Regent Seven Seas Cruises has cancelled a number of port calls in China on itineraries scheduled for March 1 and March 13, 2020, a spokesperson for the cruise line has confirmed to Travel Agent.
While guests on the public RSSC Social Club Facebook group had speculated that the stops were cancelled for political reasons, a cruise line spokesperson tells Travel Agent that the changes were due to berthing conflicts.
In the latest on the political situation being discussed on that Facebook group, CNN reports that its sources at the U.S. State Department say that U.S. citizens or people with legal status in the United States are being held in detention camps in Xinjiang, China. In an earlier report, the State Department had estimated that China had “arbitrarily detained 800,000 to possibly more than two million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims in internment camps designed to erase religious and ethnic identities." The Chinese government says that the camps are "vocational and educational training centers for counter-terrorism and de-radicalization purposes."
“We worked to enhance these voyages with additional ports of call including Tokyo, which is always one of our most popular destinations,” a Regent Seven Seas Cruises spokesperson tells Travel Agent. “Updating these itineraries a year in advance allows guests the flexibility to change their voyage if they prefer to sail on another cruise.”
The State Department’s travel advisory regarding China, last updated January 3, rates the country at Level 2: Exercised Increased Caution on the four-point travel advisory scale. That rating puts China at the same level as a number of other popular international tourist destinations, such as the UK, France, Italy and Mexico.
The State Department’s advisory specifically warns that travelers in China should exercise increased caution due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws, special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals, and the prevention of U.S. citizens from leaving China using “exit bans.”