Four thousand passengers aboard the Norwegian Epic Cruise reacted with anger when they found out that the ship was not allowed to dock in the Bahamas because of a mix-up with the Prince George harbor's berthing schedule, Tribune242 reported.
The cruise, one of the largest in the world, transported at least several hundred visitors who were scheduled to use the Atlantis Resort's facilities. The resort's public relations chief Ed Field told Tribune242 that the hotel's losses amounted to $100,000 resulting from the confusion. He didn't provide any further comment.
Downtown business owners are also frustrated, describing the mishap, which puts them at a disadvantage, as "careless," Tribune242 reported.
"This is one of the biggest cruise ships in the world," one vendor told Tribune242. "How can they just allow it to be turned away? Whatever boat replaced it could not have been as big and could not have brought as many tourists to town. How do you overbook a cruise ship anyway?"
Port Controller Commander Patrick McNeil told Tribune242 that he was attending a conference in Jamaica and could not discuss the matter.
McNeil referred Tribune242 to Carla Stuart, Director of Cruise Developments, who said she was in charge when the incident occurred - but that an official from the Ministry of Transport and Aviation had to be contacted instead.
Tribune242 made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Glenys Hanna-Martin, the Transport and Aviation Minister.
Although an incident like this is hard on the Bahamas in its current financial situation, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe told Tribune242.
"It tells you that there is a demand for the berths out there," he said. "But when you are in demand you expect that to happen. Of course with our berthing schedule we intend to perfect it and to make sure that we don't have those kinds of situations again. It happened because of the berthing schedule. There were more vessels booked so they put it in the routine as opposed to having the right amount. So what happens from time to time, and if we do not know ahead of time when the vessel gets here and then there is no berthing space. But we are working those things out and it won't happen again."
Norwegian Cruise Lines officials did not respond to Tribune242's requests for comment as of press time.
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By Amanda Woods, Travelers Today
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more