This altered image shows a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship making its way through the Panama Canal. (Flickr/Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn))

B.C. family’s Panama Canal cruise turned into construction zone

Cecilia Jenkins said a major construction project began moments after leaving a dock in Miami

The noise of pounding jackhammers and the smell of sickening fumes are the unwanted memories of a spring-break cruise through the Panama Canal for a suburban Victoria woman and her family.

Cecilia Jenkins said a major construction project began moments after the Norwegian Cruise Lines vessel left a dock in Miami, and the raucous lasted the entire voyage.

Jenkins is one of dozens of passengers who were aboard the Norwegian Sun and are now publicly criticizing the company for launching the work on a vessel loaded with passengers.

Grinding, jack hammering,” she said Tuesday. “Lots of noise. Lots of dust. But also the application of lots of chemicals.”

Jenkins said she hasn’t stopped coughing since the voyage ended on March 31 in Los Angeles. She said it could be a cold, but she’s been to her doctor for tests, including a chest X-ray.

“I obviously inhaled a whole bunch of stuff,” Jenkins said. “I have some lingering issues from it.”

She said at one point during the voyage she almost collapsed after inhaling unknown fumes.

Repairs on several of the vessel’s decks and running track started almost immediately and involved grinding and jack hammering the surfaces to which chemicals were applied, Jenkins said.

“I don’t think you should be doing any of this on a vacation, especially without telling us.”

Jenkins said she felt most comfortable when she left the vessel to explore stops in Central America and Mexico. But concerns about health and safety returned when she got back on the ship, she said.

Norwegian Cruise Lines was not immediately available for comment. Jenkins and others say passengers were offered a 25 per cent discount on another cruise if they take it within the next year.

“One day during the cruise, on our beds, they had left a letter saying that as a result of their enhancement work they were doing they were going to offer us 25 per cent off of the base cruise fair we paid towards a future cruise to be used by next March,” she said.

Jenkins said her teenage daughter and husband were on the cruise with her, and it cost an estimated $10,000. Her father-in-law and his friend also took the voyage.

The Norwegian Sun arrived Tuesday at the Victoria Shipyards for a refit before resuming its service later this month.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach council big on support for multi-use cinema proposal

Society asks for 10,000 square feet, gets recommendation to consider with strategic plan

Lincoln stolen from Parksville dealership found near Duncan

Vehicle was located three days later with minor damage

Ballenas student experiment going into space

Science experiment designed by five SD69 students will travel to International Space Station

Fire engulfs trailer, vehicle and home in Bowser

The fire began around 6:45 p.m. at a property on Laurel Crescent

Have a heart for a cause in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Stained glass artist selling hearts for the homeless for what might be the last time

Giant rotating ice disk forms in Maine river

Ice disk that is roughly 100 yards wide has formed in the Presumpscot River

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

North Cowichan will host national rowing centre starting October 2020

Saanich’s bid for national rowing centre at Elk Lake sunk

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

SUV wedged on top of car in B.C. mall parking lot has customers confused

The accident occurred Tuesday, no injuries were reported

Tom Lavin and the Powder Blues Band among acts to perform at Comox Valley’s Winterfest

Participating hotels offering half-price “ski & stay” packages

May government faces no-confidence vote after Brexit defeat

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would stay put in her leadership role

Most Read