(Updated 10:15 a.m. EDT) – Norwegian Cruise Line has confirmed its 2001-built Norwegian Sun will resume service to Alaska from Seattle beginning on July 14, 2022, following an unexpected collision with a small iceberg in June.
The line had further canceled sailings to Alaska aboard Norwegian Sun after the vessel collided with a small iceberg known as a growler on June 25, 2022, while transiting Hubbard Glacier. A growler is type of iceberg that has less than 1 meter (3.3 feet) showing above the water and is less than 6.6 feet across total.
After shortening the incident cruise that departed on June 21, the line cancelled the June 30 sailing. Norwegian informed passengers that Norwegian Sun's July 5, 2022 roundtrip sailing from Seattle would be canceled as well.
"Norwegian Sun was engulfed by dense fog, limiting visibility and resulting in the ship making contact with a growler," a spokesperson told Cruise Critic.
Following the collision, the ship then sailed to Juneau for further assessment, where it was decided that the remainder of the sailing would be shortened. Norwegian Sun was given clearance by the United States Coast Guard and other local maritime authorities to return to Seattle at reduced speed, where it arrived a few days later.
The July 5 voyage is the second to be cancelled so the ship can undergo necessary repairs. NCL didn’t share details about the extent of the damage caused by the impact nor where will the repairs take place. Marine tracking website Vessel Finder shows Norwegian Sun moored in Seattle as of July 5.
The company also informed that affected passengers sailing on the June 21, 2022 voyage will receive a full refund of the voyage fare paid, with an additional future cruise credit valued at 100% of the original voyage fare paid. Meanwhile, passengers scheduled to sail on the June 30 voyage will also receive a full refund of the voyage fare paid, a future cruise credit valued at 50% of the original voyage fare paid, as well as up to $300 per person for any airline cancelation or change fees.
The above information was also communicated on a letter signed by Norwegian Sun Captain Johan Stofling that was shared on Cruise Critic’s message boards. The letter further explained that any shore excursions purchased through Norwegian Cruise Line for the missed ports of call will be canceled, and a refund will automatically be posted to the passengers’ onboard accounts.
The impact was also reported on Cruise Critic’s boards. “We hit something on the Sun. Entering Hubbard glacier yesterday in heavy fog, I think we hit an iceberg. Woke up this morning entering Icy Strait at a snail's pace. Should be in Skagway now. Just creeping along towards Juneau. Ship to arrive around 5pm to send divers to look at damage,” wrote poster jskinsd.
While growler icebergs are typically described around the size of a piano or a truck, "It was bigger than a truck. I saw it," jskinsd said in the thread.
Norwegian Sun’s accident notwithstanding, the incidence of cruise ships hitting icebergs in Alaska is very low. Radar technology and iceberg monitoring systems make these kinds of collisions avoidable and rare.