Norwegian Sun cruise ship docks in Juneau after hitting iceberg

A passenger aboard the Norwegian Sun in Juneau on Monday, June 27, 2022. The ship skipped Skagway after it hit an iceberg while transiting Hubbard Glacier. (Photo by Jennifer Pemberton/KTOO)

Coast Guard divers in Juneau assessed damage to the 2,000-passenger cruise ship Norwegian Sun on Monday.

The Norwegian Cruise Lines ship hit an iceberg near Hubbard Glacier on Saturday. A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Lines said the ship was “engulfed by dense fog, limiting visibility,” and that’s the reason it hit what the cruise line is calling a “growler” — a small iceberg about the size of a grand piano.

But passenger Jason Newman of Atlanta, Georgia, says the fog had cleared when he felt the impact.

“The ship had a severe judder,” he said “You could feel the strike. And then it listed minorly.”

Newman said the ship limped out of the bay and all the way to Juneau at 10 mph — he tracked their speed using a phone app. The ship skipped its scheduled Skagway stop on Sunday and reached Juneau on Sunday night at around 5 p.m.

He said passengers did not hear from the captain until 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning, when he confirmed the ship had struck an iceberg.

Open water dotted with floating ice
A photo taken from the Norwegian Sun by a passenger around the time the cruise ship struck an iceberg near Hubbard Glacier on June 25, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Jason Newman)

Newman says passengers were allowed a five-hour shore leave Sunday night in Juneau but were confined to the ship on Monday.

“They told us they couldn’t get the authority to approve us to leave the ship,” he said.

Newman said the cruise line had canceled the entire day of tours for everybody on board by 10 a.m. He had planned a jeep tour in the morning.

“I’m sure that all the tour operators lost revenue,” he said.

The cruise ship was moored at Franklin Street Dock in Juneau until Monday afternoon when it left port. It skipped port calls in Ketchikan and Victoria and headed back to Seattle directly for repairs, according to a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line. The U.S. Coast Guard and other maritime authorities gave it clearance to sail.

The cruise line did not reveal the extent of the damage, but the Norwegian Sun’s next cruise—set to embark on June 30th—is canceled.

Passengers say the cruise line has offered full refunds on the cruise and credits on a future sailing.

This story has been updated to reflect that the ship left Juneau Monday afternoon and cut its itinerary short to head back to Seattle for repairs.

Claire Stremple

Alaska News Reporter

I believe every Alaskan has a right to timely information about their health and health systems, and their natural environment and its management. My goal is to report thoughtful stories that inform, inspire and quench the curiosity of listeners across the state.

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