Norwegian Star: NCL speaks out after huge cruise liner's Portsmouth visit cancelled and changed to Southampton

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The operators of an enormous cruise liner have released a statement after her visit to Portsmouth was cancelled and changed to Southampton.

Norwegian Star would have been the largest ship ever to enter Portsmouth International Port, according to port officials, if it entered the harbour. She was due to drop off hundreds of tourists in the city on May 8, but her much-anticipated visit will no longer take place.

Many residents have booked tickets for a luxurious cruise across the Mediterranean due to the convenience of embarking close-by. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) have now spoken out about the decision.

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The dawn-class cruise ship Norwegian Star, operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), was due to become the largest ship ever to enter Portsmouth International Port. Her visit was cancelled, and she will now be calling at Southampton. Pictured is the vessel in 2019. Picture: LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images.The dawn-class cruise ship Norwegian Star, operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), was due to become the largest ship ever to enter Portsmouth International Port. Her visit was cancelled, and she will now be calling at Southampton. Pictured is the vessel in 2019. Picture: LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images.
The dawn-class cruise ship Norwegian Star, operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), was due to become the largest ship ever to enter Portsmouth International Port. Her visit was cancelled, and she will now be calling at Southampton. Pictured is the vessel in 2019. Picture: LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images.

A spokeswoman said: “We are committed to providing exceptional vacation experiences, both aboard our ships and by taking our guests to some of the most sought-after destinations around the world. While we try to maintain original itineraries as much as possible, at times modifications are made to optimize the itinerary or to accommodate certain circumstances.

“As such, Norwegian Star’s turnaround port on May 8 and May 18, 2024 was changed from Portsmouth to Southampton, England to enhance the overall guest experience during the embarkation and disembarkation process. While there are no immediate arrangements for other port calls or turnarounds planned in Portsmouth, we remain in contact with the local authorities to identify opportunities for the future. Portsmouth remains a charming and historical city in the south of England, and we look forward to exploring further opportunities for our guests to discover there.”

Portsmouth International Port previously said Norwegian Star, which is 294m long and has 91,740 gross tonnage, would be slightly larger than the current record holder Mein Schiff 3, which is 293m in leigh and weighs 99,536 gross tonnage. The TUI vessel made her appearance in May 2023.

Port officials have been expanding the small to medium-size cruise offerings to attract more holidaymakers to the city and boost the local economy with Norwegian Star’s cancellation being a bitter blow. Andrew Williamson, head of cruise and ferry at the port, previously said they were “disappointed” by the decision, but added that changes to shipping schedules are common. He added that other exciting calls are planned for this year, with new brands including Ambassador and CFC vessels making visits to the city.

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