Cruise Lines Stand United in Support of the Ukrainian and Russian Crew

Feb 28, 2022

As the world turns towards Ukraine with prayers and support, loyal cruise ship guests reach out to the cruise lines' Head Quarters with inquiries about the safety, support and concern of Ukrainian crew members. Each company responds to the cruise guests with understanding of their concerns, addressing the same and reminding that the companies are focused on the wellbeing and support of both Ukrainian and Russian crew members. This reflects on the general cruise culture that is being instilled by the understanding that each ship is made of so many different nationalities from all over the world.

Carnival Cruise Line 

Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy on 27 February 2022, responded to guests as they arrived on their prospective cruises with a letter directed to them related to some of the guests' concerns. As presented in the letter Ms. Duffy addresses Carnival’s culture related to inclusive diversity of all crew members on the CCL ships. CCL and most other cruise companies have crew members from all over the world with approximately 120 countries. Ms. Duffy acknowledges that some of the crew members are directly affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and as the company has both nationalities across their fleet who are not responsible for the decisions of their country’s leaders. Ms. Duffy further addresses briefly the support that CCL is providing to those crew members, as well as calls for the guests to show support for both Russian and Ukrainian crew members.

Viking Cruises

Crew Center reached out to Viking Cruises inquiring about some of the above mentioned supports in order to be able to communicate this with the crew members in our community and their loved ones, thus, to know what they can do if they may need additional support or communication in these hard times. Viking reveals that the company is using various options related to supporting both the Ukrainian and Russian crew members. They will be able to have access to satellite phones and free guest internet under a specified priority. Crew members will also be offered use of online counseling charity that operates under many worldly languages when they feel that they need to address the stressors that are arising from the war, as well as being far from their loved ones. Viking is also allowing crew members whose contracts may be expiring or have expired with the option to extend their contract and stay aboard their current cruise ship if they feel unsafe to return to their homeland. If any of the crew members may want or need to return to their homeland, Viking will support with doing so and/or offering alternative airport entries should issues arise with entering the prospective country’s main international airport. Viking Cruises informs that crew members will also be allowed and provided time off to be able to make important calls home and ability for the crew who decides to sign off to take their salaries as cash or utilize the ShipMoney payment card. Finally, our contact reveals that Viking is focusing these supports for both Ukrainian and Russian crew members as both are members of the Viking family who are greatly impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Royal Caribbean

In a similar fashion, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) Michael Bayley addressed the same concerns to the RCCL guests on 26 February 2022 via a Facebook post. Mr. Bayley informs that RCCL has received messages from RCCL guests who are inquiring about the crew members from Ukraine. Mr. Bayley informs that RCCL has 500 Ukrainian crew members throughout their fleet who are concerned and, in some shape, or form impacted by the war occurring in Ukraine. The concerns that the RCCL crew members from Ukraine have thus far addressed to RCCL are related to their friends and families back in the homeland as stated by Mr. Bayley. Furthermore, Mr. Bayley in a true RCCL crew member-centered fashion addresses ways that the crew members will be supported throughout their concerns as presented here.

Mr. Bayley informed that RCCL will provide open line of communication for the crew members in order to be able to connect with their families as needed, offering assistance for crew members who may need or want to return to the home country or closest and safest location of port of entry, as well as ability for any crew member from Ukraine who may wish to board any of the RCCL ships on expedited manner. Finally, Mr. Bayley reports that counseling is being offered for any crew members and ships Captains, as well as management to address the mental health and psychological stressors that they may be experiencing due to the war. Mr. Bayley provides final thoughts related to RCCL’s Russian crew members who are also experiencing concerns and anxiety related to the events occurring between the countries and who will be provided the same support from RCCL as the war is indeed impacting them, too.

Sea Me Crew Foundation

Sea Me Crew Foundation also posted a message via Facebook on 25 February 2022 in support of the Ukrainian and Russian crew members. Sea Me Crew Foundation takes a stance separate from political aspects in support of all crew members regardless of affiliation related to itineraries and repatriation. Sea Me Crew Foundation is also offering verified crew members to post offers related to shelter and supplies for other crew members. Sea Me Crew Foundation is noting that they can provide connections to professional mental health support should the need arise for crew members.

While the need for support of the Ukrainian and Russian crew members across the cruise line fleets is indisputable, we need to make sure that appropriate support related to counseling and mental health is provided to all crew members as this is not only a community, but this is also family for life. Current and past crew members care for our Ukrainian and Russian crew members – current or past – as family and this has a great impact on a person's mental and psychological health. We encourage the cruise companies to remind all crew members of available resources for counseling, have daily or weekly department checks with crew members and the mental health climate, as well as be mindful to offer support and resources when needed.

Here’s a message of support posted by Captain Bill Doherty

Nonetheless, this war is heartbreaking and hard for all and especially for the Ukrainian and Russian crew members who are far from their families, may fear the safety of their families, as well as potential concerns related to stigma related to the war. Therefore, let’s be mindful as crew members and also cruise guests to support all of our Ukrainian and Russian crew members as best as we all can with prayers, hopes, support and also understanding that they are not a reflection of the political decisions of their countries leaders, but amazing humans who sacrifice their time from friends and family to support their family home and make our cruise vacations memorable. We stood united through the COVID pandemic and returned to sail again, we will continue to stand united and as always showing the world how 120 countries regardless of politics, pandemics, natural disasters, wars, and so much more continue with mutually compassionate support as a team and a family.

With much support and prayers to all current and past crew members from Crew Center.