Norwegian Cruise Line announced it was canceling all future calls to Tunisia on Tuesday, two days after the North African country refused entry to Israeli nationals who were passengers on the Norwegian Jade.
“We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests,” Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan said in a strongly worded statement. “We are outraged by this act and the fact that we were not notified in advance of this practice. We apologize sincerely to our guests who were affected and want them to know that we have taken the appropriate action in response.”
Just two more sailings were scheduled to stop at the port of La Goulette in Tunis this season. The itinerary will now include Palma de Mallorca in Spain instead. For voyages already planned next winter, Tunisia will be replaced by a sea day.
Norwegian said in its statement that the company employs workers of more than 90 different nationalities and welcomes everyone on its ships.
“The Company does not condone or tolerate discrimination of any type and with these cancellations hopes to send a message to those who do that such acts are completely unacceptable,” the statement said.
Since the incident was made public, the Doral-based cruise line has received communication from customers, human rights agencies and organizations that fight anti-Semitism. On Tuesday, the response to Norwegian’s decision was swift.
Passengers emailed their support. Hundreds of people commented on a post on the cruise line’s Facebook page. And the Anti-Defamation League and B’nai Brith Canada, both of which had expressed outrage initially and urged Norwegian to cancel calls to the country, wrote statements praising the action.
“We applaud the courageous and responsible decision of Norwegian Cruise Line in standing up to the discriminatory policy of the Tunisian government,” ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement.