(10:46 a.m. EST) -- Norwegian Cruise Line's 40-day, $100 million refurbishment of Norwegian Spirit has been delayed due to labor strikes in France, necessitating the postponement of its first scheduled post-dry dock sailing.
According to a statement sent to a Cruise Critic writer who was scheduled to be on this first sailing, "Due to the extended labor strikes in France over the past two weeks, coupled with our desire to deliver an exceptional vessel for our guests to enjoy from the first day they board, we are extending Norwegian Spirit's extensive renovation. These unanticipated events require us to modify her first post-dry dock sailing."
Norwegian Spirit is the last ship in the fleet to undergo a Norwegian Edge refurbishment. When it emerges from dry dock it will have 14 new venues, additional staterooms, an expanded Mandara Spa and new hull art.
The ship's February 11 sailing will sail a revised itinerary leaving from Civitavecchia, near Rome, on February 14, 2020 and conclude in Dubai on March 2, 2020. The sailing includes stops in Haifa, Israel; Port Said, Suez Canal and Safaga, Egypt; Aqaba, Jordan; Muscat, Oman; and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The ship will no longer stop in Piraeus and Rhodes, Greece; Limassol, Cypress; and Khasab, Oman.
Passengers booked on the sailing may cancel by February 13 to receive a refund. Those who decide to sail will receive a 25 percent refund, as well as a 25 percent future cruise credit. Guests who arranged their flights independently will be compensated up to $300 per person in arifare change fees. Shore excursions booked through Norwegian for the canceled port calls will also be refunded.
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Norwegian Spirit had been scheduled to move to Asia for a permanent deployment but the line announced February 7 that the line has canceled all planned cruises there from April 15 through December 2020, due to coronavirus fears. A planned 24-day voyage departing from Cape Town, South Africa on March 22, 2020 has been changed from a cruise that ends in Singapore to a 27-day trip ending in Piraeus, Greece. Guests who choose to sail the modified itinerary will receive a 50 percent refund. Alternatively, booked guests have the option to cancel by Feb. 14 and receive a full refund.