TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 3 “saved” visitors stranded on Spitsbergen following the Scandinavian Airlines’ pilots strike, according to Norwegian press reports.
Mein Schiff 3 carried more than 100 people as passengers sailing from Longyearbyen to Tromso in Northern Norway. The ship reportedly had available cabin space.
Scandinavian Airlines’ pilot went on strike on July 3, and with only Norwegian Air also flying regularly to the Arctic archipelago, there have not been enough air seats for tourists and locals to travel to the mainland or return to their country of origin. Thus, effectively stranding many expedition cruise guests in Longyearbyen.
This has also prevented many from being able to fly to Spitsbergen, unless their expedition lines had reserved seats with Norwegian or arranged charter flights.
The Longyearbyen harbor master Kjetil Braaten was quoted saying that some expedition ships have sailed with hardly any passengers onboard and that discounted sailings are offered to the local population.