Guests aboard Princess Cruises’ Island Princess will not be visiting Stavanger, Norway as planned on the ship’s current sailing, due to poor weather in the region.

A replacement port of call has been arranged, however, with the goal of preserving the Northern Lights experience of the very special sailing.

Island Princess, which is currently sailing a 14-night “Search for the Northern Lights” cruise from Southampton to various ports in Norway, is expected to encounter rough weather along the way. Guests on board have been notified that the very first port of call – Stavanger – must be cancelled for safety reasons.

“A large weather system is forming in the Norwegian Sea and is forecast to create high winds and heavy seas along our scheduled route,” the letter delivered to guests’ staterooms explained. “As the safety of our guests and crew is always the highest priority, and in order to protect the Northern Lights experience, we have made the necessary decision to cancel our call to Stavanger.”

Stavanger was to have been the first call on the itinerary, initially planned for Friday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Instead, the ship will now visit Trondheim, Norway on Saturday, October 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday will be a day at sea instead.

Photo Credit: Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock

This will permit the ship to speed up and head north more quickly, ahead of the worst predicted weather.

On Friday when Island Princess was to have been in Stavanger, the weather forecast calls for an 85-90% chance of rain, with winds from 16-25 miles per hour (26-40 kilometers per hour), conditions which can make navigation challenging and may cancel many shore tour opportunities.

The letter does note that “we may still experience some rough seas on our passage” but the change will make for smoother overall cruising. Guests should be cautious when moving around the ship in case of unexpected motions.

Because of the cancellation, all Princess shore tours booked for Stavanger are being automatically cancelled and refunded to guests’ onboard accounts. Meanwhile, the Shore Excursions team is putting together options for Trondheim that can be booked through the Shore Excursions Desk on Deck 8 portside or through the MedallionClass app.

It is always disappointing for cruise guests to lose an expected port of call, but Princess Cruises is dedicated to preserving “the Northern Lights experience” that is a highlight of this sailing.

While viewing the Northern Lights – the aurora borealis caused by solar winds creating colorful magnetosphere disturbances – is never guaranteed, the opportunity to see these magnificent displays is a bucket list experience for many travelers.

Northern Lights in Norway (Photo Credit: Eric Kilby / Flickr)

Northern Lights experiences can be particularly spectacular on cruise ships, far from any cities, towns, or villages and light pollution that might dilute the celestial show.

Island Princess is scheduled to call at several northern ports in Norway, and anywhere along the route guests might be treated to a dazzling light show.

In addition to Trondheim on Saturday, the ship is scheduled for Tromso on Monday, Alta on Tuesday, and Gravdal on Friday, all three of which are further north than Trondheim.

The last destination on the cruise is Alesund in the southeastern part of Norway on Sunday, October 15, before the ship returns to Southampton, UK on Wednesday, October 18. At this time, there are no other changes to the itinerary.

The 91,627-gross-ton, Coral-class Island Princess can welcome 2,214 guests at double occupancy, and is also home to 900 international crew members who strive to make every cruise as memorable as one with the Northern Lights.

The ship is currently offering diverse European sailings from Southampton, and will reposition to homeport from Rome at the end of October, where she will offer several Mediterranean cruises.

In early December, Island Princess will feature a transatlantic cruise to move to Fort Lauderdale, where she will depart on January 4, 2024 on an 111-night roundtrip World Cruise, completely circumnavigating the globe.

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