Norwegian Cruise Line Passengers Mutiny Over Changed Plans and Poor Conditions

Liam Stack

It is not clear if the rebellion was sparked by the clogged toilets or the canceled visit to Scotland, but passengers on the Norwegian Cruise Line ship had had enough. In recent days, travelers on the “mystical fjords” voyage in Europe have staged (and live tweeted) a veritable mutiny after inclement weather forced repeated changes to their itinerary and trapped them at sea.

The ship, called Norwegian Spirit, departed from Southampton, England, recently for a 14-day voyage with planned stops in the Netherlands, Norway and Iceland. But those plans were scuttled by bad weather, forcing the ship to plan new stops — some of which were then also canceled because of the weather. Passengers said they were stuck at sea for three days.

By Monday, a fed-up — and social media-savvy — group of passengers rallied in the ship’s atrium to vent their outrage at the crew, demand a refund from the company and post images and video of their revolt on newly created Twitter and YouTube accounts. They described the scene as a “riot” and “open rebellion.”

“Buddy, you’re not a manager, we want the head — who is driving the boat?” a passenger in one video asked a uniformed crew member, who stood flanked by security personnel in a crowd of angry vacationers. Nearby, a woman screamed.

“What you’re doing right now is you’re not helping the situation, you’re getting people amped up,” the passenger said to the crew member. Later, looking into the camera, the passenger said: “Nothing on this itinerary is the same. Nothing is the same. Not one thing.”

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.

“After three days floating around the Atlantic the bathrooms are backing up, not flushing, and out of order today on Norwegian Spirit,” one protester, Cody 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.

Another video showed crew members retreating up a staircase to escape dozens of angry passengers in the ship’s atrium, many of whom could be seen holding their phones over their heads to record the mayhem. The man being booed was the captain, the passengers said.

“We don’t want to be on this ship!” one man yelled, as the crew members clambered up the stairs. Another man agreed, yelling, “We want off the ship!”

In another video, passengers at a reception desk can be seen angrily reacting to staff members who advised them to call the cruise line’s Miami headquarters for information.

Again, many of the passengers can be seen recording the scene with their phones. “It’s a good thing we got this fancy new phone here for our trip,” a woman quipped.

A representative for Norwegian Cruise Line declined on Thursday to provide a day-by-day breakdown of events on the ship or to provide its original and modified itineraries. In a statement, the company pleaded for calm.

“We understand that it is disheartening when we are unable to call on ports that our guests have been looking forward to visiting,” the company said. “However, we do ask for our guests’ patience, cooperation and understanding that severe weather conditions are an act of God and cannot be controlled, influenced or remediated by the cruise line.”

A spokesman said that the itinerary was changed because of “severe weather conditions” and that the company had offered its passengers 25% off the cost of a future cruise.

But on social media, the protesters said that offer was not enough.

They held up signs in the ship’s atrium and chanted: “Refund! Refund! Refund!”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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