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Norwegian Cruise Lines Battered By Twitterstorm

Storms in the Atlantic that caused the Norwegian Spirit  to radically alter its itinerary over the past two weeks have abated, and the ship is back in port in Southhampton, England, today. The lingering issue is how Norwegian Cruise Lines will weather the bad publicity generated by irate passengers who used their phones to publicize their nonviolent “mutiny,” as some accounts have it, on social media accounts.

“For the approximately 2,000 people aboard the Norwegian Spirit, for what was supposed to be a luxury ‘mystical, fjords tour’ that began in Southampton, England with the promise of stopping in various European destinations over 14 days, it was an ugly ride that they won't soon forget. And it wasn't cheap -- passengers reportedly paid up to $6,500 for tickets,” writes  Christian de La Chapelle for Fox Business.

“According to one passenger's account, customers complained of a sewage-like smell and that the ship missed various scheduled stops at ports of destination. Meanwhile, sizeable amounts of passengers banded together and engaged in angry, albeit non-violent, protests -- with loud chants of ‘b———t,’ ‘liar, liar’ and ‘refund’ ringing out, in aggravation and frustration at the deteriorating situation. They even booed the captain,” de La Chappelle adds.

“The disappointment started mounting the first day.… So by the time the Norwegian Spirit had diverted to several alternative ports -- pending extra unplanned days at sea -- passengers were on edge. They had already missed out on Iceland, the trip’s main attraction. By Monday, a week and a half in, travelers were gathered with their bags and cameras, looking forward to being on land again in Scotland,” writes  Hannah Sampson, for The Washington Post.

“As the 2,018-passenger vessel neared shore, according to two passengers, a voice came over the public-address system announcing that weather would prevent it from making yet another stop. ‘That’s when the riots broke out on the ship,’ says Cody McNutt, 31, of Denver, who was onboard with his girlfriend and family members,” Sampson continues.

“Passengers shared grim images of their trip on Twitter, including video and pictures of toilets that did not flush, a picture of a uniformed crew member in a scrum of angry passengers grabbing one of them by the wrist, and a receipt for a $79 tour of the ship that included a visit to the laundry room,” Liam Stack writes  for The New York Times.

“‘After three days floating around the Atlantic the bathrooms are backing up, not flushing, and out of order today on Norwegian Spirit,’ McNutt, wrote on a Twitter account he started to share updates from the protests. He said it ‘smelled like sewage in public areas on the ship.’

“McNutt wrote that the ship was scheduled to dock in Southampton on Friday but that he had gotten off at an earlier port. ‘Many passengers got off the ship when it stopped after 3 days stuck floating the ocean, fearing for their safety and health,’ he wrote,” Stack adds.

“The cruise line has issued an apology, writing to People in a statement, ‘Unfortunately, Norwegian Spirit’s itinerary was impacted by severe weather conditions. While nine ports of call were originally planned for the voyage, the revised itinerary allowed the ship to call on eight ports. We are very sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment our guests experienced. As such, we made the decision to offer a 25% future cruise credit,’”  Claudia Harmata writes for People.

But Harmata’s account, as do many others, includes far more impactful videos and screen shots of revolting passengers and broken toilets, as well as maps of missed ports of call and the like.

“Valerie Nove of Montreal, who was traveling with her mother, son and husband said a ‘massive uproar with passengers’ erupted when the ship turned away from Scotland,” Suzanne Ciechalski, Ali Gostanian and Phil Helsel write  for NBC News.

“‘That's when we started rebelling. We were fed up. People were furious. We started demanding to speak with the captain. We started chanting to speak with the captain,’ Nove said.

“‘This has not been a vacation for us. We're absolutely exhausted,’ she said. ‘We're very much looking forward to going home. We're very disappointed and exhausted from this whole experience.’”

The account @NCLHELL1 -- “Traveled Norwegian Spirit 14 days to Hell Sept. 2019” -- contains videos of angry passengers shouting down the captain yesterday and chanting “Refund! Refund! Refund!” earlier this week. 

This morning, @NCLHELL1 writes: “Reports from passengers getting off boat: ‘Watch out, guards tried to stop our interviews with the media.’”

That should work out well.

3 comments about "Norwegian Cruise Lines Battered By Twitterstorm".
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  1. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, October 11, 2019 at 10:32 a.m.

    Thom your closing line says it all. Makes you wonder who's at the helm of the PR crisis management effort.  This is clearly a master case for the PR industry.

  2. Ron Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, October 11, 2019 at 1:14 p.m.

    Having been an executive in the cruise industry for several years, I know that some passengers become very vocal when they smell the possibility of a large refund. There are times when weather and mechanical problems (both beyond the control of the cruise line) can cause major disruptions, and it sounds like that may be the situation here. Seems NCL and the captain could have done a better job in addressing passenger complaints to compensate for their disappointment. 

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 11, 2019 at 2:05 p.m.

    Nothing less than a total refund is acceptable. Customers also spent on airfare - alternative transportation to and from the ship plus other expenses. In addition, most will have to spend more for hosting those extra 3 days plus more transportation costs for those who got off before the final destination. Add in people who used their planned vacation time and won't be able to be reimbursed for that. The sooner this ocean polluter gives them a full refund, the less their law suits will cost them outside of what their insurance covers. Stupidity runs deep.

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