Port In Montevideo Reopens; Norwegian Dream Returns

December 12, 2007
Bizarre Crash Strands Norwegian Dream, Celebrity Infinity

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dream, involved in a strange collision Monday afternoon with a cargo-carrying barge just outside of the port of Montevideo, in Uruguay, has now returned to the dock and will undergo repairs.

News reports indicate the ship will spend two more days in Montevideo; the cruise line has not yet confirmed the delay and its further impact on the South America round-the-horn cruise that only just started on Sunday in Buenos Aires.

As we reported yesterday, the collision caused damage to the ship's bow and its forward ballast tank. Causing the bigger disruption though was the fact that five containers and three cars on the barge toppled overboard, creating a debris field that required officials to close the port entirely while Navy divers cleaned it up.

In the meantime, other passenger ships (not to mention cargo vessels) were impacted by the closure, which lasted 24 hours. Celebrity Infinity, which had intended to depart after Norwegian Dream, was stuck at the dock for another day. That ship has since left Montevideo; a spokesman at Celebrity says that itinerary changes will be announced if necessary.

As well, Orient Lines' Marco Polo had been waiting in the Rio de la Plata, outside the port, planning to dock there for its last call before its current cruise would wind up in Buenos Aires. It simply turned around and headed to Buenos Aires early.

An extra day in port may sound like a positive outcome conidering the situation, but Montevideo isn't exactly a booming metropolis looked to for overnight stays. While Montevideo offers a broad range of possibilities for the day-tripper -- monuments, restaurants, beaches, and arts and culture -- it is sleepier and less cosmopolitan than than metropolises in Argentina and Brazil. In fact, Residents of Montevideo travel to nearby Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo when they crave big-city excitement.

NCL has already told Cruise Critic that two ports – the Falklands' Stanley and Argentina's Puerto Madryn – would be shaved off Norwegian Dream's 14-night cruise, which began Sunday and ends on December 23 in Valparaiso. With another two days delay it's expected that there may other changes; we'll keep you posted.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief