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Latest updates on Russia-Ukraine cruise changes in Baltic and Black Sea

MedCruise President Figen Ayan 'hoping and praying for peace to be restored and the war to be over the soonest'
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines altered its Baltic itinerary to steer clear of Russia and Saga Cruises dropped Odessa, Ukraine, while MedCruise expressed the hope for peace and Cruise Baltic cited the situation's fluidity.

Fred. Olsen swaps Russia for Sweden 

Peter Deer, MD, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines told Seatrade Cruise News the line has amended its itinerary, replacing Russia with Sweden. ‘The safety of our guests and crew is always our number one priority, and we are monitoring the situation in Russia and Ukraine very closely,’ he said. ‘Our first cruise calling into either of these nations was due to be in May aboard our ship Balmoral and we have already taken the decision to revise this itinerary.'

Rather than visiting St. Petersburg as planned, travelers will now call Stockholm and Visby in Sweden.

Saga drops Odessa 

Saga also confirmed it is reviewing plans for visiting Russia having pulled its port call at Odessa. ‘Following the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s change to travel advice for Ukraine, we altered our forthcoming cruise to the Black Sea which was due to call at Odessa,’ said a spokesperson for the line, noting the rest of the cruise in May is unaffected.

They added, ‘We are now looking at the impact of the latest developments on our Baltic cruises later this year, which were due to call at St. Petersburg. We will continue to monitor the situation and if necessary make further alterations to our itineraries …’ 

Affected Saga and Fred. Olsen passengers are being notified.

‘Hoping and praying’ 

The message from Figen Ayan, president of MedCruise and chief port officer at Galataport Istanbul, was that the association is ‘hoping and praying for peace to be restored and the war to be over the soonest.’ 

She stated, ‘We are in touch with the executives of the Port of Odessa and we are in close contact with our Black Sea members, too, to relay the message that the MedCruise family is there for them in case of need.’

She went on to add, ‘Our priority is to make sure that our friends in Ukraine and the Black Sea region are safe and secure’ and said MedCruise’s ‘prayers and thoughts’ are with them. 

Fluid situation

Claus Bødker, director, Cruise Baltic and CruiseCopenhagen told Seatrade, ‘First of all, Cruise Baltic is deeply concerned with the many Ukrainian victims who are fighting the Russian invasion. Our hearts go to everyone in Ukraine suffering from this aggression.’ 

While acknowledging that several cruise lines appear to be sticking with their Baltic cruises but avoiding St. Petersburg, he noted, ‘The situation can, however, change very rapidly and what seems to be the case today, may be totally different tomorrow.’ 

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