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In light of the escalating conflicts in the Red Sea area and Ecuador, several cruise lines have chosen to reroute some itineraries while keeping a close eye on the situation in case other changes are warranted. All guests on itineraries that have been changed or could possibly be changed are being kept apprised of changes, if any.
To date, Silversea has canceled the Jan. 15 cruise aboard Silver Moon from Muscat, Oman, to Dubai. It is keeping tabs on four others that, while still scheduled, might have a change in status. Silver Moon is currently on a roundtrip cruise from Aqaba, Jordan, originally scheduled to end in Muscat before continuing to Dubai. Affected passengers will receive different compensations, including a refund of the fate of the canceled cruise portion and Future Cruise Credits (FCCs).
MSC Cruises’ Poesia has had to reroute its annual world cruise. It will now bypass the Red Sea, canceling stops in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia and moving instead to the Cape of Good Hope. It will now sail along Africa’s East coast, finishing its sailing in Kenya.
The cruise line has also canceled three Grand Voyage sailings in April from South Africa and the United Arabe Emirates (UAE). The 24-night cruise of MSC Splendida from Durban, South Africa to Genoa, Italy; the 21-night sailing of MSC Opera from Dubai, UAE to Genoa; and the 23-night voyage of MSC Virtuosa from Dubai to Southampton, UK, are all currently suspended. All passengers booked on these cruises have been or are in the process of being contacted to transfer their booking to a future Grand Voyage of a similar duration for free. If they choose, they can rebook any other cruise on MSC Cruises’ global network with either a partial refund or an additional payment for the difference in price of the original booking. Alternatively, they can receive a full refund with no cancellation fee.
The current civil unrest in Ecuador caused by the current war on drugs declared by President Noboa has also reverberated in the cruise industry, with some cruise lines that call in that country on their way to the Galapagos Islands modifying or even canceling their itineraries.
Lindblad Expeditions canceled two of its departures in the Galapagos that were slated to depart over this weekend aboard the National Geographic Endeavor II and National Geographic Islander II. Current expeditions on board both ships are still continuing as planned, however.
Celebrity Cruises did not cancel its Galapagos itineraries departing this past weekend but cautioned travelers not to arrive in the country early for pre-cruise tours but rather the day right before their sailing. In a letter to guests and travel advisors, the line stated pre- and post-tours in Ecuador were suspended, and guests were to stay in the new Holiday Inn near the airport in a secure area. They were asked to remain in the hotel; Celebrity staffers will escort them from the airport to the hotel and back to catch their flights to Baltra, where they boarded their vessels.
Celebrity operates Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Xploration and Celebrity Xpedition in the area. While the cruises are not canceled, the company clarified that guests who did not feel comfortable traveling to the area would receive a full refund and have price protection on a new cruise when they book before 2025. They are also reimbursing guests for change fees incurred on their inbound flights.
Silversea, on its part, canceled Silver Nova’s call at Manta on Ecuador’s central coast this past weekend. The stop was part of the 71-day roundtrip sailing through South America.