Carnival Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked on two upcoming sailings of Carnival Splendor with notification of dramatic itinerary changes.

One cruise is having all ports of call changed and adding extra sea days where replacements aren’t possible, and the second sailing is only keeping a single port of call from the original itinerary.

The impacted sailings are the June 11 and June 24 sailings, both departing from Sydney, Australia. These are South Pacific itineraries and both had scheduled visits to Noumea, New Caledonia, which is currently experiencing significant unrest, protests, and even rioting over controversial election reform laws.

Carnival Splendor In Vanuatu (Photo Credit: A.Flassig)

Due to the violence, the island’s international airport has been closed, a nationwide curfew is in effect, and a state of emergency has been declared. The Australian government is urging travelers to “reconsider your need to travel” to New Caledonia, while the US Department of State likewise lists New Caledonia as a Level 3 travel advisory, “Reconsider Travel.”

Carnival Cruise Line has opted to avoid all ports of call in New Caledonia for Carnival Splendor‘s two upcoming cruises, which means multiple ports missed for eager guests.

“As a result of civil unrest in Noumea, it is necessary to revise our itinerary,” the notification emails read. “Everyone’s safety is our priority, and we really have no choice other than to make these changes. We know you were looking forward to the original itinerary we had planned and share your disappointment for this unexpected change.”

The June 11 sailing is a 9-night cruise that had planned to visit Noumea for two stops, which would have given travelers extra time to enjoy the capital city of New Caledonia. Also on the itinerary was Mystery Island in Vanuatu as well as a stop at Lifou Island, New Caledonia.

Read Also: Unrest in Noumea Prompts Cruise Line Alerts, Potential Itinerary Changes

Now, that cruise will not be able to visit any of the original four planned ports. Instead, the ship will visit Vila, Vanuatu on Saturday, June 15 and Santo, Vanuatu on Sunday, June 16. All the rest of the days will be days at sea.

The June 24 cruise is a 10-night sailing that had likewise planned two stops in Noumea as well as Mystery Island and Lifou Island. That voyage will still be visiting Mystery Island on Friday, June 28 (instead of Saturday, June 29 as originally scheduled), but the other port calls have been dropped. Instead, guests will visit Vila on Saturday, June 29 and Santo on Sunday, June 30. All other days are sea days.

Any shore tours purchased through Carnival Cruise Line for the now-cancelled ports will be automatically refunded back to the original form of payment. New ports will have tour options available for purchase online or while onboard from the Carnival Adventures desk, portside on Deck 3 in the Splendor Lobby.

Carnival Cruise Line is also permitting guests to cancel their cruise altogether without fees or penalties if they prefer, and they will receive a 100% future cruise credit. All pre-purchased items – drink packages, spa treatments, specialty dining, etc. – would be fully refunded.

The 113,573-gross-ton Carnival Splendor can welcome 3,012 passengers, and is also home to just over 1,100 international crew members.

At this time, only the two sailings – June 11 and June 24 – are impacted by these changes. Because Carnival Splendor is homeported year-round from Sydney, however, it is possible that additional South Pacific sailings may be similarly adjusted.

Whether or not more cruises have visits to New Caledonia removed will depend on if the violence subsides and the destination is deemed safe for tourists once more. Guests booked on upcoming sailings should stay in close contact with Carnival Cruise Line in case of further updates or itinerary changes.

Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: FiledIMAGE / Shutterstock)

Cruise lines always keep the safety of guests and crew members as the first priority, and it is not unheard of for port visits to be cancelled due to local instability.

For example, Royal Caribbean International has cancelled all visits to their private destination of Labadee, Haiti at least through September 2024 due to regional unrest in that troubled nation.

Similarly, many cruise lines have adjusted itineraries through the Red Sea due to widespread regional violence that makes sailing through the Suez Canal inadvisable at this time. This caused Virgin Voyages to cancel the entire Australia season for Resilient Lady, as there is no practical way for the ship to reach the region with the Red Sea not a safe option.

It should be noted that cruise lines are able to change itineraries for such reasons with no obligation to provide compensation to guests. Most lines, however, will offer some remuneration for dramatic alterations as a gesture of goodwill for guests’ disappointment.

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