Tag Archives: cruise tourism

CRUISE SHIP LIMITS EXTENDED INDEFINITELY: Svalbard voyages limited to 200 passengers/crew on vessels that don’t dock, 100 that do – with lots of conditions

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Photo by the Port of Longyearbyen

Hopes of a somewhat revived summer season for tourism in Svalbard suffered a setback this week as Norway’s government announced it is extending tough COVID-19 restrictions on coastal cruises indefinitely, although the decision will be reevaluated as the country goes through a phrased reopening planning during the coming weeks and months.

The decision essentially means 1) ships can carry only 200 passengers and crew (at 50 percent or less occupancy) for voyages to Svalbard with no port stops, 2) only 100 passengers and crew are allowed on voyages with port stops (with strict infection control rules), and 3) tour operators regardless of size will need detailed infection control plans approved by The Governor of Svalbard.

BOOZE ON FRIDAY, LOCAL VACCINES FOR ALL IN MAY: Svalbard gets some relief from COVID-19 restrictions as part of government’s ‘normalcy’ plan, even as mainland sees setbacks

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It will again be possible to get a drink as of Friday – until 10 p.m. as long as you’re ordering food – and those inclined to partake in Svalbard may want to toast the fact all adult residents can now schedule appointments for vaccinations, while those on the mainland are facing a delay of up to three months.

SHOT IN SELF DEFENSE: No charges against cruise ship crew that killed polar bear during shore excursion that resulted in heated debate about remote Arctic tourism

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No criminal charges are being sought against cruise ship employees who fatally shot a polar bear that attempted an attack during a shore excursion in north Svalbard in July of 2018, resulting in a heated debate about large-scale tourism in remote Arctic areas, because it was a legitimate case of self defense, The Governor of Svalbard announced Friday.

NORWAY BANS CRUISES TO SVALBARD: Cruises within archipelago with up to 30 people and day trips still permissible under new rule in effect until Nov. 1

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A ban on all cruises to Svalbard until at least Nov. 1 was announced Friday by Norway’s government in an attempt to prevent the COVID-19 virus from reaching one of the few places on Earth with no known cases. Cruises within the archipelago with 30 or fewer people if on-board accommodations are part of the voyage are allowed, as are day trips.

France and other countries added to Norway’s ‘red list’ as of Saturday, may affect only cruise to Svalbard now scheduled

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The map of “red list” Schengen area/EEA countries banned from sending travellers to Norway due to their COVID-19 situations will change on Saturday, with France and the Czech Republic joining others on the list, meaning a voyage by a French company that is the only one still operating expedition cruises in Svalbard may face serious difficulties with a trip scheduled later this month.

COVID-19 cases from Roald Amundsen rises to 53; French luxury ship continuing Svalbard cruises beginning this weekend; trade minister discusses tourism crisis during visit

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All cruise ships with more than 100 people may be banned, but a French company is still planning to dock a “luxury” ship in Longyearbyen this weekend and advertising a subsequent voyage later this month.

Compagnie du Ponant’s Le Boréal, with a capacity for 140 crew and 250 passengers, is the only expedition cruise ship now traveling in the archipelago and is scheduled to arrive at Longyearbyen Harbor on Saturday. Because the voyage started before the new nationwide limit was imposed Monday there are more than 100 people board, but the passengers are being allowed to disembark for their plane trip home because there are no diagnosed COVID-19 cases on the ship, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

COVID-19 outbreak on Roald Amundsen revives global cruising fears; Hurtigurten stops all voyages due to ‘internal procedures’ failures, police and health officials investigating

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The COVID-19 outbreak aboard Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen voyaging in Svalbard the latter of half of  July that as of Monday has infected at least 40 crew and passengers, and put nearly 400 more under quarantine orders, is reviving fears of the virus locally – but spreading even more ill feeling globally about cruise liners resuming their voyages.

Hurtigruten, facing a barrage of hindsight criticism, announced Monday it is halting all expedition sailings until further notice due to “failure in several of our internal procedures.” Norwegian police and health agencies also announced they are investigating the company’s actions.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR TUESDAY: Hurtigruten hopes to resume Svalbard cruises in late June/early July, return of large cruise lines unlikely this year

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While local officials have all but written off this summer’s cruise ship season in terms of large ships, Hurtigruten announced it is hoping to resume sailings along the Norwegian coast and to Svalbard in late June or early July.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR WEDNESDAY: Harbor predicts no big cruise ships and 75% loss of activity for 2020, city asks locals to participate in health survey and more

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This story will be updated throughout the day. Photo of sign next to that “other” bear sign by Baoqing Du.

Svalbard remains free of officially diagnosed coronavirus cases as of late Wednesday morning, but the city is asking residents to complete a Norwegian Institute of Public Health survey  if they suspect they have or had symptoms associasted with the virus, especially during the past seven days.

Longyearbyen Harbormaster Kjetil Bråten said he is expecting no large cruise ships this season since the companies are cancelling itineraries well in advance and a 75 percent drop in total revenue/activity for 2020 if a normal level of traffic returns by fall.

AHOY! FREE NINE-DAY CRUISE-OF-THE-CENTURY NOW DEPARTING: NRK’s ‘Minute-By-Minute’ features non-stop TV/online virtual voyage around archipelago starting Friday

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It offers all of the scenery and none of the risk of being eaten by polar bears. Of course, it also offers none of the fresh air and thrill of actually being on a nine-day cruise ship trip around Svalbard … but it’s free and visitors can embark, disembark and even repeat favorite parts of the voyage as often as they like.