Middle East Cruise News

Azamara cancels upcoming Dubai cruise aboard Azamara Quest due to impact of Coronavirus

Azamara has informed passengers booked on its March 17th cruise from Dubai that the voyage has been cancelled due to new restrictions the UAE has introduced for cruise ships sailing from Dubai.

“We have just been advised that the country of United Arab Emirates has closed all ports to cruise ships until further notice,” the cruise line told guests in a letter on Tuesday.

Azamara Quest alongside in Abu Dhabi earlier this year

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“Therefore, we have made the necessary decision to cancel your upcoming voyage on March 17th, 2020. Up until today we did not intend to cancel this voyage; however, we must do so due to the local country restrictions recently implemented,” it added.

Azamara has said that all booked guests will receive a full refund to their original method of payment and a 25% Future Cruise Credit (FCC). Guests who purchased the pre-or post-Stay Local land package in Dubai will also receive a full refund to the original form of payment.

Any shore excursions booked through Azamara will also be fully refunded to the original form of payment.

“Guests with independent arrangements should contact their travel advisors as soon as possible,” the cruise line said. “If you pre-purchased any beverage, internet or specialty dining, you will also receive a full refund to your original form of payment.”

Guests with air travel and hotel booked through ChoiceAir will be refunded automatically, while all guests including those with independent air arrangements will receive up to US $500 per person reimbursement.

Azamara Quest at Dubai Cruise Terminal with Mein Schiff 5 earlier in the cruise season

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Azamara Quest was meant to depart Dubai on March 17th on an 11-night roundtrip cruise in the Arabian Gulf, visiting Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Doha, Bahrain and Muscat. It’s March 28th cruise from Dubai to Athens remains up in the air, but is likely to be cancelled as Azamara Quest will debark guests in Muscat on March 13th.

She is coming to the end of a 26-night cruise from Cape Town that was meant to end in Dubai on March 16th, but due to India’s decision to close its cruise ports, that itinerary has been amended (Quest was meant to call in Cochin and Mumbai).

Azamara’s decision follows Celebrity Cruises, which was this week forced to cancel the remainder of its Middle East cruise season out Dubai due to the UAE’s new port restrictions.

While the cruise line’s have been informed that the ports of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been closed to all cruise ships, it appears that cruise ships homeporting in Dubai are being allowed to operate as normal with revised itineraries that do not leave UAE waters.

Costa Diadema in Dubai

Costa Diadema, currently en-route to Abu Dhabi from Dubai, was meant to be in port in Muscat on Monday, March 9th, and Doha, Qatar on Wednesday March 11th, but has instead spent the last two days at sea in the Arabian Gulf.

Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas meanwhile, departed Dubai today on a revised week-long roundtrip cruise that dropped Muscat as a port of call.

Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to the Federal Transport Authority and DP World, the operators of Dubai Cruise Terminal, for clarification.

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