Middle East Cruise News

MSC, Costa and TUI confirm Dubai cruises will go ahead despite Iran tensions

MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises and TUI have joined Royal Caribbean in confirming that their planned Dubai cruise programs for the coming 2019/2020 cruise season are unaffected by the ongoing tensions between Iran and the West.

All three cruise lines told Cruise Arabia & Africa that they have no current plans to cancel or amend their coming cruise seasons in any way, just hours after British line P&O announced that it would no longer be sending its cruise ship Oceana to Dubai for the 2019/2020 season.


The coming 2019/2020 cruise season will still be the biggest on record in spite of P&O’s pullout

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RELATED: P&O cancels Oceana’s 2019/2020 Dubai cruise season amid Iran tensions

“While we’re aware of P&O Cruises’ decision – as a British flag carrier – to withdraw its operation from the Gulf for the coming season, we have not received any intelligence suggesting that there is reason for our plans to be altered,” said Robin Roothans, a spokesperson for MSC.

“We always closely monitor the public safety and security situation in each of the destinations we call and areas we sail through,” he added. “In doing so, we consult with official travel advisory bodies, and are in constant contact with local and international authorities – including UK-based entities.”

“MSC Cruises’ upcoming winter season in the Gulf doesn’t start until the end of November. Guests and Crew can always be assured that their safety is our first priority,” he said.

MSC Cruises is homeporting two ships in Dubai for the coming season. MSC Bellissima, its newest and largest ship, and MSC Lirica, a smaller Lirica-class vessel.

The reference to P&O’s status as a British flag carrier is important, as it appears to have been the overriding factor in P&O’s decision to pull out of the coming cruise season.

“The increased tension in the region highlighted by the attacks on tankers in the Straits and the detention of a British-flagged tanker by the Iranian authorities means as a British company flying the Red Ensign it is not advisable for us to maintain our planned Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme this winter season,” said P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow on Wednesday.

MSC Cruises’ ships are registered in Panama, while the cruise line itself is Italian but head quartered in Switzerland.


The central promenade entertainment complex aboard MSC Bellissima

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Similarly, Costa Cruises’ fleet is registered in Italy. The Italian line has confirmed that its Dubai cruise season will go ahead as planned, despite the recent Iran developments.

“We would like to underline that our scheduled 2019/2020 winter cruises in Dubai with Costa Diadema are all confirmed at present,” a spokesperson for Costa Cruises told Cruise Arabia & Africa. “Our first priority is to provide for the safety and security of our guests and and crew at all times.”

Costa Diadema will cruise roundtrip from Dubai in the Arabian Gulf through the winter, she is the largest vessel the cruise line has ever based in the region.


Costa Diadema will homeport in Dubai from November, 2019 to March, 2020

TUI Cruises also said it was making no changes to its Dubai itineraries at present, but left the door open to possible changes in the near future.

“For now we will not make any changes to our coming Dubai season,” said a spokesperson. “Of course we are closely monitoring the events in this area. If there will be any signs of a change in the security we will act accordingly.”

TUI’s Mein Schiff 5 (a sister ship to Mein Schiff 4) will homeport in Dubai throughout the coming winter season, cruising roundtrip from the city in the Arabian Gulf.

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