Middle East Cruise News

MSC Bellissima’s Dubai to Asia cruise altered due to Coronavirus outbreak

MSC Bellissima’s March cruise from Dubai to Japan has been altered to drop several Asian destinations from the itinerary amid the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic in the region.

Following the end of her 2019/2020 Arabian Gulf cruise season, MSC Bellissima will depart on March 21st for her grand repositioning voyage to Asia, where is scheduled to spend the rest of the year cruising roundtrip from Yokohama, Shanghai, Tianjin and Qingdao.

MSC Bellissima alongside in Abu Dhabi

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MSC Cruises hasn’t announced whether they’ll be updating these itineraries, but has announced that calls in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan will be dropped on the repositioning voyage to Japan.

The updated itinerary will no longer feature Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Keelung, and will instead call in Bangkok, Thailand, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and will spend an extra day in Kobe, Japan.

The Dubai to Singapore leg of the cruise is largely unchanged

The grand 28-night cruise features a first leg from Dubai to Singapore, with the second leg consisting of the onward journey to Japan. For passengers booked only on the 16-night Dubai to Singapore cruise the only change to the itinerary will be the substitution of Sir Bani Yas Island instead of Khassab, Oman.

It’s unclear why MSC Cruises have dropped the Khassab port call in favour of Sir Bani Yas Island, but it’s likely because of the new preferential berthing agreement recently signed between the cruise line and Abu Dhabi Ports, which operates the island’s cruise operations.

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MSC Cruises’ decision to alter the repositioning voyage from Dubai to Japan comes amid ongoing disruption to the cruise sector in Asia due to the Coronavirus epidemic, which has infected more than 75,000 people and killed more than 2,200.

More than 50 cruises in Asia have been cancelled, dozens more have had their itineraries altered and all three major cruise lines have admitted that profits for the year will be hit by the cost of refunds and compensation to the tens of thousands of affected passengers.

This was MSC Bellissima’s first ever cruise season in the Middle East, cruising roundtrip from Dubai on one-week cruises in the Arabian Gulf.

MSC Seaview

While she isn’t scheduled to return for another season in the 2020/21 cruise season, MSC Cruises will instead be sending the innovative new class of cruise ship, MSC Seaview, which has been designed for maximum connection to the outdoors.

MSC Seaview will cruise roundtrip to ports across the Arabian Gulf between November, 2020 and March, 2021.

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