A special sailing of Carnival Legend to ports in Greenland is not going to Greenland after all, as poor weather has made it impossible for the ship to visit any destinations on the world’s largest island. Instead, the ship will be visiting multiple Canadian ports of call as an alternative.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Spirit-class Carnival Legend is currently sailing what was to have been a special sailing to Greenland, with visits to Nanortalik and Qaqortoq, as well as several stops in Canada.

The ship set sail from Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, September 2, 2023, and it quickly became clear that the calls to Greenland would not be possible due to the lingering influence of Hurricane Idalia.

At first, the remnants of the storm caused a slight delay in Carnival Legend‘s return to Baltimore, delaying embarkation by one hour. A medical evacuation was also necessary Monday night, causing a slight diversion as the ship met a US Coast Guard helicopter. Such evacuations do happen, and did not cause a significant change to the ship’s itinerary at that point.

As of Tuesday afternoon, September 5, the ship was still hoping to visit Greenland as scheduled on Friday and Saturday, September 8 and 9.

Rough weather was expected as the ship continued further north, however, making it unsafe to continue toward Greenland. Because both ports of call in Greenland are tender ports requiring the use of smaller boats to take guests ashore, the prospective choppy weather made such operations impossible.

The decision to cancel both port visits to Greenland was made Tuesday evening, just four days in to the 14-night itinerary.

Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

It wasn’t until Thursday that the rest of the ship’s itinerary was confirmed, with ports of call shifted around and one additional Canadian port visit added in to the schedule. Guests were notified of the itinerary with letters delivered to their staterooms.

“Thank you for your patience while we finalized our itinerary,” the letter began.

Now, Carnival Legend is sailing to a total of four Canadian ports of call – Corner Brook, Sydney, St. Anthony, and Halifax. The ship has already had five days at sea while these arrangements were made, and there will be four more days at sea on the remainder of the itinerary.

“Once again, we apologize for this change and thank you for your understanding,” the letter concludes.

Many guests onboard are understandably disappointed at not being able to visit Greenland as planned, particularly since this Carnival Journeys longer sailing was specially designed to highlight that unique destination as the first time Carnival Cruise Line was visiting Greenland in decades.

In fact, when this exact sailing of Carnival Legend was first announced in 2021, the cruise sold out in just hours, prompting Carnival Cruise Line to add a second sailing to depart even earlier, on August 13, 2023. That sailing was able to visit Greenland as planned.

What is most upsetting to many guests is that it seems there is little effort being made to preserve the Greenland ports of call, but instead, the focus of the cruise has shifted to a Canadian sailing – which is much less unique and not nearly as “bucket list” for many travelers.

Greenland

It is possible, however, that the weather forecasts for the next week preclude the possibility of safe tendering in Greenland, making any attempt to preserve either Nanortalik or Qaqortoq on a different day futile at best, potentially leading to even more disappointment if the visit would need to be cancelled again.

Instead, the sailing has become an exclusively Canada itinerary. As always, the safety and comfort of guests onboard remains the top priority.

Because of the changes in port days, however, many shore excursions in Corner Brook and Sydney are now unavailable, leaving very few options available for guests to make the best of a bad situation and immerse themselves in Canadian maritime culture and history.

Shore tours that are no longer available are being automatically refunded to guests’ onboard accounts. Carnival Cruise Line is also giving every stateroom onboard $400 (USD) of non-refundable onboard credit to use during the cruise, which can be applied to shore tours for the remaining ports, souvenirs, photos, spa treatments, drinks, or other onboard expenses.

How would you feel if you were on this no-longer-a-Greenland cruise? Share your thoughts on the Cruise Hive boards!

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