As regional tensions continue to be a concern for travelers and tourists, Celebrity Cruises has decided to remove calls to St. Petersburg, Russia, from its 2023 Baltic sailing itineraries.
A total of eight cruises are impacted, aboard two ships planned to be sailing in the region during the spring and summer of 2023.
St. Petersburg Removed From Sailings
In an email sent to travel partners, Celebrity Cruises has announced removing St. Petersburg from itineraries next year.
The email reads, “Due to the ongoing uncertainty around our ability to call on St. Petersburg next year, we have made the decision to remove this port from all of our 2023 itineraries.”
St. Petersburg is often considered the jewel of Baltic itineraries, and is a bucket-list destination for many travelers. Cruising makes it easy to visit the spectacular city, but cruise lines always keep the safety of their passengers and crew members as the top priority. Because of regional tensions and the ongoing conflict, the cruise line believes it best to alter itineraries in 2023.
Two Celebrity Cruises vessels are impacted by this change – the 122,210-gross ton, Solstice-class Celebrity Silhouette and the 130,818-gross ton, Edge-class Celebrity Apex.
Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com
Both ships will have four itineraries changed to remove St. Petersburg. The cruises are not being canceled, and the cruise line is working to provide an alternative port of call for travelers to enjoy.
The affected cruises include:
- Celebrity Silhouette – May 13, June 5, July 1, and July 24 departures
- Celebrity Apex – May 25, June 25, July 19, and August 21 departures
If travelers prefer to cancel their 2023 cruises, they will receive a full refund of all monies paid, including non-refundable fees, but they must request the refund no later than July 19, 2022.
Booked passengers can also choose to change their ship and sailing date to a different voyage, with all change fees waived. Guests will be responsible for differences in cruise rates, however.
As the impacted sailings are not canceled, guests can still remain on Celebrity Silhouette or Celebrity Apex to enjoy amazing ports of call, even if one of them will not be St. Petersburg. Depending on the sailing, the ships will still be visiting outstanding destinations like Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, and more.
Early Itinerary Changes
By making these changes a year in advance, Celebrity Cruises is giving prospected passengers plenty of time to alter their travel plans and still have excellent options to choose from, including other Celebrity Cruises sailings in Europe.
Photo Credit: NAPA / Shutterstock
It is not unusual for cruise lines to continue refining ship itineraries a year or more before departure, especially in popular areas where many ships may be creating crowded ports, or where crime rates, civil disturbances, or other conflicts could pose safety concerns for visitors.
When tensions first began in the Baltic region earlier this year, many cruise lines opted to cancel calls to St. Petersburg for 2022. As the situation has continued to unfold, cruise lines are constantly monitoring the area and how future travel may be impacted.
Along with Celebrity Cruises’ decision, Norwegian Cruise Line has also canceled it Baltic sailings for 2023. While only one Norwegian ship – Norwegian Getaway – is impacted, the cruise line has decided to keep the vessel in the Caribbean rather than plan any northern European sailings next year.
If the situation remains unresolved, it is likely that other cruise lines will follow suit and either change itineraries or cancel sailings in 2023.
Passengers hoping to travel to the region should stay in close communication with their cruise line about updates to their travel plans, and alternative options in case their cruises are impacted.