Cruise Line Apologizes After Dozens Of Whales Slaughtered In Front Of Horrified Passengers

pilot whales nature
ANDRIJA ILIC/AFP via Getty Images

I know cruising’s not for everybody, but I’m generally a big fan of it.

The relaxation, the convenience of having everything right there for you just steps from your room, the unlimited food and drinks…I’m a big fan of going on a cruise and kicking back for a week with a drink in my hand.

But of course there are also plenty of horror stories from people who went on cruises that didn’t go as planned.

And now one cruise line is apologizing after guests on one of their ships witnessed a gruesome sight in the middle of what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation.

Passengers embarked on the Ambassador Cruise Line ship, Ambition, from Northern Ireland on July 6th for an 11-day cruise that would take them to England and Iceland, along with a stop in the Faroe Islands.

But when they got to the Faroe Islands on Sunday, instead of waking up to the majestic sights of the North Atlantic, guests were instead horrified to see a pilot whale slaughter taking place in front of their ship.

Pilot whales, despite their names, are actually among the largest of the oceanic dolphins, and are hunted in the Faroe Islands in a tradition known as grindadráp, or “grind” for short.

While the practice has long been the target of outrage from conservationists, and has largely been banned around the world, the Faroese government defends the hunts as part of their sustainability efforts:

“Hunting and killing methods have been improved to ensure as little harm to the whales as possible. All hunters must now obtain a hunting license in order to kill a whale.”

As little harm to the whales as possible? I mean, you’re killing them…but ok.

A total of 78 of the creatures were slaughtered on Sunday when the cruise ship was in port, bringing the total number for the year up to 646.

The cruise line issued a statement apologizing after the passengers witnessed the scene that looked like something out of a horror movie:

“Ambassador can confirm that the arrival of Ambition in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands today coincided with the culmination of a hunt of 40+pilot whales in the port area. We were incredibly disappointed that this hunt occurred at the time that our ship was in port.

We strongly object to this outdated practice, and have been working with our partner, ORCA, a charity dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK and European waters, to encourage change since 2021.

Sustainability is one of Ambassador Cruise Line’s core values, and we fully appreciate that witnessing this local event would have been distressing for the majority of guests onboard. Accordingly, we would like to sincerely apologise to them for any undue upset.”

Ambassador CEO Christian Verhounig also added:

“We are dedicated to supporting ORCA in their endeavours to collect data and to monitor whales and dolphins and we are extremely disappointed that this has happened after weeks of trying to open constructive dialogue with the Faroese government and Visit Faroes on these issues.

We continue to educate our guests and crew not to buy or eat any whale or dolphin meat and stand against any profiteering from commercial whaling and dolphin hunts.”

Yeah, that’ll ruin your vacation pretty quick. And they still had a whole week of the cruise left after that.

(I didn’t include any pictures, but they’re out there and easy to find if you’re interested to see what the passengers saw. But be warned, it’s pretty gruesome).

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock