Thousands of passengers stuck on stricken cruise ship in Barcelona

Simon Calder

Thousands of passengers are stuck aboard a stricken cruise ship in Barcelona, while thousands more have been given three days’ notice that their cruise has been cancelled.

Norwegian Pearl, part of the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) fleet, is nearing the end of a 13-night cruise that began in Amsterdam on 22 June and arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday 2 July. Passengers were told that a planned call in Monaco has been cancelled.

A stop in Palma, Mallorca, was also missed.

According to NCL, the ship has a mechanical issue which requires her to travel at a slower speed. As a result of the technical difficulties, the ship must remain in Barcelona for an extra night.

One passenger tweeted: “The Norwegian Pearl has now cancelled two ports of call during its voyage without giving passengers compensation. Absolutely unacceptable, especially for a vacation this expensive. Will never sail NCL again.”

The vessel is due to arrive in Civitavecchia, the port for Rome, at 6am on Friday 5 July.

More than 2,300 passengers are believed to be onboard, the vast majority of whom have flights booked from the Italian capital. If Norwegian Pearl cannot arrive in time, NCL will be faced with formidable logistical problems.

The next cruise, due to depart on the evening of 5 July from Civitavecchia, has been cancelled. The ship was sold out, with nearly 2,400 passengers expecting to visit 10 ports, including Dubrovnik, Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, Naples and Monaco.

Passenger Patricia Del Mar tweeted that she had already flown the first stage of her journey when she got the news: “I just got to NY, my flight to Rome is in an hour. I am from Puerto Rico and after 2 hrs in a call with customer service they just said to go back to PR. They can’t solve anything.”

NCL has said it would refund the cost of the cruise and any pre-booked excursions, which it is legally obliged to do.

But the cruise line has not said if it will provide recompense for all the air fares and hotel expenses.

In a statement to The Independent, an NCL spokesperson said: “We recognise the disappointment and inconvenience our guests have experienced as a result of this unforeseen situation and we offer our sincere apologies.

“Our team is working diligently to assist all of our guests, and we thank them for their continued support and loyalty.”