Norwegian Cruise Line continues to limit the guest capacity onboard Pride of America, resulting in canceled cruises for guests. It’s not the first time that cruisers have been disappointed since Pride of America resumed operations in April of this year.
In March, it was already apparent Pride of America would sail with limitations, and in May this year, the company sent out the first batch of emails to guests that their cruise had been canceled.
Pride of America Capacity Cap
Norwegian Cruise Line has not, and is not expecting to be able to bring staffing levels to normal levels before the end of August at least. That much can be concluded from emails sent to guests and travel advisors in the past week.
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In May, Norwegian Cruise Line informed guests that their cruise had been canceled as it implemented capacity limits due to staff shortages for June and July cruises. The cruise line has now announced guests booked on cruises in August of the same. In the statement, the company says the following:
“Due to staffing levels onboard Pride of America, we will be operating at a lower guest capacity to ensure we are able to deliver a high-caliber vacation experience. In order to adjust to the current staffing levels, unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate all guests with reservations on POA sailings from August 6, 2022, through and including August 27, 2022. “
Not all guests have been affected. The cruise line is basing the cancelations on booked and fully paid first basis. Meaning guests who had not yet completed their payments or who had booked at a later date than others would have been receiving notification of cancelation.
As such, select reservations for these sailings have been canceled and impacted guests will receive that attached communication with this information today [This notice went out 6/21/2022]. You would receive an email if your booking was chosen.”
According to various online reports, the cut-off seems to be around 40% capacity. This is even lower than the cruise line confirmed in May this year when it said it would be operating Pride of America with about 50-55% capacity.
Onboard Services Limited
The staffing problems are not just affecting the guests who have now received news their cruise has been canceled. Cruise Hive reported in May that of the 920+ crew members that would typically be operating Pride of America, there are currently only around 550 onboard.
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This means that guests that do get to go onboard for their 7-day Hawaii cruise would be facing limited onboard services onboard. The cruise line has already informed guests that some specialty restaurants will be closed, while the Main Dining Room will not be open for breakfast or lunch.
Pride of America is the only large cruise vessel sailing full-time in US waters. The ship is US-flagged and therefore sails with a US-based crew—the 80,439 gross-ton cruise ship sails exclusively around the Hawaiian islands on 7-day cruises.
The ship re-entered service after the global pause in operations on April 9, 2022, the 15th ship in Norwegian’s fleet to welcome passengers again.
Pride of America Not Alone
The last couple of months have not been kind to Norwegian Cruise Line. The company has been hit with several setbacks since they initiated their otherwise successful Great Cruise Comeback.
In March of this year, Norwegian Escape ran aground in the Dominican Republic, causing more than a month of cancellations for the Breakaway-plus class cruise ship.
Shortly after Norwegian Escape resumed sailings, Norwegian Cruise Line had to cancel the inaugural voyage onboard its newest cruise ship, Norwegian Prima. This time, the delay resulted from supply chain problems.
In recent weeks there have been several itinerary changes for Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Breakaway. Norwegian Viva, the sister ship to the upcoming Norwegian Prima, will be delayed by at least two weeks in 2023. And to top it all off, on June 26, the Norwegian Sun cruise ship hit a small iceberg in Alaska