Cruise redeployments due to Israel war widen beyond the country

Cruise cancellations due to the war in Israel have widened beyond those with calls in the country.

Windstar Cruises will postpone its inaugural Middle East cruise season for a full year due to the unrest, including itineraries in the Persian Gulf.  

The small-ship line was set to launch its first cruises in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf on Nov. 23, running through April. It will instead begin sailing in the region in November 2024.

“Given the current environment and uncertainty of what is developing in the region, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the inaugural season until fall 2024,” says Windstar Cruises president Christopher Prelog. “We understand the impact this change has on our guests’ vacation plans, especially over holidays, so we are making this decision now to allow time for people to change plans.”

Passengers can move their reservations to a 2024 date or change to a ship in another location. The 312-guest Star Legend, which was set to operate the Middle East cruises, will instead offer itineraries in the Western Med starting in December.

MSC Cruises also canceled the MSC Orchestra’s full winter schedule of sailings in the Red Sea from Nov. 8 to April 17, citing “the proximity of some ports of call to Israel as well as the number of restrictions in the bordering countries that would have adversely affected passengers’ travel experiences.” The Orchestra will instead sail the Mediterranean from Dec. 16 to April 19.

MSC also canceled the MSC Sinfonia’s winter schedule, from Nov. 12 to April 15, which was focused on Haifa, Israel. The line has not announced a new schedule for the Sinfonia.

Several cruise lines have already redeployed ships that had calls or were homeported in Israel due to the ongoing conflict.

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