Passengers aboard a cruise ship expecting sunny Bahamas weather instead faced an itinerary changed to much colder climates because of severe conditions that made the original route unsafe.
The MSC Meraviglia cruise embarking from Brooklyn, New York was compelled to chart a course to ports in New England and Canada rather than the intended Bahamas destination last Saturday.
Unseasonably worsening weather precluded the possibility of securely navigating from New York City to the southern Atlantic, according to a statement from the MSC cruise line.
Recent heavy storms along the East Coast and Bahamas brought flooding, power losses and fatalities. Altering the schedule allowed the cruise to proceed rather than the more extreme measure of an outright cancellation that would have stymied thousands of vacations, the company said.
Complexities in obtaining last-minute berths for the unscheduled stops and stocking the vessel as it traveled left the Canada and New England route as the sole feasible choice.
MSC also extended passengers the option of either voyaging to the revised locales or retracting for future credit, enabling them to devote the total amount disbursed for this cruise toward another at their discretion.
The MSC Meraviglia, with a passenger capacity of 5,624 and crew of 1,608 per the cruise line’s website, is slated to dock at the Port of Saint John in Canada on Thursday.
While such an itinerary change is not necessarily unusual, some other cruise lines were also apparently impacted by the inclement conditions, according to Chris Gray Faust, executive editor at review platform Cruise Critic.
She said operators typically have contractual fine print that does not guarantee which ports a ship will visit, granting leeway to alter courses for reasons like weather. Though generally stable in December, the weather last weekend was unusually turbulent in Florida and the Bahamas.