The British Foreign Office said it is urgently seeking to clarify the circumstances under which two cruise ships were turned away from docking at Ushuaia, Argentina, on Feb. 25 because they had previously visited the Falkland Islands, according to a spokesman for the office.
P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises, two cruise lines owned by Carnival Corp., were denied access to the Ushuaia port in what is being seen as a diplomatic slap on the wrist tied to Argentina’s ongoing dispute with Britain over the Falkland Islands.
P&O Cruises’ Adonia and the Star Princess were the ships turned away.
“There is no justification for interference in legitimate commerce,” said the British Foreign Office spokesman, who added that British officials are trying to determine whether the move was a “one-off” instance.
“We are in contact with the company concerned,” he said.
Carnival Corp. had no official statement on the incident.
P&O did issue a statement, saying that passengers would be refunded for missed Ushuaia shore excursions.
P&O said the ship was sailing toward its next port of call, Punta Arenas, Chile, on its 87-night South America Adventure cruise, which departed from Southampton, England, on Jan. 13.
In a statement, Princess said, “This decision was based on the current political conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands. Because the ship had previously called at Stanley, we were denied entry to Ushuaia.
“We are extremely disappointed about this alteration of the cruise itinerary, and are refunding the cost of shore excursions purchased by our passengers.”The Star Princess is operating an 14-night South America cruise that departed Rio de Janeiro on Feb. 18.
Follow Donna Tunney on Twitter @dttravelweekly.