In the face of safety concerns due to protests, Regal Princess cancelled its scheduled visit to Portland in the UK. The ship was scheduled to dock at the island as part of a 12-day voyage around the British Isles, which started from Southampton, UK.
The day in Portland was replaced with a day at sea. The safety concerns were due to protests against the arrival of refugees and another group launching a counter-protest.
Regal Princess Forced to Change Itinerary
Guests onboard Regal Princess were denied their tour to see the iconic Stonehenge in the UK on Saturday, July 8. Princess Cruises was forced to cancel the call to Portland after protests were announced in the port area.
The protests in Portland concerned the UK government’s intention to accommodate 500 asylum seekers on a barge at Portland Port and a separate group announcing a counter-protest in favor of helping the asylum seekers.
To safeguard the well-being of its guests and crew, Princess Cruises, together with local authorities, deemed the situation potentially risky, leading to the cancellation.
According to the Daily Echo, a spokesperson from Princess Cruises said the following: “Due to protests anticipated in Portland, UK, on Saturday, July 8, Regal Princess will bypass its scheduled call there and spend the day at sea instead. The decision was made in the interest of the safety and security of our guests and crew following our security team’s consultation with local authorities.”
“The remainder of the Regal Princess’ itinerary for the 12-night British Isles voyage that departed Southampton on Friday, July 7, will not be affected. We regret any disappointment this unexpected itinerary change may cause our guests.”
Despite the disruption to the itinerary, the Royal-class Regal Princess continued its voyage, arriving in Cork, Ireland, on Monday, July 10.
The ship’s further itinerary also includes visits to Dublin, Ireland; Glasgow, Scotland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Invergordon, Scotland; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Le Havre, France, before it makes its way back to Southampton on July 19.
The 142,229 gross tons Regal Princess will sail a series of 12-day and 10-day cruises around the UK and Ireland through October 9, 2023.
After her summer season sailing around the United Kingdom, Regal Princess will sail from Southampton to the United States, with ports of call that include Le Havre in France, Bilbao and La Coruna in Spain, Lisbon in Portugal, and Ponta Delgada in the Azores, before finally docking at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on October 24.
Following a 10-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale, the Royal-class ship will reposition to Galveston, Texas, for its winter Caribbean season. The itinerary includes 7-day cruises to the Western Caribbean with visits to Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize.
Regal Princess, launched in 2014 by the original cast of The Love Boat, has space for 3,560 guests at double occupancy and 4,098 guests at full capacity.
At this time, it is unclear whether other cruise ships will feel the effects of the protests in Portland, which only recently opened its new deep-water port.
Only two ships are scheduled to sail to the island through the end of July. Norwegian Dawn will visit the port on July 11, July 26, and July 28. Mein Schiff 3 will visit the port on July 31.