Hopefully, this will be the last time there is a need to update you regarding our cruise!
We woke up this morning and found out that Norwegian Cruise Line would be cancelling all cruises through April 11th. As for those of us already on a cruise? “Guests on voyages that are underway will conclude and guests will be disembarked as soon as possible and assisted with travel arrangements.” The big question is: when and where would it be possible for us to disembark?
Naturally, no announcement was made by the captain or anyone else, though most passengers were aware of the issue. The captain did state (around 9 am) that we would be stopping off of the coast of Reunion Island (where we were scheduled to dock tomorrow) in order to do a medical evacuation. We had heard a “code alpha” called at 9:30 last night (medical emergency), so the person needed to be given more intensive medical treatment than was available on board. We would then continue with our sea day, arriving back at Reunion Island tomorrow morning at 7 am. So, I guess we will be floating aimlessly for a day!
In the absence of information, we tried to figure out what might happen next. Would they dock at Reunion Island or Mauritius and try to make arrangements for all of us to get to a major airport from there? The logistics for that seem daunting given that there are 3,000 on board (passengers + crew). Besides, I don’t think either island would want us! So, South Africa would be another option. Again, would they allow us to dock? If not, we would be truly screwed. If we were allowed to dock, would they drop us at the closest port (Richard’s Bay) and transport us to the nearest airport, or what? Another ship in our situation ended up in New Zealand, but New Zealand just announced that they will not allow cruise ships to dock.
I contacted the guesthouse we are staying at in Cape Town to let them know we might be arriving early. I also reached out to Egyptair to see if our flights home could be easily changed. The guesthouse reservation agents don’t work on the weekends, and Egyptair said that since we booked through United, we would have to contact United. I have heard on the news that people are spending hours on hold with United to try to make changes in flights from Europe; I did not hold out any hope that we would have better luck. So, I contacted them on Facebook and am still awaiting an answer.
Finally, at about 11:45 am, the captain made an announcement. We will be docking at Reunion Island tomorrow (not holding my breath on that), but then will be at sea for 6 more days, arriving in Cape Town on March 22nd, as was originally scheduled.
So, the good news is that we will be docking. The bad news is the 6 more sea days. And, though theoretically we are docking tomorrow, realistically, I am resigning myself to being on board. If you have read my previous posts, you will know that Reunion Island residents were throwing rocks at cruise passengers a week or two ago. Hey, it could be an exciting day! If we actually are able to get off the ship, I may be able to write an entry regarding the exciting things we saw while on shore. Wait and see!