Silversea and MSC Cruises have adjusted their itineraries to avoid the Red Sea. Weeks of attacks by Houthi militants on shipping vessels in the area have already forced many shipping giants to abandon the short Suez Canal route between Asia, Africa and Europe in favor of a longer, safer route around Africa.
MSC Cruises has changed the itinerary of MSC Poesia, a 115-day world cruise that was scheduled to sail through the Suez Canal on January 16. The company said that despite the adjustments, most planned stops remained on the route due to safety risks. The Poetry route will no longer include Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Instead, the revised route will go from the Mediterranean Sea and around the western and southern coasts of Africa to Kenya. From there it will round the Cape and resume its journey to South America.
A spokesman for Royal Caribbean Group, Silversea's parent company, said Silver Moon's itinerary had been adjusted due to safety concerns. The 10-day cruise, which departed on January 6 for Aqaba, Jordan, was scheduled to end its journey in Muscat, Oman. The cruise has now been converted to a round trip voyage, and the cruise line said it will adjust passenger return sailings accordingly.
Oceania Cruises had already changed its Mediterranean cruise schedule for 2024 late last year, replacing ports of call in Egypt, Israel and Jordan.
Other cruise lines are taking a wait-and-see approach in the conflict zone, with cruises to the Middle East largely scheduled for the spring.
“Obviously our first priority will be safety. It's already on our radar and we have mitigation plans in place if we need them. But keep in mind that this is still several months away,” said Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation. Their ship Costa Toscana plans to sail through the Suez Canal in March.