Major Downer for 1600 Fans

Today, I was speaking to a dear friend who lives in Oregon. He travels the Pacific-Northwest a lot for work and, given the closer proximity with us being in Vancouver, we are hoping to work out a visit. We were talking about accommodations in Vancouver and how: a) scarce they are and, b) expensive the few remaining places are. I am lucky that my accommodations are being provided by the Globe and Mail as part of the prize package. Not so lucky, though, are the 1600 people who had booked their accommodations on board the NCL’s Norwegian Star. Yesterday these people learned their accommodations had been cancelled and the ship would be unavailable.

Norwegian Cruise Lines had leased the boat out to Newwest Special Projects for the run of the Olympics. The ship was to sail from Los Angeles to Vancouver, dock for two weeks then sail back to LA. While in Vancouver the boat was to be docked at the Kinder Morgan industrial dock in North Vancouver.

While this is a bad situation for everyone who had booked cabins on the ship, it is nearly heartbreaking to learn thirteen families, being supported through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada by granting Olympic wishes to their ill children, are part of the disappointed group with no place to stay in Vancouver.

Organizers are scrambling to pull together appropriate accommodations and are feeling confident the trips are all still going ahead. One day after these families watched their Olympic dreams crumble, Make-A-Wish foundation organizers say a national outpouring of support might salvage their once-in-a-lifetime experience. “Canadians are a kind and caring people,” said foundation national director Jennifer Ritter. “I’m very confident all the accommodations needs will be met.”

This is a huge bump on the road to helping make some amazing dreams come true. I look forward to hearing all of the positive stories about people in Vancouver reaching out to help those left marooned by the cancellation of the Norwegian Star. Ritter is right when she talks about our kind and caring nature so I really hope this compassion is extended to everyone in need of a place to stay as a result of the cancellation.