due to the dust but the passengers were left to inhale dust generated by the work.

The project obviously should have taken place in a dry-dock. The heavy construction caused NCL to shut down numerous bars, deck spaces and restaurants. The work also risked the health and personal AIDAperlasafety of the guests. Photos from the Facebook page, Panama Canal Sun, show paint particles and metal shards covering the decks. Doors leading to muster stations on the ship were blocked which seems dangerous, especially considering the buckets of flammable chemicals stored all over the decks. Many passengers complained of burning, itching and runny eyes and difficulty breathing due to the strong fumes and/or particles.

But cruise industry supporters told the Miami Herald that a cruise ship undergoing construction projects outside of a dry dock is not uncommon (although the level of construction on the Norwegian Sun was quite unusual).

Over the years we have been contacted by dozens of cruise passengers who have complained that grinding of exterior decks, painting of portions of the ship exteriors and other noisy and smelly projects ruined their vacations. Take a moment and read our article HAL’s Upgraded Cabin From Hell. Watch the video here.

I have always been amazed that a travel/vacation company of any type would subject their customers to such an inconvenience, much less a health hazard like what happened on the Norwegian Sun.

But cruise lines don’t make money unless they are sailing their ships. The industry’s enormous tax-free profits come from shipboard activities like sales from the casinos, shore excursions, gift shops, AIDAperlaspecialty restaurants and the tremendous amount of booze sold during cruises. Several thousand  passengers each paying many thousands of dollars in cruise fares and many hundreds of dollars in onboard purchases is simply too much loot for greedy cruise executives to walk away from.

We typically don’t get involved in such disputes. But writing about such bait-and-switch tactics seems to be an insight in the nickel-and-dime mentalities of many cruise lines.

I was recently contacted by a German couple who is cruising with their young child on the AIDAperla, which I understand to be the newest and most modern cruise ship of AIDA Cruises. AIDA did not bother to tell them that some of the pools were closed due to renovations/repairs taking place during the cruise. Passengers witnessed grinding and sanding which required workers to use masks or respirators (top left) during the project. Paint and chemicals were stored on the deck next to passengers sitting around the emplty pool (middle right).  Experiencing such inconveniences would seem to be the last thing that any guest should expect from a new ship (launched just last year).

But the Carnival-owned cruise line brushed off the couple’s complaints, offering just an onboard credit of 30 euros for the adults and a 15 euro credit for the child – after the German couple paid over 1,200 euros for the cruise which left Hamburg.

I suppose that this inconvenience is a far cry from the outrageous conduct of NCL in the Norwegian Sun fiasco, which eventually resulted in a “full cruise refund” after the passengers organized themselves and their complaints went viral.   But it all seems reflective of the we-take-our-guests for granted if not outright contemptuous attitude of many cruise managers and executives toward their passengers.

Have you encountered a similar inconvenience or aggravation during a cruise that you paid for your family? How did the cruise line respond?  Join the conversation on out Facebook page.

Photo and video credit: Anonymous

https://youtube.com/watch?v=hWHkAfV9u1E%3Frel%3D0

Governor Parnell and the pro-cruise pollution legislators in Alaska have some new talking points in their efforts to weaken the cruise line waste water restrictions. They say that its not the cruise sewage that will harm the state’s image but their opponents’ "hype" that easing the standards will result in "dirty water and terrible discharges."        

Putting aside for a moment the nasty spectacle of dumping partially treated sewage into the water, the fact is that cruise ship water treatment devices clearly do not treat all of the wastewater discharged in Alaskan waters in compliance with Alaska’s water quality standards regarding ammonia, as well as the heavy metals – copper, nickel and zinc.

Alaska Cruise Ship Pollution It’s unhealthy and dangerous to release these heavy metals into the waters where they will find their way in the fish, particularly salmon. 

Three years ago, the cruise industry flat out threatened Governor Parnell that it would boycott Alaska unless he would agree to work with the cruise lines to avoid pollution regulations. Read Governor Parnell Gets Punked.

Instead of demanding better technologies to address this problem, as required by the 2006 initiatives, Governor is heading the state in the other direction where no efforts will be made to address the problems with heavy metals. Meanwhile, the sewage (whether partially treated or not) will continue to fill the Alaskan waters.   

A newspaper in Ketchikan explains that this is a huge problem given the enormous amount of sewage and toxic by-products which cruise ships will dump in Alaskan waters:

"About 30 cruise ships carrying a total of nearly one million people visit Alaska over a five month period. This result is over one billion gallons of cruise discharges being dumped into unknown areas of Alaska state waters every year."

The newspaper also points out that on January 29th, as the relaxed laws were being fast tracked by legislators, Princess Cruises was fined $20,000 (a slap on the wrist) when one of its cruise ships, the 2,590 passenger Golden Princess, discharged 66,000 gallons of chlorinated pool water into Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.  

Zinc, nickel and copper in the fish and chlorine in the water. Alaska is heading backwards.

Read our last article on these disturbing developments in Alaska:

The Dirty Alaskan Cruise Industry Just Got Dirtier