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oxfordgirl20

Norwegian Star - last minute change of itinerary

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I have just had an email about a change of itinerary for the cruise I'm taking on Sunday morning.  The Star departs from Venice and the first POC was meant to be Kotor, Montenegro, which I was really looking forward to seeing.  I had heard the sail in to port is amazing.  Now, less than 48 hours before we depart, there's been a change (apparently it's because of an order issued by the Venice Harbour Master) and we won't be going to Kotor at all - we will be making a "technical stop" at Bar, Montenegro - and won't be able to get off the ship at all.  So the first POC will be Corfu on Tuesday.  Does anyone have experience of claiming any sort of compensation for this kind of change?  Last time I cruised with NCL, they changed the itinerary so we didn't sail into Stockholm but went to Nynashamn instead, but at least they put on free coaches to Stockholm so we still got to go there.  This time we will miss out on a whole country.

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For cancelled POC, you are refunded the port fees.  NCL is not obligated to provide additional compensation.  However, they may provide some very modest OBC if enough complain.  They should not charge you port fees at Bar if you are not able to get off.  We went on this itinerary last year and thought that Kotor was the least favorite port.  Yes, it is beautiful to sail into port, but the port itself was lacking.  

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this is just part of cruising.  if there is a destination you really want to see then its best to fly there and visit.  we missed Stockholm entirely due to winds when we went on our Baltics sail.  It was disappointing, but again, that's cruising.

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Oh how disappointing for you. We are on the same cruise in 2 weeks and we are looking forward to sailing into Kotor too. I cant understand why the venice harbour master could have any say on where the Star goes after leaving Italian waters.

We have had a missed port before on the getaway baltic cruise we were delayed for a day by wind getting into Warnemunde in Germany and because of the delay missed Tallin. I complained but all we got was port taxes refunded and some chocolate strawberries. We also then missed the Swedish archipelago and docked in Nynashamn. It was a fantastic cruise and we had a brilliant time yes we were disappointed for a time when first finding out but these things happen.

 

So dont expect any compensation other than a few £ in port fees and have a brilllant time regardless you are still going to some amazing ports.

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Just an FYI for anyone fortunate enough to port in Kotor, Montenegro, the port is fantastic.

 

The old town is an UNESCO World Heritage site. It is within a short walk of the pier. If one is lucky, the local market stalls will be set up along the outside of the walls. 

 

If you are a cat lover, you will enjoy the story behind the old town cats.

 

If available, an excursion which drives up Mt Lovcen is a must for those that enjoy an incredibly scenic route. Warning: it is not for those prone to motion sickness, have a fear of heights or might be stressed when  two vehicles going in different directions have to pass.

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The trip to Kotor is pretty tight for time and has been missed before if the ship has been late leaving, and the stop at Bar has been an option NCL has used if that has occured.  It is possible that something may be known that would delay the ship from leaving on time.  The reason for stopping for a little while at Bar is to do with the EU rules for cruises having to charge VAT on the cruise if all port stops are at EU ports. Montenegro is not in the EU at present so as long as the ship stops at Bar it will have left the EU during that stop and so will not have to charge VAT on anything on that cruise.

 

That would explain the stop in Bar, but not why Kotor can't be reached.

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13 minutes ago, old nutter said:

That would explain the stop in Bar, but not why Kotor can't be reached.

 

Since the OP mentioned this is due to the Venice Harbormaster, perhaps NCL knows that the ship will be delayed leaving Venice. 

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1 hour ago, Turtles06 said:

 

Since the OP mentioned this is due to the Venice Harbormaster, perhaps NCL knows that the ship will be delayed leaving Venice. 

 

Likely due to the ban on cruise ships leaving from the usual port in Venice.

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Kotor is an amazing sail in and out.  The port is great too.  It's a shame you are missing it.  Hopefully you get those port charges refunded as some OBC and will take another cruise there in the future. 

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I called to NCL today(I'm on the Star Sept. 8).  It is confirmed. No Kotor and departing Venice later on in the night at 9:30 PM...………………………...

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The port change was for the Spirit. The Star's itinerary has not changed yet.

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OP depending on what kind of travel insurance you might have, a missed or substitute port may be reimbursed.  Read the fine print of the policy.

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We were just on the 8/4/-8/11 sailing of the Star out of Venice and the same thing occurred with our sailing. We were delayed 2+ hours leaving Venice by the Harbor master based on our originally scheduled departure time. (6pm to 8:15pm) 

 

I think it is a matter of logistics in face of all of the scrutiny Venice is getting because of cruise ships. Here are some observations, I had.

 

  1. At the time we boarded in Venice, there were 5 other cruise ships in port all scheduled to leave late afternoon.
  2. They have to tow each of those ships down the Guidecca canal and around the eastern end of Venice-proper to get to the Lido shipping lane where they cross out of the lagoon into the Adriatic. The lagoon is very shallow except for the dredged out shipping lanes so there is only one path for the cruise ships to go if they are going to dock right in Venice.
  3. It seemed that they are trying to space things out a bit to reduce the impact. You will see anti-cruise ship graffiti here and there in Venice. I was surprised at how close to the major Venice landmarks (e.g. St. Marks, Doge's palace) the ships get transiting in and out.
  4. On the other end, there were supposed to be 4 ships in Kotor when we were supposed to be there. It seems that any change in schedules may present an issue for transiting in and out of the Gulf of Kotor.

We were disappointed in missing Kotor but made the best of it. I think we were credited back $13/person as OBC. There were a few positive things that came out of the change.

 

  • Leaving Venice at night was stunning.
  • It is a pretty exhausting itinerary with no sea days so making that first day essentially a sea day was nice.

Lastly, I will say that I really enjoyed the time we had in Venice. We arrived on the Wednesday before the cruise and stayed right in the city on the Grand Canal. We tried to get lost in the back streets during the day and only visit the major touristy sites late in the day. We did an after-hours tour of St. Marks at night that was expensive but amazing.

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In our case, the technical stop at Bar consisted of anchoring off-shore and occasionally turning the ship to change up the view. We weren’t close enough to get a good view of the port.

52008284-066D-4029-8D69-167B08EE0485.jpeg

32B64079-7258-4293-96E9-50144662BCE4.jpeg

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On 8/16/2019 at 1:41 PM, Son of a son of a ... said:

For cancelled POC, you are refunded the port fees.  NCL is not obligated to provide additional compensation.  However, they may provide some very modest OBC if enough complain.  They should not charge you port fees at Bar if you are not able to get off.  We went on this itinerary last year and thought that Kotor was the least favorite port.  Yes, it is beautiful to sail into port, but the port itself was lacking.  

Thank you. I spoke to NCL today and they might not even refund the port fees - they see the omission of one POC as a minor change ... I would say that whether it is minor or not depends on how long the cruise is and how many other POC there are. On a 7 night cruise, losing one POC is significant. Anyway, nothing to be done - the rest of the itinerary looks great. 

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6 minutes ago, vaddco said:

In our case, the technical stop at Bar consisted of anchoring off-shore and occasionally turning the ship to change up the view. We weren’t close enough to get a good view of the port.

52008284-066D-4029-8D69-167B08EE0485.jpeg

32B64079-7258-4293-96E9-50144662BCE4.jpeg

Thank you for these.  It doesn’t sound very exciting! I’ll get the camera out but Kotor it definitely is not!

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On 8/16/2019 at 1:59 PM, ppcox said:

Oh how disappointing for you. We are on the same cruise in 2 weeks and we are looking forward to sailing into Kotor too. I cant understand why the venice harbour master could have any say on where the Star goes after leaving Italian waters.

We have had a missed port before on the getaway baltic cruise we were delayed for a day by wind getting into Warnemunde in Germany and because of the delay missed Tallin. I complained but all we got was port taxes refunded and some chocolate strawberries. We also then missed the Swedish archipelago and docked in Nynashamn. It was a fantastic cruise and we had a brilliant time yes we were disappointed for a time when first finding out but these things happen.

 

So dont expect any compensation other than a few £ in port fees and have a brilllant time regardless you are still going to some amazing ports.

 

Thank you - yes the rest of the ports look great. For me, though, I’ve been to Greece for longer stays in the past and the A’s looking forward to Montenegro and Croatia as I haven’t been to either. It’ll be great though - the weather in all the POC looks wonderful too!   

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23 hours ago, Sauer-kraut said:

OP depending on what kind of travel insurance you might have, a missed or substitute port may be reimbursed.  Read the fine print of the policy.

I will, thank you. 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you, yes, I’m sure you’re right about the logistics. I’m just suspicious though that NCL know about these changes for a long time in advance - the Stockholm one has apparently been in place for years, but they continue to publicise and sell a cruise whose itinerary includes the archipelago.  In any other walk  of life, you expect to get what you pay for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still excited for the cruise - now only a few hours away! 

Edited by oxfordgirl20

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On 8/16/2019 at 6:45 AM, oxfordgirl20 said:

I have just had an email about a change of itinerary for the cruise I'm taking on Sunday morning.  The Star departs from Venice and the first POC was meant to be Kotor, Montenegro, which I was really looking forward to seeing.  I had heard the sail in to port is amazing.  Now, less than 48 hours before we depart, there's been a change (apparently it's because of an order issued by the Venice Harbour Master) and we won't be going to Kotor at all - we will be making a "technical stop" at Bar, Montenegro - and won't be able to get off the ship at all.  So the first POC will be Corfu on Tuesday.  Does anyone have experience of claiming any sort of compensation for this kind of change?  Last time I cruised with NCL, they changed the itinerary so we didn't sail into Stockholm but went to Nynashamn instead, but at least they put on free coaches to Stockholm so we still got to go there.  This time we will miss out on a whole country.

Sorry to hear this. I know it is a disappointment but this is one time the decision seems to be out of the hands of NCL. I doubt it will really make a huge impact on how much you enjoy your cruise unless you let it. 

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This kind of stuff happens all the time on all lines.  I am booked for a 2/24/20  RCI 9 day out Hong Kong originally scheduled POC Okinawa, Ilocos, Manila, Boracay, ending in Singapore.  Got an email before final payment telling me Okinawa had to be changed because of planned construction in the port plus Boracay, a beach closed for 6 months last year because of pollution, was not allowing large ships now.  So Subic Bay was substituted for Boracay and to make up for missing Okinawa two stops were added in Vietnam on the way to Singapore.  So now we have one more POC than the original.  Just visited Vietnam a few months ago on NCL Jewel, did not really want to go back.  No one is making me get off the ship.  Now I have a reason to book a cruise including Okinawa in the future.

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I share the disappointment of everyone who has missed a port.  In 20-some cruises in the Caribbean, plus one each in Hawaii and the Mediterranean, we never missed a port.   Then, this past April, on a Princess cruise in Europe, we missed the first port of Zeebrugge in Belgium due to weather that delayed our departure from Southampton.  Turning a port day into a sea day on a 7-day cruise in Europe was a huge disappointment.  We had very much looked forward to a visit to Bruges.   And a sea day in the North Sea isn't quite like a sea day in the Caribbean or the Med.  But missing a port is something all cruisers on all cruise lines have to accept as a possibility, and the change may happen while you are board, as it did for us.  Sometimes a land vacation is a better choice for a must-see destination.

 

I booked an NCL mostly-British Isles cruise for next year, and the first stop is Zeebrugge.  😊

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