I have just disembarked from this Norwegian Spirit cruise that started in Southampton on 27th September and was supposed to call at Ijmuiden for Amsterdam then on to Bergen, Flam and Geiranger in Norway before heading off to Iceland to visit Akureyri and Reykjavik then on to Belfast and Dublin before returning to Southampton. Prior to departure from Southampton passengers were informed that due to very strong winds we would not be visiting Ijmuiden but would go instead to Le Havre. This port of call was cancelled the following day due to bad weather and the ship proceeded to Bergen then on to Flam and Gerainger. Whilst in Gerainger the passengers were told that due to very high winds and rough seas the ship would be unable to visit Iceland and instead would spend another two days in Norway visiting the ports of Hellesynt and Allesund before heading off to an additional port of Greenock for Glasgow.. Many passengers were upset that the Icelandic part of the itinerary had been cancelled and a minority felt so upset that they held a protest meeting in the atrium. Videos of this protest were posted on line. The number of passengers involved was quite small and the vast majority of passengers, including myself, were completely unaware that a protest had taken place. Once the videos were placed on social media the newspapers got hold of the story. Despite the published views of a minority of passengers that the whole cruise was terrible the actuality was almost the reverse. Despite the disappointment of not being able to visit Iceland the majority of passengers fully understood the reasons for the changes to the itinerary in that Norwegian Cruise Line places passenger safety ahead of other considerations. The passengers who demonstrated on board and demanded refunds of their cruise fares would more that likely have sued the cruise line for putting them in harms way if the itinerary had not been changed. As it turned out the visit to Greenock did not eventuate even though the pilot was on board, as winds in excess of 40 knots prevented the ship from mooring up. The two final ports of Belfast and Dublin did not pose a problem weatherwise.
It is unfortunate that the ships Captain is not a good communicator and his accent is sometimes difficult to understand but his announcements to passengers were, if important, relayed by the Cruise Director so everyone was adequately informed of the reasons for the changes to the itinerary. Life on board the ship was very pleasant with the crew being extremely friendly and helpful.Despite the bad weather there was a full programme of entertainment that passengers could avail themselves of if they felt so inclined. I believe that only one show had to be cancelled due to the weather. The food in the main dining rooms was of an acceptable standard and that in the speciality restaurants was very good indeed. These views of mine are shared by many of the passengers that I spoke to and many were astounded at the negative remarks made to the press and on social media by a vociferous minority. The reported problems associated with the sewage system and the reports of stale food being served in the restaurants was not experienced by any of the many passengers that I met on this pleasant if rather rough weather cruise. I would certainly cruise on this ship again although I will probably take a greater interest in the time of year to book a cruise that includes Iceland in the itinerary.