Guests boarding Norwegian Gem in New York today have been informed that their departure will be delayed due to winter weather, and because of the delay, the itinerary’s first port of call has been cancelled.
To compensate for the change, the second port of call has been extended to permit more shore time, and shore tours for the cancelled port are being automatically refunded.
Norwegian Gem Delayed Due to Storm
Due to expected severe winter weather, Norwegian Gem will not be departing New York as planned at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Instead, the ship will remain overnight in the Big Apple and will depart at 3 a.m. to begin its 12-night, one-way voyage through the Caribbean to Panama City, Panama.
Guests are being notified as they board the vessel with a letter that outlines the itinerary changes.
“We are committed to delivering exceptional vacation experiences around the world. As such, it is always our intention to maintain original itineraries,” the letter reads. “However, at times unforeseen circumstances require us to make modifications. Due to adverse winter weather, the itinerary has been revised.”
The National Weather Service is predicting strong winds in the New York City area from Long Island to southeastern Connecticut, with gusts reaching as high as 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour) from the late afternoon and into the night. Gale conditions with high winds and ocean waves from 9-14 feet (2.7-4.2 meters) are predicted in all nearshore waters beginning in the late afternoon.
The Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal, where Norwegian Gem is docked, is just across the Upper Bay from the western end of Long Island, right where some of the harshest weather conditions are expected.
This poor weather will make it too hazardous for the ship to safely navigate out to sea, and therefore it is much more advisable for the Jewel-class, 93,530-gross-ton vessel to remain securely docked until conditions improve.
Port Cancelled, Another Port Changed
In addition to the delayed departure from New York, Norwegian Gem will be skipping the planned visit to Bermuda, which was to have been from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, January 27. Instead, the ship will spend that day at sea.
While the ship was to have spent one day at sea before arriving in Bermuda and it is possible the departure delay could be overcome by higher sailing speeds to reach the port with only a minimal delay, the decision to cancel the port could be due to several factors.
First of all, while it is hoped the ship will be able to set sail at 3 a.m. – a delay of just 11 hours from the originally scheduled departure – it is possible that weather conditions will remain poor for longer than expected, and the vessel may not leave New York until much later in the morning on Thursday, January 26.
Norwegian Cruise Line has also recently been adjusting various ships’ itineraries for better sustainability, including operating ships at lower speeds for the best fuel efficiency and fewer emissions. To adjust Norwegian Gem‘s operation to compensate for the departure delay and still reach Bermuda in time for a reasonable port of call would be contrary to the cruise line’s Sail and Sustain initiatives.
To compensate for the loss of Bermuda, the ship’s visit to its next port of call, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has been extended by three hours. Now the ship will visit from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, January 29, instead of arriving at noon as originally scheduled.
All shore excursion booked through Norwegian Cruise Line for the now cancelled call in Bermuda are being automatically refunded to the original form of payment.
No other changes to the ship’s itinerary – which includes visits to San Juan, Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Costa Rica – have been changed at this time, and Norwegian Gem is expected to arrive at Panama City, Panama at 7 a.m. on Monday, February 6 as planned. The ship’s next cruise is a reverse one-way journey with slightly different ports of call, an 11-night sailing returning to New York on Friday, February 17.