Cruise lines cut calls to Russia and adjust sailings

As tensions and fighting continue following Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, more cruise lines are withdrawing St. Petersburg, Odessa and other ports of call in Russia and in Ukraine of their routes and adapt the crossings to new routes.

Other major companies, including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, continue to monitor the situation and will make adjustments as necessary.

More cruise lines cut Russian ports

Although no cruise port has been immediately affected by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict at this time, cruise lines are not taking any risks to ensure the safety of passengers and crew members.

Atlas Ocean Voyages, a small line of ships offering “luxury adventure” expedition cruises to elite destinations, was the first line to cancel calls to St. Petersburg. Shortly thereafter, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced the cancellation of Russian ports for its three cruise lines – Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

While Atlas Ocean Voyages had only two scheduled stops in Russia in 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ combined voyages mean around 50 stops will no longer occur as the company has canceled all Russian stops for the remainder. of the year.

Other cruise lines that have already announced the cancellation of Russian calls include Viking Cruises, SAGA Cruises and Windstar Cruises.

Cruise ships in Saint Petersburg, Russia (Photo credit: Stanislav Samoylik / Shutterstock)

Each cruise line has released similar statements on the cancellations, noting that other ports are under review and affected travelers will be contacted as more information becomes known. Above all, all cruise lines emphasize safety.

“We are currently working to confirm replacement ports and will remain in close contact with our partners in the region,” said Christopher Prelog, president of Windstar Cruises. “We prioritize safety above all else and will be monitoring this situation very closely, modifying routes as necessary.”

“We are currently evaluating itineraries that will stop in Russia in 2022, which will require modifications,” a Viking statement read. “When necessary changes are made, Viking Customer Relations will notify all affected customers and their travel advisors.”

Also read: How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is impacting the cruise industry

A number of different routes are affected, including crossings labeled as Baltic Explorations, Northern European Routes, Black Sea Crossings, Russian Highlights and similar titles. Some world cruises are also adjusted, replacing alternative ports.

Monitoring other cruise lines

Not all cruise lines are immediately canceling calls to Russia and Ukraine, but they are monitoring the situation and will make any necessary adjustments. This includes Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line.

Lines that have not yet canceled calls to Russia may not have scheduled stops in the country for several weeks or months, and therefore have some time to monitor the region before making a decision. It is unclear at this time how long the conflict could last, how the violence could spread or how port communities could be affected.

Cruise ships in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Photo credit: Artem Yampolcev / Shutterstock

All cruise lines stay in contact with booked passengers to communicate any changes as soon as possible. A email sent to Royal Caribbean passengers booked on a Russian crossing said:

“Right now, our intention is to sail to St. Petersburg; however, we have secured alternate ports, should we feel changing our itinerary is the best way forward. You and your travel consultant will be the first to know if we decide to officially change our itinerary.

If cruises cannot call in Russia, nearby ports in Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Poland and other countries are possible alternatives, depending on port schedules, ship routes, capacity docks and other factors.

Passengers booked on itineraries that stop in or near Russia or Ukraine should stay in close communication with their travel advisor or cruise line for updates. Watching official cruise line social media accounts, website travel advisories, and email notifications can help keep travelers informed of itinerary changes.

Saint Petersburg, Russia