The cruise industry is currently experiencing major disruptions due to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, specifically the attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthi forces.
As a result, many cruise lines have had to alter their itineraries, which has impacted many voyages.
MSC Cruises has announced the cancellation of three “Grand Voyage” cruises scheduled for April 2024, on MSC Splendida, MSC Opera, and MSC Virtuosa.
These cancellations reflect the increasing unrest in the Red Sea, which poses risks for ships transiting through the region.
The MSC Splendida was set to embark on a 23-night journey from Durban, South Africa, to Civitavecchia, Italy. At the same time, the MSC Opera and MSC Virtuosa were scheduled for 21-night and 23-night cruises, respectively, originating from Dubai to various European destinations.
Instead of the original itineraries, these ships will now sail directly to Europe, bypassing the Red Sea and instead navigating around the western coast of Africa.
MSC Cruises has offered guests affected by these cancellations several options. They can transfer their booking to a future Grand Voyage without additional costs, rebook a different cruise with either a partial refund or other payment depending on the price difference, or opt for a full refund with cancellation fees waived.
Similarly, Silversea’s Silver Moon has experienced significant itinerary changes, culminating in the ship completing its most recent sailing in Athens instead of Muscat, Oman, as initially planned. These alterations underscore the widespread impact of the Middle Eastern conflict on the cruise industry.
Additionally, Azamara has rescheduled its 2024 Israel-intensive sailings aboard the Azamara Journey, replacing them with voyages in Canada and New England in October. This move further illustrates the industry’s responsiveness to geopolitical conflicts that affect regional stability and travel routes.