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

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Shag Creek area under evacuation order, area expanded

93 properties are being told to evacuate immediately

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at Victoria’s CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

Most Read