One TikTok user has taken to social media to slam Norwegian Cruise Line for altering their bucket-list itinerary to Antarctica with little to no explanation. The revised itinerary would no longer be visiting Antarctica at all, according to the viral TikTok.
Norwegian Star was set to visit Antarctica and South America on a 14-night itinerary from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The sailing departed from Argentina on February 4, 2024 and originally scheduled port stops around South America and the Falkland Islands.
The exciting itinerary’s highlight would be sailing through the fjords of Chile and Antarctica with scenic cruising through Paradise Bay and Elephant Island in Antarctica.
According to TikTok user ruinedvacation, passengers were not aware of any itinerary changes to their highly-anticipated cruise before the cruise set sail. Her TikTok video is now going viral on the social media app with nearly 2 million views, 100,000 likes, and thousands of comments.
“I am onboard Norwegian Star. Our ship is not going to Antarctica. [Norwegian Cruise Line] secretly changed the name of this cruise on the app,” says the frustrated woman.
According to the TikTok, guests onboard were understandably furious that their Antarctica cruise would no longer visit the continent. For many guests, this is a once-in-a-lifetime cruise to visit Antarctica. Supposedly, Norwegian Cruise Line did not notify guests of the change until passengers had already boarded Norwegian Star in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In two clips on the app, ruinedvacation explains to viewers how their dream cruise has been completely altered, and it feels like they’ve been blindsided with no explanation. “Everyone’s angry,” she explains in the video.
The user claims that Norwegian Star’s passengers feel "cheated and scammed" onboard. In the viral video, the angry woman shows passengers gathering in the ship’s atrium, and they are demanding answers.
The angry woman explains that once passengers were onboard Norwegian Star, they noticed on their app that the ship’s itinerary name had changed.
Ruinedvacation emphasizes in her TikTok that guests were not made aware of any itinerary changes until embarkation in Buenos Aires. Guests noticed in their onboard app that the 14-night sailing to Antarctica and South America was renamed to 14-night South America Round-Trip from Buenos Aires to Argentina & Chile.
Noticeably, the itinerary no longer mentioned Antarctica. She continues to share that guest services explained this decision was made by the head office in Miami before the cruise set sail for “operational reasons.”
Learning that the change was decided by Norwegian’s head office in Miami added fuel to the fire. Most operational impacts during a cruise are due to weather, medical evacuations, or other unforeseen circumstances.
Ruinedvacation states that Norwegian Cruise Line is refusing to explain what these operational reasons are that could be impacting their Antarctica itinerary. “We know it’s not weather, so what is the reason?” she asks.
It should be noted that Norwegian Cruise Line only offers scenic cruises to Antarctica. This means that passengers do not disembark the vessel while in Antarctica. Instead, the cruise ship spends a few days sailing around the continent. Only expedition ships are able to allow passengers on the continent due to sustainability efforts for the relatively untouched continent.
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The TikTok continues to show upset guests gathering in the atrium demanding answers from the cruise line.
Later in the viral TikTok, ruinedvacation explains that upset passengers gathered in Norwegian Star’s atrium to ask for an explanation for the altered itinerary. In the clip, the angry woman shows crowds of passengers around her:
“Customer service is refusing to acknowledge us. They’ve sent their security officer out to calm us down, but we just refuse to be told, ‘Sorry, we’re not going and we’re not giving you reasons.' We are being dismissed, ignored, and refused answers."
During the viral TikTok, you can hear the security officer supposedly from the cruise line asking passengers in the atrium to calm down. Ruinedvacation shares with followers that everyone onboard has spent a lot of money to visit Antarctica, not to visit only South America.
“They’re telling us we just have to accept it. Well, guess what? We paid too much money, we are too smart. We are too angry to just order another cocktail and sit down to accept the fact that our money has vanished into Norwegian Cruise Line’s pockets. We are too angry,” ruinedvacation exclaims.
Surprisingly, the TikTok user states that Norwegian Star’s leadership has not made a single announcement to the passengers. Given the unexpected itinerary change, ruinedvacation shares that passengers have yet to hear any announcements from the captain regarding the situation.
“We are angry. We want to be heard. We want answers. We want transparency. We want clarity.”
At the end of the TikTok, ruinedvacation shares how passengers are feeling disrespected by the cruise line given the tense situation onboard. Without providing answers to passengers, everyone feels left in the dark.
Ruinedvacation continues to state that passengers feel like Norwegian Cruise Line is not treating passengers with respect. She shares, “They are treating us with absolute disdain and disrespect. They think we are idiots; we are not idiots!”
Even though the chances of Norwegian Star visiting Antarctica are minimal, ruinedvacation shares that everyone onboard wants answers.
Read more: Norwegian Cruise Line: Pros and Cons
In a follow-up TikTok the next day, ruinedvacation shared that passengers were told Norwegian Star has a "go slow" order from headquarters.
After her first TikTok garnered millions of views, Ruinedvacation posted an update for followers regarding Norwegian Star’s altered itinerary. After enough passengers gathered in the atrium of Norwegian Star, the angry woman shares how Norwegian sent two crew members and one security officer to address the crowd.
Ruinedvacation says the crew members talked to the passengers “at length,” but everyone onboard is still “very much in the dark” about the situation. She shares that crew members confirmed that Norwegian’s head office in Miami made this decision on January 31, which was four days before the sailing on February 4.
“What we heard last night is that this ship, the Norwegian Star, has a go-slow order. They are not allowed to travel as fast as they normally would. That’s all we know. There is no explanation of why the go-slow order is in place," ruinedvacation says.
Additionally, the TikToker shares that the cruise line stated that guests were notified before the sailing about the change. However, ruinedvacation says that she never received any communication about the itinerary change. In addition, she found that no one onboard received the supposed communication.
Considering the number of angry passengers onboard, it seems likely that many passengers did not receive the alleged communication from Norwegian Cruise Line.
The user shares how the revised itinerary includes sailing through the torturous Drake Passage but will not get close to mainland Antarctica, which was the original itinerary.
According to ruinedvacation’s TikTok, Norwegian Star is still scheduled to pass through the Drake Passage from South America. However, the ship will only visit the South Shetland Islands and Elephant Island, which are technically part of a group of islands in Antarctica.
The TikToker confirms that crew members verified the change was not weather-related. This is a huge loss for passengers aboard, says the angry Norwegian cruiser. Many passengers booked the cruise originally because it visited mainland Antarctica with a scenic cruising day to Paradise Bay.
According to the TikTok, the ship is not venturing that far south to Antarctica. In fact, the ship’s scheduled stops are 200 kilometers further north than mainland Antarctica. The update feels slightly more positive than the original video, which insinuated that Norwegian Star would not visit Antarctica at all.
“[Paradise Bay] is where the passengers on this ship wanted to go. Passengers have paid big money - their life savings for this. We are not going anywhere near mainland Antarctica, which is what we paid for,” ruinedvacation says.
Like many onboard, the angry passenger explains how this was a bucket-list trip. The TikTok user claims that she saved for two years to be able to afford this trip of a lifetime to mainland Antarctica.
Ruinedvacation states, “We will never be back. We will never be able to afford to do this again. And we’ve lost that trip to the Antarctica mainland that we all been hoping for, that we all paid for and have been waiting for!”
The TikToker also confirms that the captain has yet to make a single announcement onboard the cruise, which is very unusual. She also clarifies that passengers were only given some clarity after they demanded answers for the changed itinerary and nearly "forced" the crew members to give insight into the situation.
Among thousands of comments, many agree that passengers are rightfully upset at the cruise line.
With ruinedvacation’s viral TikTok videos, many users have left comments regarding the situation. The comments were overwhelmingly supportive of ruinedvacation with empathy for the disappointing situation.
Many commenters mentioned how this is unacceptable given the cost of a cruise to Antarctica. One of the top comments comes from user Chick, “Cruises to Antarctica are super $$$ vs any other cruise and very specific. I'd be mad too. It's not like skipping the Bahamas…”
Norwegian Cruise Line advertises their Antarctica cruises start at around $2,200 per passenger. Of course, this does include airfare or any additional costs incurred onboard, such as drinks, internet, specialty dining, and excursions. Expedition cruises to Antarctica are even more expensive and can easily cost upwards of $8,000 per person.
“If you spent your money and limited vacation time on a trip, and they changed it for no reason at the last min, I'd be fuming,” agrees one TikTok user.
A few commenters clarified that cruise lines are able to change a ship’s itinerary at any point, as specified in the cruise contract. While this is true, most cruise lines aim to sail itineraries as scheduled. Of course, this can change because of weather or unforeseen circumstances.
“Lots of comments saying that the contract allows them to do this, especially due to weather, but they owe you an explanation, certainly,” writes one TikTok viewer.
Additionally, many viewers find Norwegian’s handling of the situation to be unethical by not being transparent with passengers onboard. Considering the itinerary was changed before departure, guests should receive some compensation for being kept in the dark about the itinerary change.
“While they may be able to change itinerary, that’s a HUGE change. Like nowhere near where they wanted to go,” says one follower. Another agrees, “If they changed the name prior to [its] departure then passengers should have been given [the] option to receive money back.”
Finally, a few followers responded to the viral TikTok that Norwegian Star’s captain should be addressing the passengers. With such a tense situation onboard, it seems unusual that the ship’s captain has yet to provide guests with any update regarding the itinerary change.
Ruinedvacation concludes that some aspects of the cruise have been amazing, such as some attentive crew members providing excellent service. However, the TikToker still feels like guests have been kept in the dark regarding the situation for a once-in-a-lifetime cruise.