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

Silly boats make a splash on Nanaimo seas

Superette wins Nanaimo’s Silly Boat Regatta community fundraising event

Nanaimo lacrosse goalie scores two goals in one game

Charles Claxton leads senior A Timbermen to their fourth straight win

Redliners park their rides for charity car show in Nanaimo

The Redliners Charity Car Show continues until 3 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at Country Club Centre

Florist announces bid for Nanaimo city council

Jim Turley, former owner of Turley’s Florist, intends to run in fall election

St. Andrew’s United Church celebrates 125th anniversary

Church on Fitzwilliam Street in Nanaimo to hold event July 18 to recognize milestone

VIDEO: Winners announced for Parksville sand sculpting competition

See the sculptures as they progress through the competition at Parksville Community Park

VIDEO: Firefighters putting out brush fire in East Wellington

Fire is in the area of a new development under construction near Shady Mile Way

Motorcyclist dies as fire, crash happen at the same time on Nanaimo Parkway

Young male motorcycle rider collides with one vehicle, then struck by another

Development permit approved for condo project near Millstone River

Six-storey building planned for Barsby Avenue

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Driver angry after accident at north Nanaimo intersection

One patient taken to hospital after crash Friday at Enterprise Way and the old Island Highway

Most Read