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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Several guests aboard the Celebrity Summit have notified us that the cruise ship is currently unable to leave the port in San Juan, Puerto Rico due to what the guests understand to be either a “computer glitch” or “propulsion issues.”

The Summit was scheduled to leave San Juan yesterday  but has been unable to due to what the cruise lines often refer to euphemistically as “technical issues.”

The Cruceros Puerto Rico twitter page (translated) refers to unspecified “mechanical” or “electrical problems in the bridge.”

The website also states that the U.S. Coast Guard needs to inspect the ship before it is permitted to continue on its itinerary.

The Celebrity Summit is scheduled to have left San Juan yesterday on a twelve day cruise to St Croix, US Virgin Islands where it was suppose to call today, and then to Basseterre, St. Kitts; St Johns, Antigua; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; Kralendijk, Bonaire; St Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Ponce, Puerto Rico and then back to Puerto Rico.

One passenger informed us that “hopefully (we) will be leaving the port tonight. They are giving everybody on board $100 room credit.”

A $100 on board credit (OBC) to be stuck in port for at least a day seems hardly fair.  Royal Caribbean also just announced that it is issuing a OBC of only between $200-$400 after the air conditioning to many cabins failed during a cruise on the Anthem of the Seas.   Royal Caribbean/ Celebrity must be re-thinking their attitude towards compensation following its generous full refunds to everyone on the Oasis of the Seas after a gastrointestinal outbreak.    

Celebrity’s corporate communication people sent the following to an inquiry posted on Twitter:

Power losses on cruise ships are a relatively common occurrence. In 2016, there were at least 18 power losses on cruise ships operated by the major U.S.-based lines.

The AIS information shows the Summit in San Juan. It remains anyone’s guess how long it will stay there.

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January 18, 2019 Update: Looks like the Summit is finally leaving port in San Juan tonight as of 9:13 p.m. per AIS.

Photo credit:  Yankeesman312 CC BY-SA 3.0