PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Thousands of cruise passengers are back in the states after their Norwegian cruise ship was unexpectedly rerouted from Cuba.
The Norwegian Sun departed from Port Canaveral on Monday and was supposed to dock in Havana, Cuba. But the cruise line said they had to re-route the ship to the Bahamas after the Trump Administration announced on Tuesday that U.S. cruise ships were banned from traveling to the island nation. The White House said the new rule was in response to Cuba’s support of the Venezuelan president.
Many passengers said they were disappointed by the unexpected detour.
“About six of us had planned this and it was all centered [on] us going to Cuba. To have it re-routed to Nassau, where we have been plenty of times, was hugely disappointing,” said one passenger who traveled from Atlanta to take the cruise.
Chef Francois was also on the cruise and was supposed to celebrate his birthday in Cuba.
“What we don’t see in a situation like this is the tremendous loss of income for the Cubans and for Norwegian.”
He said he wished they had been given more notice before the new rule went into effect.
“Not fair for us, not fair for the cruise company, and not fair for the Cubans.”
Several passengers said they made the best of the unplanned trip to the Bahamas. Nellie Caraballo said her children were able to visit the Bahamas for the first time. “We had a blast. We went parasailing. We went shopping. We just had a great time.”
In a statement, Norwegian said it was surprised by the policy change and “we share your disappointment and frustration caused by this unexpected change.”
The cruise line is working to compensate passengers with a full refund or a 50 percent refund and a 50 percent discount on a future cruise. Many passengers said they were happy with how the cruise line handled the situation.
“We are definitely going back on Norwegian,” said passenger Frank Rossi.