Patience grows thin as stuck Norwegian cruise passengers wait for flights home

The Norwegian Escape ran aground Monday, cancelling the remainder of the cruise

Passengers from the Norwegian Escape are facing problems coming back to the U.S after their cruise ship ran aground this past Monday.

“The minute they announced the cancellation of the cruise I knew we were in for a wild ride,” said Dawn Stout.

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News 6 spoke to several passengers frustrated with the process of coming back to the United States, some still stuck in Dominican Republic.

“They took off about a half-hour ago. All of the passengers are off,” said Kevin Hipes of Oviedo.

Hipes is still in the Dominican and said his fellow passengers are making the most of their trip, but patience is running thin after the ship departed to dry dock for repairs.

“The Dominican Port Authority told the ship it had to go today, so they had to push everyone off,” Stout said.

The ship, Norwegian Escape, set sail from Port Canaveral Saturday but ran aground while departing Puerto Plata this past Monday. The cruise was canceled.

Frustrated passengers are now stuck in lines while trying to catch a charter flight from Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Stout was one of those who already made it home. She said each passenger has their own unique problems, from families having to reorganize flights to stay together, to transportation delays from Orlando International Airport back to Port Canaveral.

Despite the problems, Stout says she has witnessed Norwegian learning from this experience.

“They’re listening to the feedback, their taking notes,” Stout said. “I talked to the customer service supervisor who was at the airport last night and he had a long list of stuff that he had been writing down.”

Hipes is urging patience as they wait for their turn to return home but says he still has concerns about the cruise line’s preparedness.

“You would assume they would have procedures to handle this situation. It seems like it wasn’t very organized, but everybody is safe,” said Hipes.

Cruising enthusiast Stewart Chiron said these types of incidents are rare and says the cruise line is taking notes.

“They are working through each of these situations and if people have any questions, they should be in contact the guest services department,” Chiron said.

News 6 reached out to Norwegian Cruise Lines to see where the ship is being docked, and what damage needs to be fixed.

At this time, we have not heard back.

Passengers News 6 spoke to all say the remaining flights have been situated and everyone is set to return sometime Saturday.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.