Hurricane Irma Gave Norwegian Escape Passengers Extra Days Of Cruising—For Free

When you think of going on a cruise, you probably envision getting away from it all. Drinking cocktails while overlooking the vast ocean, partaking in scrumptious buffets and sunning yourself on the ship’s deck are just a few of the activities you might look forward to when booking a cruise vacation.

That’s most certainly the idea guests had in mind when they boarded Norwegian Cruise Line’s aptly named ship, Norwegian Escape, in Miami on Saturday, Sept. 2. However, the impending Hurricane Irma soon stood in between them and a dream vacation.

Some passengers aboard the Escape were forced to cut their trips short by the approach of the coming storm. The ship returned early to its departure city of Miami, and some passengers departed there to return to their homes in Florida. However, some 4,000 other passengers would have been left stranded with no hotels or flights out of the city.

Because the guests had no other options, the company welcomed them back aboard the Escape to cruise away from the storm and wait it out. Passengers were offered a pro-rated refund for the missing leg of their trip as well as 25 percent credit toward a future cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line.

norwegian escape cruise ship photo
Flickr | ustung

When the Escape left Miami, it had no set destination, just a plan to sail west away from Florida and the storm.

“At this point the plan is to go west,” Vanessa Picariello, a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line, told USA Today on Sept. 8. “We’re making every effort to have at least one port of call. If not, it will be a cruise to nowhere and everyone will have a good time.”

hurricane irma photo
Flickr | anttilipponen

The latest communication from NCL on Sept. 10 said that the Escape was planning to set sail back to Miami from Cozumel, Mexico, around 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 11. So it looks like the ship found at least one port of call after all.

The passengers were not charged for their extra time aboard the ship and had access to food, drinks and entertainment while they wait out the storm. With all of the terrible destruction, devastation and loss of life coming out of Irma, it’s uplifting to hear that this cruise line provided its passengers with safe (and, it seems, rather enjoyable) respite from the hurricane.

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One of the passengers aboard the Escape shared a photo on Instagram of the ship docked in Cozumel, noting how her planned 7-day vacation had become unexpectedly longer. She said each additional day aboard the ship was free to guests, excluding a $13.99 a day fee for gratuity.