Thomson cancels Red Sea cruises

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Thomson Cruises has finally bowed to the inevitable and cancelled its remaining Red Sea cruises scheduled for this winter as a result of the worsening crisis in Egypt.
Until last week the ports of Sharm el Sheik and Safaga, and the resort of Hurghada – visited on shore excursions – were considered safe and immune from the violence and demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere.
But in the present circumstances it would be impossible to operate excursions to the Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings, the main reason passengers travel on the Red Sea cruises.
Thomson had already cut short this winter’s season of cruises to the region on Thomson Majesty. It had been switched to Cyprus from November 6 and was planned to operate from Sharm el Sheik only between December 19 and February 27. A clutch of other cruise lines, including Costa, MSC, Holland America, Princess and Seabourn have all cancelled their Egypt port calls and river cruising on the Nile is almost at a standstill.
A Thomson statement issued today says: “As the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all but essential travel to Cairo and Luxor this means that we are not able to offer our customers an alternative itinerary that would meet their requirements for a Red Sea cruise. We are not able to offer the full excursion programme . . . that we know they want to experience.
“We understand how disappointing this will be for our customers and we are currently contacting customers booked on a Red Sea cruise to advise them of these changes.”
No alternative deployment for Thomson Majesty has been announced.
German operators including Thomas Cook and TUI have cancelled all travel to Egypt.
While warning against all non-essential travel to parts of the region, particularly North Sinaii, the FOC states: “Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the resort areas.
“Egyptian military are situated in Sharm el Sheikh international airport, the entrance to the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and the exit to the resort area of Dahab. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airport and the police are carrying out vehicle checks in Sharm el-Sheikh.
“There have been no violent protests in the South Sinai resorts during recent disturbances in Egypt. The resorts remain calm.”
Customers, however, will have been voting with their feet. It is unlikely that Thomson would have been able to fill the ship if they had persisted with their Red Sea itineraries.
In the absence of an FOC direction against travel, passengers who had already booked but wanted to withdraw would have been unable to claim on their insurance for any payments lost.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:30+00:00 21 August 2013|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|1 Comment

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.

One Comment

  1. Sailaway 9 September 2013 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    John, have you heard anything about the Thomson Cruises new build rumour? Supposedly a new ship that’s going to be part of a new, more premium Sensatori Cruises brand, inline with their Sensatori hotel brand that Thomson have. All rumours though at the moment, nothing confirmed. Wondered if you had heard of anything?

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