A Norwegian Cruise Line ship hit a small iceberg over the weekend, the cruise line said Monday.
A spokesperson the cruise told USA TODAY in an email that on Saturday “while transiting to Hubbard Glacier in Alaska, Norwegian Sun was engulfed by dense fog, limiting visibility and resulting in the ship making contact with a growler.”
A growler is an iceberg that has less than 3.3 feet showing above the water, and that is under 6.6 feet across, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
“The ship remains fully operational and is currently in Juneau, Alaska for assessment,” the spokesperson added. “Additional information will be provided as appropriate.” They did not say whether any passengers or crew members had been injured.
Cruise Hive first reported the news, noting that the ship skipped its Skagway port of call to head to Juneau. The cruise line did not respond to further requests for comment about whether it changed course.
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Stewart Chiron, a cruise industry expert known as The Cruise Guy, said that this kind of incident is “extraordinarily rare.”
“The ships take extraordinary caution to avoid (icebergs),” he said.
Chiron noted that ice does regularly fall from glaciers and float in the water, saying, “It’s kind of like a car driving down the street and there’s a tire in the road or a piece of road debris and you hit it.”
As ships get closer to glaciers, he said, the number of growlers increases.
“Sometimes they bump them, and you know, no big deal,” Chiron said, noting that it is rare, however, for a cruise line to amend its plans to check for damage.
As for whether prospective passengers should be concerned by the news, Chiron said, “The answer is no.”
Norwegian previously canceled another cruise mid-sailing in March after the ship collided with the channel bed in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. The cruise line said in a statement at the time that “while there is minor damage to the ship’s hull, all guests and crew are safe. The current cruise will be shortened, and the cruise scheduled to embark on March 19 will be canceled so that the necessary repairs can be made.”
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