One of Cruise Critic's ever vigilant community members was the first to tip us off that something was amiss with NCL's Norwegian Star. "I just returned from running errands in Hilo and the Star is not in port," wrote poster KapohoTwo on Monday, the date for Star's usual weekly call in Hilo. "Wal Mart and Hilo Hattie’s were eerily quiet for a Monday morning!"
And indeed, NCL has confirmed today that Norwegian Star, which last week (not to mention the week before, again according to Cruise Critic board posters), missed its required-by-U.S.-law call at Fanning Island, is "officially" altering its itinerary. In a statement, NCL reports that Norwegian Star has suffered damage to the "forward thrust bearing in the ship’s Azipod system."
The impact isn't, on first glance, hugely detrimental to passengers sailing on Norwegian Star's Hawaii itineraries because the ship can still maintain a speed of about 18 knots. Norwegian Star normally operates at about 25 knots.
Where it gets dicey, however, is that Norwegian Star, which is required by U.S. law to make an out-of-country port-of-call pit-stop, is not able to make it to Fanning Island. As such, the ship's remaining Hawaii voyages (April 4, 11, 18 and 25) will feature two additional ports in place of Fanning Island -- Lahaina (Maui) and Kona (Hawaii). Actual schedules vary. There's still one sea day on the week-long trip.
One interesting -- and as yet unanswered question -- for NCL is what the damage will mean monetarily. And by that we are addressing the penalty fee that NCL is required to pay each time it misses that call at Fanning Island. A spokeswoman was not immediately available to provide insight.
NCL also announced that, in order to make repairs, it will place the ship into dry dock earlier than had been scheduled. Which means that it is canceling Norwegian Star's trans-Pacific Honolulu to Vancouver crossing on May 2. Passengers are being offered a full refund and a 25 percent off certificate. The statement also says NCL will work with those folks on any applicable airline change fees.
For more information, call 877-501-6021.
NCL’s Star Suffers Slowdown Causing Missed Ports & Cruise Cancellation
April 2, 2004