Ship sail

Holland America Line cruise ship suffers from propulsion issues

A cruise ship sailing for Seattle-based Holland America Line experienced technical issues with its Azipod propulsion system while on a cruise in Alaska. The Westerdamwhich was only returned to service on June 12, will miss several ports due to issues affecting the ship’s top speed.

Holland America Line informed passengers on board of the changes on July 15 and offered all passengers compensation in the form of onboard credit.

Azipod propulsion issues for Westerdam

On a cruise to Alaska aboard Holland America Line Westerdam, which left Seattle on July 10, the ship suffered damage to its Azipod propulsion system. The problems arose while the vessel was cruising through the Hubbard Glacier area.

Before returning to Seattle, the cruise was to call at Juneau, Hubbard Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, BC. However, due to technical difficulties with the vessel, calls to Ketchikan and Victoria were both cancelled. The Vista-class cruise ship will only make a one-hour technical stop for immigration purposes.

Photo credit: Ungnoi Lookjeab / Shutterstock

The calls were canceled because the ship is unable to sail at full speed, according to the letter guests received on board:

“Thank you for your patience while we manage the technical issue with our Azipod propulsion system. While this does not affect the safety of our guests or our team members, which is our top priority, it has limited our ability to run at full speed.

“Because of this, we will not be able to travel to Ketchikan, Alaska on Friday July 15th or Victoria, BC on Saturday July 16th. We will make a brief service call to Victoria on Saturday evening to complete customs clearance. Our layover in Victoria is expected to take about an hour, and no guests or crew will be allowed ashore.

To compensate customers for the disappointing experience of missing Ketchikan and Victoria, Holland America Line is offering customers compensation. Each guest on board will receive a $100 onboard credit and Holland America Line will refund any payments made for shore excursions at either port.

Holland America Westerdam
Photo Credit: The Sailor 4291 / Shutterstock

“As a sign of concern for your experience and gratitude for your understanding, each guest will receive $100.00 as a non-refundable onboard credit applied to your onboard account.”

Westerdam is scheduled to return to its homeport of Seattle, Washington on July 17. The cruise line has not made any announcements or informed future guests of any changes to the July 17 sailing at this time.

Westerdam resumed operations on June 12

After not sailing for more than 2½ years, the 81,811 gross tonnage, 1,964 passenger Westerdam finally resumed service on June 12 from Seattle. She was the last ship in the fleet to resume operations for Holland America Line.

Westerdam is also the second ship of Carnival Corporation, which has suffered technical difficulties after the long period of detention.

cruise ship ms westerdam
Photo Credit: The Sailor 2392 /

It’s been a rocky season so far in Alaska. In addition to technical issues with the Azipod propulsion system on board Westerdam, several other ships have also experienced technical difficulties this year.

May’s beginning, crown princess resumed service with her first cruise since the global operations hiatus. However, the ship was plagued by several issues that affected cruises between April and July. These problems also stemmed from technical issues with its engines and top speed.

Of course, there was also the iceberg that the Norwegian sun hit, also at the Hubbard Glacier. Although the ship suffered only minor damage and the hull did not suffer a breach, repairs took a long time, with several canceled trips.

Holland America Westerdam cruise ship