Once the most popular port in the Baltic, St. Petersburg loses another cruise line due to the situation in Ukraine. Princess Cruises has canceled all calls for its ships for the summer 2022 season to the once-popular cruise port.
The port, which hosted 647,640 cruise ship passengers during more than 250 cruise ship calls in 2019, will likely have no visits this year from international cruise lines.
Princess Cruises Cancels All Russia Port Calls
The number of companies that have decided to stop doing business with Russian ports, businesses, and Russia as a whole is steadily growing. Earlier today, we announced that German cruise operator AIDA canceled all of its calls to the country; now, we can report that Princess Cruises has done the same.
Princess Cruises reported today it has replaced calls to St. Petersburg with a number of different ports in the Baltic. A total of 24 cruises are being modified. The cruise line said in a statement:
Replacement ports will vary by itinerary, including popular destinations such as Stockholm, Sweden (overnight call); Visby, Sweden and Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland. Guests can remain booked on their long-awaited cruises and have the opportunity to visit medieval architecture, world-famous landmarks, and natural beauty on these Northern Europe cruises.
The changes affected three ships, Enchanted Princess, Island Princess, and Sky Princess. Enchanted Princess had eleven cruises scheduled to depart between April and August 2022. Island Princess cruises that have been affected include two nine- or thirty-day sailings scheduled to depart on June 29 and August 28, 2022.
Sky Princess cruises that have been affected include a 28-Day Iceland, Norway & Baltic cruise sailing June 25 and three 14-Day Baltic Heritage cruises departing May 14, June 9, and September 3, 2022.
Guest and Crew Safety Priority
Although cruises to St. Petersburg have been increasingly popular in recent years, with 540,000 passengers in 2017, growing to 647,640 cruise ship passengers in 2019, the current situation seems to be having a significant. Indeed, the cruise lines have taken the stance that they cannot guarantee the safety of guests when visiting ports in Russia.
“The safety and security of guests is the company’s highest priority, and Princess will continue updating impacted guests and travel advisors as more information is available,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.
The cruise line is not alone in this. Many companies have taken the same stance in the last week, following Russia’s brutal attacks on civilians in Ukraine. On February 28, The US State Department issued the highest possible level against travel to Russia:
Do not travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19, and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.
With peace in Eastern Europe seemingly far away, the question is not when cruises will be returning to the Summer Palace and the Hermitage, but instead if they will be returning.