Cruise Lines Cancel Stops in Russia Amid Invasion of Ukraine
Several cruise lines have removed stops in Russia and around the region from their itineraries amid the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.
In a broad move, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Oceania Cruises — which are all part of parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings — have each canceled stops in St. Petersburg, the cruise lines shared with Travel+Leisure. Guests on Regent Seven Seas, for example, who were slated to board cruises that stopped in the Russian city received a memo explaining the itinerary change.
"Due to the escalated situation between Russia and Ukraine we have made the decision to modify the course of your upcoming voyage and will be removing St. Petersburg, Russia from the itinerary," the cruise line wrote in a letter to guests shared with T+L. "We are currently working to confirm a revised itinerary and will provide updates once we have more information."
Representatives for Norwegian Cruise Line and Oceania Cruises told T+L the companies were also working to confirm replacement ports for St. Petersburg.
"The safety and security of our guests, crew, and communities we visit is our top priority," the Norwegian spokesperson said.
In total, about 50 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings company sailings anchor in St. Petersburg over the summer, Reuters reported.
"It is disappointing because St. Petersburg is one of the crown jewels of the Scandinavia itineraries. But certainly, there are alternatives," Chief Executive Officer Frank Del Rio said on a post-earnings call, according to the wire service.
Similarly, Viking Cruises canceled all 2022 departures on its Kyiv, Black Sea, and Bucharest itinerary.
"Given recent events and the developing conflict in Ukraine, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all 2022 departures of our Kiev, Black Sea & Bucharest itinerary," a representative for the cruise line confirmed to T+L. "Guests and their travel advisors on impacted departures have been notified directly by Viking Customer Relations."
Atlas Ocean Voyages has also dropped St. Petersburg from its trips, and instead added stops in Kotka and Mariehamn in Finland as well as a stop in Saaremaa, Estonia, the cruise line shared with T+L.
"Atlas Ocean Voyages' top priority is the safety and comfort of our guests and crew," Alberto Aliberti, the president of Atlas Ocean Voyages, said in a statement provided to T+L. "With unrest in Eastern Europe, we have adjusted our voyages and replaced our Russia calls with equally exciting and charming destinations in Finland and Estonia. Guests will enjoy these unique and rarely visited destinations and immersive shore excursions to take in the rich cultures and breathtaking vistas of the Baltic."
Russia first started its invasion of Ukraine early Thursday with a series of missile strikes, The Associated Press reported. By Friday, Russian troops were bearing down on Ukraine's capital of Kyiv.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.