While the news of a Russian invasion into Ukraine makes global headlines, the ripple effects will continue to impact everything in the region — even cruises.
Expedition cruise line Atlas Ocean Voyages announced today it is adjusting two of its itineraries in the Baltic area for summer 2022. This includes trips in August and September aboard World Navigator.
The cruise line is dropping stops in St. Petersburg, Russia, instead making calls on ports at Kotka and Mariehamn, Finland as well as Saaremaa, Estonia.
“Atlas Ocean Voyages’ top priority is the safety and comfort of our guests and crew,” said Alberto Aliberti, President of Atlas Ocean Voyages, via a press release. “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.”
While St. Petersburg is hundreds of miles away from the current situation, the idea of visiting a country that has invaded its neighbor may not be palatable, not to mention the potential dangers.
But Atlas Ocean Voyages is not the only cruise line looking at possible changes to its itineraries.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Also Comments on Possible Changes
During an investor call earlier today, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings executives spoke about the situation and the potential to have to change some of their summer trips as well.
“We are following the situation carefully as it impacts our voyages in the area. We have no vessels in the region until late May and we will be updating guests on our plans and about affected itineraries as needed,” CEO Frank Del Rio said.
All told, the company says it has about 5% of its total capacity that visits St. Petersburg, which Chief Financial Officer Mark Kempa called a “premier port.”
Even so, Norwegian is already looking into potential changes given the situation.
“All in all, it’s about 50 sailings and you know we’re looking at alternative ports as we speak,” said Kempa. “You know this is something we’ve been thinking about. Worst case scenario, if we’re not able to call on St. Petersburg or the surrounding areas, there’s plenty of other ports in that Scandinavian region that we have the ability to call on.”
For now it’s impossible to tell what will happen with other cruises during the busy summer season regarding stops in the region. However, if you are on a cruise visiting St. Petersburg or other nearby ports of call, then it sounds like you should be prepared for the possibility of a change.