April 2, 2018 9:56 pm
Updated: April 3, 2018 1:21 am

B.C. travellers say trip of a lifetime ruined by work on Norwegian Cruise Line ship

B.C. travelers say their cruise ship voyage from Miami to Los Angeles was one they won't forget… for all the wrong reasons. John Hua reports.

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B.C. travellers say they’ll never forget their trip on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship — even though they’d like to.

Passengers sailing from Miami to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal boarded the Norwegian Sun only to find it was essentially a construction site.

“We felt like we were duped,” passenger Trish Vale said.

Passengers say work crews were preparing the ship for a refit, refinishing the ship’s decks.

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They say many of the ship’s amenities and restaurants were closed, hallways were blocked and construction noise and harsh chemical odours were constant.

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“There were even workers in hazmat suits, so it made us wonder what we were actually inhaling from all the sanding that they were doing,” Vale said.

“You couldn’t even go to your cabin for relief. I had fumes in my room from all the resurfacing that they were doing… It wasn’t relaxing the way a cruise should be. You never really knew what you were going to get around the next corner.”

Vale and 10 other family members had been planning the trip for a year, spending nearly $70,000 in total on what was supposed to be the family vacation of a lifetime.

“We were really looking forward to getting away and being together,” she said. “So we were very excited.”

Vale said they had no advance warning about the work and paid full price for the cruise.

READ MORE: Victoria couple experiences Panama vacation nightmare

It’s not uncommon for cruise passengers to “see people painting or certain areas that are being refurbished, but this impacted the passengers for virtually the entire extent of their cruise and that is not normal,” travel expert Claire Newell notes.

Halfway through the journey, hundreds of passengers decided they had enough and demanded answers from the ship’s captain.

“It’s come from the top of the management, from the shoreside, and don’t shoot on me,” the captain told them. Passengers say the captain spoke for a few minutes before leaving to a chorus of boos.

In a statement to Global News, Norwegian Cruise Line said: “While we do our utmost to minimize any impact on the guest experience when these enhancements are taking place, we recognize that in this situation our guests have experienced some inconvenience.”

The company offered passengers 25 per cent off another cruise until March 2019.

Vale said that’s not enough.

“They need to compensate us for this cruise and the things we could and couldn’t do,” she said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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