Royal Caribbean International has announced it is suspending tours of active volcanos, following the tragic incident that happened in New Zealand on 9 December.

The eruption happened on New Zealand’s White Isle – also known as Whakaari – leaving 16 confirmed dead, with 17 still in hospital.

The country’s most popular volcano, the White Isle was a popular tourist attraction, and Royal Caribbean was leading an excursion on the island when the volcano erupted.

According to reports, fewer than 50 people were on the island during the eruption, 30 of them being passengers from Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas
Ovation of the Seas passengers were among those on the island at the time of explosion

 

Following the tragedy, Royal Caribbean has now suspended tours of all active volcanos, revealing in a statement: “After the tragic incident in New Zealand, we are suspending tours of active volcanoes.”

Immediately following the eruption, the cruise line shared their deepest sympathies for all those affected by the eruption.

“We are devastated by today’s events and our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragedy,” read a former official statement issued by Royal Caribbean International.

“We are working together with local authorities, and we are providing all the help and care we can to our guests and their families, including offering medical resources and counselling.

“We are also sending staff members from both our ship and our Sydney and Auckland offices to assist family members however possible. Ovation of the Seas will remain in port as long as needed to assist with the situation.”

Speaking at a Royal Caribbean press event held in London on the morning of the explosion (9 December), associate vice president and managing director for the UK and Ireland Ben Bouldin said: “their hearts are with them at this time”.

The privately-owned White Isle is a popular tourist destination, with many groups and excursions visiting the island throughout the year.

The death toll from the explosion currently stands at 16 with two bodies still unrecovered from the island and tragically presumed dead.