Carnival Cruise Line has sent out notices to guests booked on select sailings of Carnival Luminosa and Carnival Splendor that certain shore tours offered in Noumea will not be available due to recent shark attacks in the region.
No onboard credit or other compensation is being offered and while the ships will still make their port of call visit, certain activities are curtailed for guests’ safety.
Shark Attacks Cancel Shore Excursions
A recent spate of shark attacks in the waters off New Caledonia has prompted local authorities to close beaches. This means that many of the shore excursions offering beach breaks and other watersports will be impacted, and Carnival Cruise Line is notifying guests of the risk.
“As you get ready for our visit to Noumea, we have an important update. Unfortunately, due to recent shark attacks, swimming will not be permitted on any of the city’s beaches until further notice,” the email said.
“We know this impacts your plans to enjoy the beach and are sorry for the disappointment. Should you pursue other nautical activities, it would be at your own risk.”
Carnival Cruise Line does offer a variety of non-beach shore tours in Noumea, including the opportunity to tour the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, a scenic drive with wine and cheese tastings, trolley rides, a forest ropes course, and more.
No onboard credit or other compensation is being offered for impacted shore tours, but guests with upcoming sailings can still cancel or change their excursion plans if preferred.
Beaches Closed in Noumea
Several shark attacks have occurred in Noumea already in 2023, including a fatal incident that killed a 59-year-old Australian man off Château-Royal beach, less than three miles from the Port Noumea cruise terminal.
That attack was on Sunday, February 19, and local beaches were immediately closed. A shark culling was also begun to help mitigate the risk of further attacks.
In the same area in late January, a 49-year-old woman suffered injuries from a bull shark, and a surfer was also attacked in the same area on February 4 but was not injured.
The Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File ranks New Caledonia as thirteenth in the world for shark attack incidents. Australia is listed as second and New Zealand is fifth, indicating high numbers of sharks throughout the entire region.
On March 27, 2023, local authorities issued a decree temporarily banning all swimming from the beaches to 300 meters (985 feet) offshore of Noumea, until further notice. The full notice declares the ban in place until December 31, 2023, but it could be adjusted if authorities believe the threat has passed or adequate mitigation measures have been implemented.
“Local authorities are working on installing shark nets to prevent further attacks and this may take several months,” the email from Carnival explained.
The following beaches of Noumea are now closed: Magenta, Sainte-Marie, Château Royal, Anse Vata, Baie des Citrons, Kuendu Beach, Île aux Canards and the Îlot Maître. Other nautical activities, such as surfing, kiteboarding, and paddle boarding, may still take place but are at each individual’s own risk.
Cruising to Noumea
At the moment, only Carnival Luminosa and Carnival Splendor are sailing in the South Pacific, and both ships have itineraries that call on Noumea.
Carnival Luminosa is homeported from Brisbane, while Carnival Splendor is homeported from Sydney. In mid-April, Carnival Luminosa will reposition to Seattle for the summer Alaska sailing season, while Carnival Splendor will remain in Sydney year-round.
Other cruise lines with occasional calls on Noumea include P&O Cruises, Seabourn Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Celebrity Cruises. Guests booked on sailings with those lines should reach out to their cruise line for information about excursion changes as needed.