Prejudice: The Tunisian government refused to let Israeli nationals disembark. *Creative commons photo
Prejudice: The Tunisian government refused to let Israeli nationals disembark. *Creative commons photo

If you think cruise lines can’t leave a destination at the drop of hat, Norwegian just proved you wrong.

But in a good way.

On Sunday, the Norwegian Jade pulled into the Port of La Goulette, Tunis. The Tunisian government refused to allow Israeli nationals the right to disembark. 

In response, Norwegian announced it would cancel all remaining calls to Tunis and would not return because of this “discriminatory act”. 

Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line CEO, is a stand-up guy for his customers.

He said: “We are outraged by this act, and the fact that we were not notified in advance of this practice. 

“We apologize sincerely to our guests who were affected and want them to know that we have taken the appropriate action in response.”

A spokesperson for Norwegian said the line “employs more than 90 different nationalities and welcomes people of all nationalities aboard its vessels.  

“The company does not condone or tolerate discrimination of any type and with these cancellations hopes to send a message to those who do that such acts are completely unacceptable.”

If I was Stephen Colbert, I’d be giving Norwegian a “tip of the hat” and a “wag of the finger” to Tunisa.

Norwegian Escape

The Norwegian Getaway, the sister ship to the Breakaway, has barely been sailing a month, and the line is starting to announce plans for its biggest ship to date  — The Norwegian Escape. 

The Escape will start cruising in October 2015. It will homeport in Miami and will offer seven-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean. 

The ports of call will include Tortola; British Virgin Islands; St Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.

The ship will be 163,000 gross tons and can carry 4,200 passengers. 

By comparison, the Breakaway is 144,000 gross tons and can carry 4,500 passengers. 

Norwegian Epic

Partly as a result, the Norwegian Epic is moving to Europe. 

Even though it is currently just the third oldest-ship in their fleet, there are plenty of  bargains to be had on it. 

Inside cabins on the ship for seven-day cruises were going for just $329 per person over the Easter break, a considerable bargain.

Best airport eats

Saveur magazine picked five airports that are the best for dining (not that anyone flies through an airport just for the food). 

They are Hong Kong International, Sydney International, Salzburg Airport, Singapore Changi, and San Francisco International. 

The Allure of the Allure

I’ll be back cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas soon for my next vacation. 

But both the Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Epic were in the final mix before the Allure won out. There were pluses and minuses to all three ships, none of which had to do with the itinerary. 

At this point, I’ve done enough Caribbean cruises that in several destinations I don’t bother to get off the ship so it becomes more about the ship’s amenities, shows and food. The Getaway has a distinct edge in food (the noodle bar is great and the variety of choice is tremendous). 

I was last on the Allure in October so it’s the shortest amount of time I’ve returned to a ship without doing a back-to-back.