Japan Cruise Update: Oceania Cancels Calls; Royal Caribbean, Princess Wait

March 15, 2011
(5:20 p.m. EDT) -- In the wake of Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunamis, Oceania Cruises has canceled a pair of upcoming calls in Japan. Meanwhile, big-ship lines Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises remain in wait-and-see mode and have left their cruise schedules unchanged.

Here's the latest run-down:

Oceania Cruises. Oceania's Nautica, which is currently in the middle of a 15-night Far East cruise, will bypass upcoming calls in Hiroshima (March 18) and Kobe (March 19, 20). Spokesman Tim Rubacky called the decision the "prudent thing to do" in light of the "Japanese government focusing all available resources on the rescue and recovery effort." The new itinerary replaces the stops in Hiroshima and Kobe with additional days in Shanghai and Kaohsiung and an overnight stay in Hong Kong at the tail end of the voyage. Importantly, the ship's call in Naha, on the island of Okinawa, which is well south of the Japanese mainland, remains unchanged.

Royal Caribbean. Legend of the Seas -- Royal Caribbean's year-round, Asia-based ship -- is scheduled to call in Fukuoka on March 16 on its current sailing. The following sailing, which begins on March 19 in Shanghai, is set to call in Japan's Kagoshima (March 21), Beppu, (March 22) and Fukuoka (March 23). According to Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez, Legend's calls are still on the docket.

Princess Cruises. Princess Cruises, which has Diamond Princess, Ocean Princess and Sun Princess scheduled to visit Japan in the coming weeks, has not altered itineraries yet. Sun Princess, set to arrive in Nagasaki on March 28, is the first of the three ships scheduled to call in Japan.

Over the weekend, port closures forced Cunard to cancel Queen Mary 2's call in Nagasaki and Azamara Club Cruises to divert Azamara Quest from Osaka.

Although cruise ports haven't sustained notable damage, the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory, which cautions against unnecessary travel to Japan.

We'll keep you posted.

--by Dan Askin, News Editor