On Saturday, a man placed a 911 call claiming a device would explode on the ship at 7 p.m.; the New York Police Department's bomb squad was called in, according to news reports, and eventually determined that the threat was a hoax, sending the ship on its way -- three hours after its scheduled departure time.
The hot topic among Cruise Critic members is not the threat itself -- phony bomb threats have held up several ships this year -- but the fact that though there were several announcements made updating passengers on the situation, not all of them could be heard in all public spaces. "NCL could have done a few things to ease the situation," posts Cruise Critic member Pheton, who was on the sailing. "They could have turned down the music so that the announcements could be heard ... It wouldn't hurt to tell people that this type of thing had happened in the past and that NCL and the local authorities were completing routine protocol ... Communication is key in any emergency."
Beyond that, passengers were given the choice to stay aboard or disembark -- which raises the question of whether NCL should offer compensation (such as a credit or refund) to those who voluntarily left. damonfromnj writes that "the ladies at the information desk" said those leaving would get a refund, though other posters, and the New York Daily News, report that passengers were told they would not.
At press time, a spokesperson for NCL had not responded to Cruise Critic's requests for comment or further information, such as how many people disembarked, and what, if anything, was or will be offered.
Member Markandrews says, "It was not NCL's fault, but goodwill goes a long way." Yet in a poll created on the NCL forum -- If you left the Spirit due to a bomb threat would you expect... -- nearly 50 percent responded "nothing."
"In my opinion, you have the right to get off of the ship if you felt that you and your loved ones were in danger, but no right to a refund from NCL, as they were not to blame," posts Cruise Critic member makunc1, who was also on the affected cruise. "I also did not mind that they would not release any information about the threat. Not exactly textbook police work to release information during an ongoing terrorist threat and possibly assist the terrorists. This is life in the 21st century. Get used to it."
Do you think compensation should be offered in this or similar situations? e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor