Ascension Island is located in the South Atlantic Ocean (about midway between Africa and South America). This is a volcanic island (total area 34 mi2 / 88 km2) which was once a regular call port for ships from Europe to South Africa. More recently, the island became known for its involvement in the Falkland War (aka Guerra del Atlántico Sur) in April 1982 between Argentina and the UK.
Ascension Island is one of the British Overseas Territories - the dependency of "Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha". Saint Helena is UK's second-oldest dependency (overseas territory) after Bermuda.
Ascension Island is located approx 700 mi (1126 km) northwest of St Helena Island and was first discovered by the Portuguese in 1501. It remained uninhabited until 1815 when the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was exiled to Saint Helena and the British established a guarding garrison here.
The island features long white-sand beaches, sea turtles, a variety of seabirds (frigate birds, boobies, boatswain, noddies, petrels). There is also a Museum and an afield, also serving plane tours to see the island's 44 volcanic craters.
In June 2017, the cancellation of all flights from Ascension Island also resulted in cruise itinerary changes and cancellations.
All flights were cancelled until at least 2019 due to structural failure (potholes) on the island's runway. Additionally, flights to the Falkland Islands were rerouted as the plane Airbus A330 MRTT (abbrev "Multi-Role Tanker Transport") operating the route was too heavy for the damaged runway.
The polar cruise company Oceanwide Expeditions had travelers booked on its "Atlantic Odyssey" itinerary operated by the ship MV Plancius.
The 36-nights long "Atlantic Odyssey including Antarctic Peninsula" cruise itinerary (Ushuaia to Ascension) included as ports of calls/destinations Ushuaia Argentina, sea days (2, 3, 8, 9, 11-14, 18-22, 27-30, 34, 35), Antarctica (days 4-7 / Cuverville Island, Ronge Island, Danco Island, Lemaire Channel, Petermann Island, Melchior Islands, Drake Passage), Ushuaia, South Georgia Island, Gough Island, Tristan da Cunha Island, St Helena Island, and Ascension.
Booked travelers on 2 itineraries (codes PLA33-18 and PLA35-18) had to be rebooked on itinerary PLA36-18 (Ascension to Praia Cape Verde) for 6 nights. From Praia, they departed for their home flights.
Due to the Ascension flight cancellations, itineraries PLA34-18 and PLA32-18 were canceled.
MV Plancius passengers booked on the affected cruises were given a 50% discount on the fares paid. For new bookings, the company offered a 20% discount on the fares for the Ascension to Praia cruise.
RMS St Helena ship (the above photo) continued to operate the sea route from Cape Town South Africa to Saint Helena Island and Ascension Island. This ferry service was scheduled to continue until February 2018, or until St Helena Island's air service is operational.
Ascension Island cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Ascension Island dock (anchor) at Georgetown - port town (and the only settlement) on the western coast.