(3:30 p.m. EST) -- Months after announcing an ambitious European expansion, Carnival Cruise Lines has suddenly cut five sailings from Carnival Legend's autumn 2013 schedule.
In what a Carnival statement called a schedule modification, Legend's September 25, October 7 and 31 and November 12 and 27, 2013 departures have been replaced.
Replacement cruises include "several unique departures," according to the line.
A 15-night transatlantic crossing departing Dover September 25 and arriving in New York on October 10. Ports of call include: Dublin, Ireland; Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland; Belfast (Northern Ireland); Reykjavik, Iceland; Qaqortoq, Greenland; and St. John's, Newfoundland (Canada).
A 10-night Caribbean cruise from New York to Tampa departing October 10, calling at Grand Turk, Aruba, Curacao, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman.
A five-night Caribbean cruise sailing roundtrip from Tampa October 21, visiting Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
The ship will also sail an eight-night Caribbean cruise rountrip from Tampa departing October 26 with calls in Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Belize and Costa Maya. Legend will then resume its originally scheduled seven-night Caribbean rotation from Tampa beginning on November 3.
Carnival did not comment on the reason behind the sudden announcement, though speculation is ongoing on the Cruise Critic message boards. Rival line Royal Caribbean has reduced its number of ships stationed in Europe in 2013 due to over-saturation in the region and downward price pressure. We've reached out to Carnival by e-mail for clarification. Even with the cancellations, 2013 will still mark the line's largest-ever European deployment.
According to Carnival, passengers on the five cancelled cruises can reschedule on any 2013 European departure of the Carnival Sunshine or Carnival Legend and receive a shipboard credit of $200 per stateroom. They can also opt to receive a full refund or a future credit equal to the amount they paid for their cruise.
The compensation offered by the line does not, however, extend to cancellation or change fees incurred for independently booked flights and lodging related to the cruise.
--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor