Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled its scheduled ports of Russia for 2022 and 2023 after the Norwegian government passed a law this week prohibiting cruise ships from docking in some Russian cities. This is due to worsening relations between Norway and Russia, including their military actions in Ukraine.
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that they will be cancelling their ports in Russia for 2022. The cruise line’s president says it was a difficult decision to make, but the company needs to focus on its North American operations. Read more in detail here: norwegian cruise line news.
As tensions in Eastern Europe have risen in recent days, culminating in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 23, cruise companies have been keeping a careful eye on the situation, considering schedule alterations and port cancellations. For the rest of 2022, Norwegian Cruise Company has become the first major cruise line to discontinue all stops to St. Petersburg, Russia.
The port of call in Russia has been canceled.
Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled all port of call trips to St. Petersburg, Russia, for the remainder of 2022, according to an email sent to booked customers and travel advisers. The popular port of call is located in northeastern Russia on the Baltic Sea, and it is often included on cruises to northern Europe and Scandinavia.
“The health, safety, and security of our passengers, crew, and the communities we visit is our first concern,” the email reads. We have decided to change itineraries and exclude visits to St. Petersburg, Russia from our sailings for the rest of the year due to the escalating situation between Russia and Ukraine.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock/lazyllama
Guests who have already booked and paid for St. Petersburg beach trips will have their money immediately canceled and reimbursed to the original source of payment. Refunds may take up to 30 days to complete due to the high amount of adjustments that must be handled.
In the following months, this adjustment will effect a number of sailings, including those on the Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Prima, and other ships. Sailings that have been impacted have already been updated on Norwegian Cruise Line’s website.
While St. Petersburg has been removed from itineraries for the time being, other ports of call have yet to be replaced, but Norwegian Cruise Line is working on it. “Our team is working tirelessly to confirm substitute ports and will contact all affected customers and travel advisers as soon as possible,” the email said.
The First (but certainly not the Last) Cruise Line to Cancel
While Norwegian Cruise Line was the first to declare that ports of call in Russia would be canceled, other cruise companies are following suit.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, both owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, have similarly confirmed that Russian and Ukrainian ports of call would be eliminated from their 2022 itineraries.
St. Petersburg, Russia, cruise ships (Photo credit: Shutterstock/Stanislav Samoylik)
Other major cruise lines are also watching the situation closely. Earlier today, even before Norwegian’s announcement, Cunard Line and P&O Cruises UK released identical statements through their official social media accounts:
“In view of the present situation in Ukraine, we will continue to constantly monitor the situation and, if required, adjust itineraries in accordance with guidelines.” Compliance, environmental protection, and the health, safety, and well-being of our passengers, crew members, shoreside staff, and the people in the areas we touch are our top priorities, and we will notify guests as soon as possible of any changes.”
Read more about the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the cruise industry.
Other cruise lines that visit the area on a regular basis will certainly issue similar statements or make changes to their itineraries if the situation develops. River cruise operators in the area may also need to change their schedules.
Why Should You Cancel?
While St. Petersburg is more than 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) from Ukraine and the reports of violence, Norwegian Cruise Line’s decision is primarily about safety, as it is impossible to predict how the violence in the region will spread, or whether other communities will see riots or other reactions that endanger visitors.
Removing cruise ship ports of call is also a strategy to have an economic effect on the area, and it corresponds to the economic restrictions that many other countries have imposed on Russia.
Norwegian Cruise Line also has more time and flexibility to adapt itineraries and make other arrangements by making this choice sooner rather than later, when other area ports of call become completely booked and unable to accommodate another visiting ship.
St. Petersburg, Russia, cruise ship (Photo credit: Viktor Karasev / Shutterstock)
Many cruise passengers will be upset that they will not be able to visit St. Petersburg at this time, since the port is a genuine jewel of northern Europe and a much-anticipated destination for many. Due to Russian laws, cruise ships often spend the night in St. Petersburg, providing passengers plenty of time to see the city.
That time will now be spent either at sea, taking in the breathtaking landscape of the area, or visiting other ports of call to learn more about their cultures and history. While no decisions have been made on which ports will replace St. Petersburg, adjacent candidates include ports in Sweden, Finland, Poland, and other surrounding countries.
This is a very sensitive and painful situation, and Cruise Hive sends its condolences to everyone affected by the violence, particularly the hundreds of Ukrainian crew members on cruise ships throughout the globe who may be unable to contact their family at this time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Viking still cruising to Russia?
A: No, Viking has been scrapped from the game.
Can cruise ships go to Russia?
A: Originally, cruise ships cannot go to Russia since it is not a country.
Is Norwegian Cancelling more cruises?
A: In Norway, cancelling a cruise can be done by sending in a written request to the travel company that you are booked with.
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