Norwegian SunSeveral 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 NCL's Norwegian Sunwith 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 UpdateSome 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: 

Newsweek: NIGHTMARE NORWEGIAN CRUISE WAS LIKE A FLOATING CONSTRUCTION SITE.

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.

 

Norwegian Sun

 Norwegian Sun

On Friday, a federal court judge sentenced a former Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) crew member to ten years in prison for his involvement in smuggling drugs from Roatan, Honduras to Tampa, Florida, according to a press release issued by the Department of Justice

Desrick Gordon, age 23, from the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. The judge ordered him to forfeit $53,369, which is proceeds of the crime. A jury found Mr. Gordon guilty on December 16, 2015.

As we reported last April, Mr. Gordon and five other NCL crew members from the Norwegian Sun were arrested after they reportedly transported packages filled of cocaine from Roatan, Honduras to the U.S. When the cruise ship docked in Tampa, the crew members handed the drugs to local drug traffickers with ties to the Honduran source.  Federal agents seized 10 packages of cocaine with a total weight of more than 7.5 kilograms. 

The other NCL cruise ship employees, Jason Carmichael, Teffan Delice, Johnson Cherubin, Alfred Ince, and Arkine John, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the case. 

We reported on the initial arrest here – NCL Crew Members Arrested for Smuggling Cocaine from Roatan to Tampa. You can see photo of the crew members here.

 

 

Several NCL crew members reported to me that a crew member aboard the Norwegian Sun went overboard early yesterday morning while the Sun was proceeding to Juneau, Alaska.

The crew member reportedly went overboard before the cruise ship reached Juneau. 

The crew members was not rescued and his body was not located. 

We are not mentioning the crew member’s name or his nationality at this time.

There has been no mention of a missing passenger in the press. The last two deaths of crew members (read articles here and here) were not reported in the press and were brought to our attention by other crew members). 

Update: The AP via the Alaskan Daily Journal reports that that Coast Guard says footage from the security system of the Norwegian Cruise Line ship shows the crew member jumping overboard without a life jacket at 4:16 a.m. Thursday. The Alaskan State Troopers say they were not notified until 11 hours later – shortly after 5 p.m. The search was called off just 5 hours later.  

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Photo Credit: Richard Martin via Flickr / Wikepedia Creative Commons 2.0

Norwegian Sun

Norwegian SunThe U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska is reporting that it deployed a helicopter to medevac a 63-year-old woman from the Norwegian Sun on Sunday.

The helicopter crew hoisted the sick woman and flew her to Cordova Community Medical Center.

The Master of NCL cruise ship said that the passenger was suffering from abdominal complications. 

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Photo Credit: NCL

Drug busts on NCL cruise ships have been big news for the past month.

First there was the arrest of five galley workers on the Norwegian Sun who were apprehended in Tampa when they smuggled 7 kilos of cocaine from Roatan.

Two of the arrested NCL ship employees were from St. Lucia along with two crew members from Grenada and one employee from St. Vincent. Read article here

Then came the arrest last week of another NCL crew member, a Nicaraguan,  who worked in the galley of the Norwegian Dawn and tried to smuggle cocaine aboard when the cruise ship was docked in Roatan.

Since then, I heard that there were widespread arrests of NCL crew members on the Epic as well as some on the Sun. Several NCL crew members have told me that as many as 20 crew members from Nicaragua have been arrested with cocaine in the last several weeks.St. Lucia Cruise Ship

But there’s a downside to the arrests. Some crew members are innocent and yet they get fired by the cruise line and put on the do-not-enter-the-U.S. list of U.S. immigration. 

A reader of Cruise Law News sent this story about a crew member from St. Lucia who worked about the Norwegian Pearl. He was arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs. But then he was released and another crew member was arrested instead.

NCL didn’t permit him to keep working. In fact, he was fingerprinted, his U.S. tourist and seaman’s visas were canceled, he was blacklisted from the U.S., and then was given a one-way flight back home.

We are often contacted in these type of cases. Unfortunately, maritime law is extremely unfavorable to crew members. Cruise lines can hire and fire crew members for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. The U.S. government can act even more arbitrarily and capriciously than the cruise lines. Low level customs agents yield incredible power to ruin the lives of hard working young men from the Caribbean. 

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Photo Credit: St. Lucia Times 

A cruise passengers is missing from a Princess cruise ship heading towards Sydney today. The ship in question, the Sun Princess, is completing a 13-day cruise to New Zealand.

There is no explanation how or when the passenger went overboard.

Unfortunately, it again appears that this Princess cruise ship does not have am automatic man overboard system as required by the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act.

Sun PrincessLast year there was an overboard passenger from the Sun Princess. I wrote this article last October: Princess Cruises: Why No CCTV or Man Overboard Systems on the Sun Princess?    

Princess Cruises released the following statement: 

"Princess Cruises confirms that an 84-year-old male passenger was reported missing early today onboard Sun Princess, which was on the way to Sydney completing a 13-day New Zealand cruise.

A thorough search of Sun Princess was conducted but the passenger could not be located.

The Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Canberra was contacted and Sun Princess turned around and retraced its path off the coast of New South Wales.

Sun Princess was scheduled to arrive in Sydney this morning.

She will continue its search efforts until released by the RCC.

Sun Princess’ arrival in Sydney will be delayed and the next cruise will be impacted." 

You can see a video of the story here.

 

Photo Credit: Daily Telegraph