The Red Sea is an important route for shipping as it connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal.
The Houthi attacks on ships passing over the Red Sea have resulted in shipping companies having to reroute from the trade route and instead sail around the southern tip of Africa. This includes cruise lines having to cancel or adjust their cruises to avoid being attacked.
On Thursday, Royal Caribbean announced the cancellation of two of their voyages; one from Muscat to Dubai was meant to take place 16-26 January and another from Dubai to Mumbai was scheduled for 26 January to 11 February.
Their cruise itinerary between Aqaba and Muscat has changed so guests disembark in a port city near Athens. The liner said:
“Our global security team continues to closely monitor the situation in the region and we will make additional changes if required”.
Other operators have also cancelled trips. A spokesman for the Swiss-Italian operator MSC Cruises has cancelled three repositioning trips in April due to the Red Sea crisis:
- MSC Splendida’s 24-day sailing from Durban, South Africa, to Genoa, Italy
- MSC Opera’s 21-day sailing from Dubai to Genoa, Italy
- MSC Virtuosa’s 23-night sailing from Dubai to Southampton, U.K.
“The safety of passengers and crew is the number one priority and as there was no viable alternative itinerary, the company has regrettably had to cancel the voyages. The three ships will transfer directly to Europe without any passengers on board and avoid transiting through the Red Sea.”
Carnival said they are keeping an eye on the situation and will prioritise safety. They will adjust their itineraries as required. The European cruise line Silversea Cruises has scrapped itineraries scheduled from mid-January to mid-February on Silver Moon. The voyages that were scheduled to start on 16 January and are further stalled to 26 January were to take place between Muscat and Dubai. The itineraries scheduled from January 26 to February 11 from Dubai and Mumbai have also been cancelled.
Italy’s Costa Cruises told Reuters on Thursday that routes “remain unchanged”. However, cruises scheduled to transit through the Red Sea in March and April may be affected, including the last leg of a round-the-world trip.
Azamara has rescheduled sailings too. The line’s 2024 Israel-intensive sailings aboard the Azamara Journey have been replaced with sailings in Canada and New England in October.
Also Read: Q&A Is it safe to travel to Egypt
Which Cruise lines are not cancelling, yet?
- P&O Cruises
- Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam