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Fred Olsen Cruises are taking no risks with next year’s world cruise for Balmoral (above). Rather than sail through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden, the ship will now take the African west coast route on its way home from Australia.
The decision was made in the wake of last weekend’s attack on MSC Melody, and follows MSC’s similar decision to re-route MSC Sinfonia next year.
The 106-night Balmoral cruise leaves Dover on January 5, heading first to the Caribbean and then across the Pacific to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The original schedule had several calls in the Middle East, including Muscat, Bandar Abbas in Iran, and an overnight stop in Dubai.
Now it will head from Mauritius to South Africa before turning for home.
Matt Grimes, Director of Planning for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We are very aware of our responsibility regarding the safety and well-being of passengers and staff on board our ships, so we have taken this step in light of the continuing piracy attacks that are being faced not only in the area around the Gulf, but ever further out from Somalia.”
More details have also been announced about Balmoral’s change of itinerary next week, in order to avoid a call at Acapulco, in Mexico.
The ship will have an extended stay in San Diego until midday on May 3, and will then call at Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala on May 8. An additional port, Puntarenas in Costa Rica, will be visited on May 10.
For full and comprehensive details of all cruise ship itinerary changes brought about by the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, take a look at the excellent round-up at The Cruise Log.