Norwegian cruise ship cancels midvoyage amid COVID-19-related issues

CORRECTION: The Norwegian Gem cruise ship canceled its voyage during its trip and is returning to New York. A previous version of this article included incorrect information.

A Norwegian cruise ship is returning to New York after its voyage was cut short amid COVID-19-related issues, a spokeswoman for the company said.

Norwegian Cruise Line's senior vice president of branding and communication, Christine Da Silva, told USA Today on Friday that the Norwegian Gem was scheduled to return to New York "shortly," without providing a definite date.

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"As we continue to navigate the fluid public health environment, while focusing on delivering a safe experience for all on board, today, we made the difficult decision to cancel Norwegian Gem’s current Caribbean sailing, due to COVID-related circumstances," Da Silva told the publication.  

Aimee Focaraccio, who boarded a 10-day cruise on the Norwegian Gem from New York, told USA Today that she was notified on Thursday that the cruise would be canceled due to issues related to COVID-19 but was not given an early return date.

"We will arrive as per schedule on the 19th in the morning," cruise ship personnel reportedly said, according to a recording Focaraccio provided the news outlet.

Focaraccio said that after the ship made a stop in St. Maarten on Friday, it would not be making any other stops at ports or islands.

"I really can’t imagine four more sea days back to back without much to do," she told USA Today.

She added that earlier Friday, the ship made the decision to forgo port calls in Grand Turk, St. Thomas and Tortola prior to its arrival in St. Maarten and before the decision was made to cancel the remainder of the stops.

Despite the cruise line's assertion that "COVID-related circumstances" were the reason for canceling sailing, Focaraccio told USA Today that she was not made aware of coronavirus cases on the ship.

All passengers on the Norwegian Gem were reportedly given a full refund and an additional cruise credit equivalent to 50 percent of the current trip fare for to be applied to a future cruise by May 2023.