MSC Cruises has announced the cancellation of 3 repositioning Grand Voyage sailings in April from South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Europe, because of the risk to shipping in the Red Sea.
The decision comes amid the Red Sea crisis resulting from conflict between the US and UK military and the Houthis in Yemen, with both sides launching attacks on each other affecting the Red Sea and Houthi controlled sites in Yemen.
In its statement, MSC Cruises said that ongoing attacks on merchant vessels in the region had forced the company to cancel a 24-night cruise of MSC Splendida from Durban to Genoa, Italy; a 21-night sailing of MSC Opera from Dubai, UAE, to Genoa; and a 23-night voyage of MSC Virtuosa from Dubai to Southampton.
“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. Instead, they will sail around the west coast of Africa with no ports of call on their journeys to their respective European homeports for the summer 2024 season.
“None of the company’s other ships in its fleet are affected,” said MSC Cruises.
The cruise line added that all passengers booked on the three repositioning cruises were, or are in the process of being, contacted directly or through their travel agent, and could transfer their booking to a future Grand Voyage of a similar duration for free.
“Alternatively, affected passengers can rebook to any other cruise in the company’s global network, with either a partial refund or additional payment for the difference in price of the original booking, or receive a full refund with no cancellation fee,” said MSC Cruises.