PHILIPSBURG, St. Martin: Norwegian Cruise Line canceled, mid-voyage, a ten-day Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Gem due to COVID-19, leaving travelers stranded in port.
The ship is docked in Philipsburg, St. Martin until it returns to New York.
"As we continue to navigate the fluid public health environment, while focusing on delivering a safe experience for all on board, we made the difficult decision to cancel Norwegian Gem's current Caribbean sailing, due to COVID-related circumstances," said a Norwegian Cruise spokesperson.
The spokesperson added that the ship would return to New York shortly, but did not give a date.
In an interview with USA Today, Aimee Focaraccio said she boarded the ship on January 9 for her birthday cruise, stressing what was supposed to be a fun celebration turned into a "nightmare."
"I really cannot imagine four more sea days back to back without much to do. Tomorrow, will really be the only nice day to enjoy the outdoors and after that, we will be stuck inside. With limited shows, small crowds, and nothing to do. I am upset," she told NBC News.
Another traveler, Anthony Bivona, said due to the pandemic, last-minute changes to the itinerary were expected, stating, "We all knew when we booked during such difficult times due to COVID-19 that there would most likely be changes to our itinerary. It was not the exact itinerary we signed up for, but has still been an absolutely amazing cruise."
All passengers on the Norwegian Gem will receive a full refund, according to Cruise Industry News.
Earlier this month, Norwegian canceled several cruises because of "ongoing travel restrictions," and noted a 12-day trip on the Norwegian Pearl was also cut short because of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said regardless of vaccination status, traveling on cruises could pose a risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.