Middle East Cruise News

Royal Caribbean drops Oman call on penultimate roundtrip Dubai cruise due to Coronavirus

Royal Caribbean International has dropped Oman’s capital Muscat as a port of call on the two remaining roundtrip Dubai cruises of the 2019/2020 season for Jewel of the Seas due to concerns over the country’s vulnerability to Coronavirus.

“In light of current regional travel conditions and the continued developments related to Coronavirus COVID-19, we’ve decided to cancel our visit to Muscat, Oman,” the cruise line told guests in a letter shared with Cruise Arabia & Africa.

Jewel of the Seas will no longer call in Muscat, Oman

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“We’ve been closely monitoring the developments of the virus and decided this change is best to maintain your well-being, as there has been an increase of cases in Iran – Oman’s open-bordered neighboring country. Please know, we did not take this decision lightly,” the letter added.

At least 237 people have died and 7,161 have been infected across the country since mid-February, while there is speculation that the country’s Coronavirus epidemic could be much worse than what is being reported.

Both Oman and the UAE have suspended all ferry services with Iran, so it’s unclear why Royal Caribbean has dropped Muscat as a port of call, but not any UAE ports. The UAE’s number of Coronavirus cases (74) was higher than Oman’s at the time of writing.

It may be due to new restrictions that the UAE has placed on cruise shipping. While Celebrity Cruises has informed Cruise Arabia & Africa that Dubai and Abu Dhabi have closed their ports to cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas departed today from Dubai bound for Abu Dhabi.

Jewel of the Seas departed Dubai Tuesday

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There is speculation within the local cruise tourism industry that the UAE continues to allow cruise ships to operate if they only visit UAE ports, but this has not been confirmed by either DP World, or the Federal Transport Authority.

Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to both for clarity.

“Any pre-paid Royal Caribbean International shore excursions for Oman will be refunded back to Onboard Account as a refundable credit,” the letter from Royal Caribbean added.

“This credit can be used anywhere onboard, and any unused amounts will be refunded back to your credit card on file about 3 – 5 business days after the sailing ends. And, any pre-paid, RCI tours impacted by this change for Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas will automatically be rescheduled for you.”

The new itinerary is as follows:

Day      Port of Call                                          Arrive              Depart

Mon    Dubai, United Arab Emirates              EMBARK

Tue      Dubai, United Arab Emirates              5:00 PM

Wed    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates      8:00 AM

Thu      Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates                              8:00 PM

Fri        Cruising

Sat       Sir Bani Yas, United Arab Emirates     8:00 AM          6:00 PM

Sun      Dubai, United Arab Emirates              2:00 PM

Mon    Dubai, United Arab Emirates              DEBARK

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