Strikes in Norway Force Ship to Turn Around

May 28, 2010
Update, 11 a.m. EDT: According to News and Views from Norway, workers in Oslo reached an agreement early Friday, and strikes there were avoided. This will be our last report.
What's the conflict?
(May 27, 5:44 p.m. EDT) -- General strikes in Norway, which began with transport and cleaning workers over the weekend and will bleed into the public sector by Friday, made it impossible for Princess Cruises to disembark passengers on a Grand Princess call at Oslo early Thursday.

The ship, which did dock briefly, turned around and headed back to Southampton when word came that workers -- including the Norway-based pilot who was to help guide the ship into and out of port -- might strike before the ship left Oslo.

According to Norway-based news site News and Views from Norway, as many as 18,000 private sector workers are slated to stop working by Friday after talks fell through on Wednesday night.

Which ports and ships could be affected?
MSC Cruises' MSC Orchestra (May 28)
Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas (May 29)

P&O Cruises' Arcadia (May 28)

Flam and Trondheim are also major ports in Norway, but neither has ships scheduled to call within the next couple of days.

What's the cruise impact?
Princess spokeswoman Karen Candy says Grand Princess docked as scheduled, but the captain decided to cut the visit short -- without allowing passengers to debark -- due to the impending strike, which would have caused the ship's pilot to walk off the job.

Cruise Critic boards member freddie1974 is posting live from the sailing and reported this early Thursday: "It doesn't look as though the strike is ending anytime soon -- the captain has decided to abandon the call and set sail again."

The ship is now on its way back to Southampton for debarkation, which is scheduled for Saturday. Candy says it is unlikely passengers will be offered compensation for the missed day in port, as the circumstances were beyond the line's control.

Two more ships are scheduled to call at Oslo in the next couple of days -- MSC Orchestra on Friday and Vision of the Seas on Saturday. P&O's Arcadia is due in Bergen on Saturday. Line representatives did not immediately respond to requests for information about possible itinerary changes, but we'll keep you posted.

What should I do?
No changes to MSC Orchestra's, Vision of the Seas' or Arcadia's itineraries have yet been reported, but we'll update you as information becomes available. In the meantime, you may want to take a peek at our Roll Call forums to discuss this issue with others on your sailing.

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor

Fan Cruise Critic on Facebook!
Follow Cruise Critic on Twitter!