As Russia’s invasion and attack on Ukraine continues to unfold, another major cruise brand has canceled all port calls to Saint Petersburg for the rest of the year.
Royal Caribbean Group, which Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises are part of, announced that it will not be calling on the Russian port in 2022.
In a statement on Royal Caribbean International’s itinerary updates webpage, the line said “The safety of our guests and crew is always our top priority. We are continuously monitoring events taking place around the world, including the situation in Ukraine. With the recent events, we have made the decision to cancel our visits to St. Petersburg, Russia on all Summer 2022 itineraries. We have planned alternative ports and will communicate itinerary changes to our guests and travel partners.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Royal Caribbean International president Michael Bayley posted an update on his Facebook page concerning its Russian and Ukrainian crew members:
“Latest update on crew related issue for our Ukrainian and Russian crew. All foreign crew are typically granted a visa and entered into the USA as seafarers and are processed and given a I95 form ! Kind of like a permission slip to go ashore in USA ports. Our latest information to be confirmed, is CBP (U.S. Government agency) has stopped shore leave and repatriation for all Ukrainian and Russian crew. This impacts all seafarers. We are working with our Government relations team and industry to see if this can be relaxed. They are free to come and go in all other non USA ports (so far).”
Previously, Bayley had posted that the line has over 500 Ukrainian crew members currently on its ships, and that it had opened all communication channels so that they could contact their families back home.
He also said that the company has offered assistance in getting them home or close to home if they want to leave their ship, and has expedited any Ukrainian crew who want to join the ship sooner than scheduled. As well, counseling has been made available to them.
The line’s over 200 Russian crew members have been offered the same support.
Combined, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises were scheduled to operate 20 voyages that visited Saint Petersburg this summer.
For a list of which cruise lines have dropped Russian and Ukrainian port calls this year, head to this article: Cruise Lines Cancel Russia Port Stops, Look For Alternative Destinations.