Cruises diverted from troubled ports

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Continuing unrest in the Arab world is still causing havoc with cruise ship schedules. Costa Crociere has announced that all visits to Egypt, Tunisia and Israel have been scrapped for the remainder of 2011.
The company, which is the biggest cruise operator in Europe, had already said Bahrain would be left out of its Persian Gulf itineraries for the remainder of the season. Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa, based in Dubai until the beginning of next month, will instead spend an extra day in port at Muscat, Oman.
The move has been welcomed by Robert McLean, principal of the National Hospitality Institute of Oman, who said: “The increased potential business is a short-term ray of hope for Oman, which has been ‘erratic’ since reports of the regional unrest have deterred people from abroad.”
Each visit by a 2,000-passenger ship is estimated to bring about £170,000 of business to local restaurants, taxi-drivers, and tradesmen in the Muttrah Souk.
Costa’s ships are expected to be return to Bahrain in November if the political situation returns to normal. They will be joined by MSC Lirica which is due to begin sailing in the region, although Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas dropped the kingdom from its Gulf schedules after a adverse reaction from passengers last year.
In the Mediterranean, Costa Concordia, Serena and Magica will replace planned visits to Tunis with stops at Malta, Palma de Mallorca or Cagliari, in Sardinia. All itineraries which included Alexandria in Egypt, and Haifa and Ashdod in Israel will be amended to include Limassol (Cyprus), Rhodes (Greece) or Marmaris, Alanya or Antalya (Turkey) instead.
The company hopes to have its ships back in the dropped ports next season. Details of the itinerary changes can be checked on Costa’s website.
Elsewhere, Celebrity Silhouette has cancelled calls at Alexandria scheduled for August, September and October and will be visiting Haifa, Ashdod or Limassol instead. Amended itineraries for April and May sailings of Azamara Quest substitute either an extra day at sea or overnight stays in Rhodes for planned calls at Alexandria.
MSC’s Fantasia, Lirica, Magnifica, Sinfonia and Splendida have dropped Alexandria and Tunis from their schedules.
Voyages to Antiquity scrapped two planned cruises – the apocryphally-titled “Carthage Must Be Destroyed” and the now inappropriately-named “Everything in Alexandria was Superlative.” The 2011 season for the line’s one ship, Aegean Odyssey, now begins in Rome on April 18 instead of from Athens on April 4.
In contrast, Thomson Spirit has resumed its full Red Sea itinerary, including excursions to Cairo and Luxor, and its parent travel company is planning to be flying holidaymakers into Tunisia again by March 13.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:09+00:00 10 March 2011|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|3 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Kevin Griffin 10 March 2011 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Quite funny really while Regent is promoting a special cruise that ends in “Cairo” – actually Port Said. And of course the Indian Government is sailing the Scotia Prince between Benghazi and Alexandria to evacuate its nationals from Libya.

  2. Oman 11 March 2011 at 10:32 am - Reply

    The Costa Twins overlap with the Brilliance on Wednesday and Thursday – probably moving forward the decision that will need to be taken about changing Mina Sultan Qaboos to a cruise only port

  3. Transcriptors 20 March 2011 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    Have read all about the troublesome times people experienced over cancellations to Egypt ports due to the riots and advice from the FO about not going there. Interesting to see how people appear to have been treated differently regarding refunds, transfers their cruise companies.
    We want to know what should happen when a cruise company just decides to cancel ports over 5 weeks in advance and WITHOUT any such legitimate reasons?
    We are booked on an April Costa Pacifica cruise advertised as ‘Holy Land cruise’. Egypt was pulled before people were required to make the full final payment for this cruise but a second stop in the Holy Land was being offered instead. Presumably most people, like us, appreciated that this was a suitable revision under the circumstances in Egypt.
    However, allowing for time to clear cheques etc. immediately after the final payments were received by Costa Cruises, they suddenly changed track, literally, and dropped both Israel ports without providing any apologies, explanations, or compensation of any kind. In fact, Costa didn’t even bother to inform us until over a week after posts began appearing on the Internet and even then we only received a very brief letter advising us of the changes. Dropping Israel ports cannot be explained in terms of safety reasons due to the fact that Costa have continued to use the Israel ports for some cruises after their announcement.
    We feel that our money has been taken under false pretences by Costa Cruises. Under the Trade Description Act, no port now offered will provide us with a visit to the Holy Land. The prices of this cruise were significantly higher than those going to the ports Costa are now offering and, since the journey will now be considerably shorter, Costa must be making significant fuel savings, which they clearly have no intention of passing on to their customers!
    We are now aware that, contrary to what our TA informed us, some people in America have been offered some compensation and we would love to know how they have treated their Italian passengers who, having booked and paid to be in the Holy Land during Holy week, are unlikely to be happy about being told they can go to Marmaris and Limassol instead! Can anyone enlighten us please?

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