Middle East Cruise News

MSC Cruises cancels remainder of Dubai seasons as Coronavirus bites, SA unaffected

MSC Cruises has cancelled its remaining four cruises from Dubai during the current 2019/2020 cruise season, during which it had two cruise ships homeporting in Dubai, but its remaining cruises from Durban, South Africa will continue as planned.

Both MSC Lirica and MSC Bellissima will not sail any of their scheduled Dubai cruise departures, the cruise line confirmed, citing the UAE’s decision to close its ports to all cruise ship operations.

In South Africa, MSC Orchestra will sail her remaining Durban departures as planned, MSC Cruises said in a statement.

“South Africa will continue as scheduled until the end of the cruise season in April or until notified otherwise,” the cruise line said.

“We are continuing to interact with international and local authorities and will consult with the Minister of Health should the conditions change in South Africa.”

MSC Bellissima is in Dubai offloading her passengers after cancelling season

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The move is part of a wider decision to suspend operations for eight of its cruise ships around the world, due to disruption caused by the global Coronavirus pandemic, which has seen multiple cruise lines suspend global operations.

MSC Cruises suspended all US cruise operations for 45 days until April 30th on Friday evening. This adds to the suspension of cruise operations in high-risk regions where the virus has seen widespread contagion (the Mediterranean, the Gulf and Asia).

MSC Orchestra is cruising from Durban and Cape Town for the 2019/2020 cruise season

MSC Orchestra will sail her remaining six cruises from Durban during the current 2019/2020 South African cruise season.

MSC has cancelled a number of itineraries in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, South America and the Caribbean. Notable cancellations include all itineraries on board MSC Opera until April 26th, which the company says is “because of the inability for guests to embark through Italy”.

Italy has been the worst-hit country in Europe, with more than 10,000 cases and hundreds of deaths.

“We at MSC Cruises are committed to delivering a great holiday experience for our guests, and we are sorry that current circumstances force us to change some of itineraries and possibly disrupt your holiday plans,” the cruise line said in a statement.

MSC Splendida was in port in Dubai on her Grand Voyage from Asia to Europe when MSC cancelled the cruise

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“We look forward to sailing with you in calmer waters very soon, always with the safety of our guests and crew as our top priority,” it added.

Passengers will be given various options on rebooking or refunds, depending on the length of cruise, the cruise destinations and when it takes place. This will include cruise vouchers equal to the value of the cancelled cruise, on board credit and possible refunds on the price of the cruise.

The current cancelled cruise itineraries are below:

MSC Grandiosa  – Current itinerary for any guests who are already onboard or embarked today in Barcelona includes calls to Genoa and Civitavecchia which allows guests who were scheduled to end their cruise to disembark. No new guests or crew will be allowed to embark at those ports and no ashore visits will be allowed. The ship will then continue her itinerary without calls to any Italian ports.

For subsequent cruises, MSC Grandiosa will homeport from 19 March in Barcelona. The first cruise will depart that day to Marseilles, Malaga, Alicante and Palma de Mallorca before returning to Barcelona on 26 March.  Subsequent cruises from Barcelona will call Marseilles, Tangier, Cadiz, Malaga, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca.

MSC Opera  – Sailings cancelled up until a cruise due to end on 26 April because of to the inability for guests to embark through Italy.

MSC Fantasia  – Grand Voyage en route from Rio de Janeiro (9 March), Santos (10 March) and Buzios (11 March), Brazil to Europe will arrive in Marseilles, France (27 March) and not Genoa and Civitavecchia, as originally planned, on 28 and 29 March.  Cruise from Genoa (28 March) cancelled.

MSC Sinfonia  – Grand Voyage from Santos, Brazil on 13 March to Venice (4 April) cancelled and guests offered MSC Seaview from Santos (19 March) to Barcelona, Spain (4 April).

MSC Divina  – Grand Voyage from Miami (20 March) to Genoa (7 April) cancelled. Plus, Mediterranean cruises scheduled for 11, 18 and 25 April cancelled.

MSC Bellissima  – Gulf cruise from Dubai (14 March) cancelled and Grand Voyage from Dubai (21 March) to Yokohama, Japan (8 April) cancelled as guests would be unable to disembark at a number of destinations because of port closures for all cruise ships.

MSC Lirica  – Gulf cruises cancelled up to 11 April and Grand Voyage from Dubai (18 March) to Venice (8 May) as guests would be unable to embark in the UAE (UAE) because of local port closures for all cruise ships

MSC Splendida  – Ship currently in Dubai on Grand Voyage to Civitavecchia (28 March) and Genoa (29 March).  Disembarkation ports will switch to Marseille (28 March) and Barcelona (29 March).  Embarkation for her repositioning cruise from Genoa (29 March) to Hamburg (8 April) switched to Marseilles (29 March) and embarkation also available from Barcelona (30 March).

2 replies »

  1. My cruise departs from Cape Town to Namibia on 5 April 2020. How ever seeing that the numbers of covit 19 escalate daily I feel that it would be irresponsible to go on a cruise. I have been a loyal customer of MSC cruises in the past and would appreciate if MSC could postpone my cruise to 2021. Kind regards Johanna Hanekom.

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