Guests booked on various sailing dates for Norwegian Sky are learning that their itineraries have been altered, with some ports of call being completely changed and others having times shifted.

While most of the changes are relatively minimal, it can still be disappointing to travelers, especially if a port of call is cancelled and pre-booked shore excursions are no longer available. But why are so many changes being made?

Norwegian Sky, one of the oldest and smallest ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, is having multiple itineraries adjusted for her 2023-2024 winter sailing season in the Caribbean.

The cruise line has reached out to travel agents and booked guests to notify them of the changes, which vary depending on the exact itinerary. The following cruise departure dates all have similar changes:

January 29
February 12, February 26
March 11, March 20
April 10, April 20

The impacted sailings range from 9- to 14-nights depending on departure date and overall itinerary.

Norwegian Sky Cruise Ship

“We are committed to providing the best vacations at sea and have been working tirelessly to continue to elevate the quality of our offerings and overall guest experience while driving a positive impact on society and the environment,” the notification letter read. “As we optimize itineraries for fuel efficiencies, we have modified Norwegian Sky’s itinerary.”

Norwegian Cruise Line has made similar itinerary changes to other vessels, including for sailings aboard Norwegian Encore in January and February 2024.

The itinerary changes vary for different sailings, but all have similar adjustments. For example, each cruise is now departing Norwegian Sky’s homeport – La Romana in the Dominican Republic – at 8:30 p.m. rather than 5:30 p.m. as originally scheduled, in order to accommodate flights for incoming passengers.

In some cases, ports of call are cancelled and replaced with alternatives. For instance, on the ship’s February 12, 2024 departure, the very first port of call – which was planned as Cabo Rojo in the Dominican Republic – has been replaced with Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic instead.

Other adjustments include things like shifting time in ports of call by an hour or trimming some time off longer port visits. The ship’s visit to Bonaire on the same itinerary, for example, will now be from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. rather than from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m, and the visits to both Roseau in Dominica and Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe are likewise trimmed by an hour – now leaving port at 5 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.

These types of shortened visits can allow the ship to sail at slightly slower speeds between port destinations, which can improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock

In case the changes – whether port cancellations, substitutions, or timing changes – impact shore excursions, any tours pre-booked through Norwegian Cruise Line will be adapted to the new time where possible. If the tours cannot be adjusted, guests will be given a full refund of the tour costs.

No further compensation is being offered for the itinerary changes, as cruise lines have full authority to make such operational changes.

The 77,104-gross-ton, Sun-class Norwegian Sky will remain homeported from La Romana through late April, 2024. At that time, the ship will move to Miami, Florida, where she will be offering Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from 5- to 9-nights, with visits to top ports such as Key West, Cozumel, Great Stirrup Cay, San Juan, St. Thomas, and more.

In September 2024, Norwegian Sky will move to New York for a series of autumn Canada & New England sailings, very popular itineraries for spectacular fall foliage. After that deployment, the ship will move to an Asian deployment with departures from New York, Barcelona, Haifa, Dubai, and Mauritius along the way.

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