Middle East Cruise News

Hapag-Lloyd redeploys to Dubai after cancelling South African itineraries

Hapag-Lloyd has rerouted Europa from South Africa to Dubai after cancelling its Cape Town itineraries due to concerns over the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Europa was meant to cruise roundtrip from Cape Town during December and then head for Mauritius, but will instead be cruising to Dubai, where she will sail a roundtrip itinerary in the Arabian Gulf.

Europa arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday and will be redeployed to Dubai.

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Europa will depart Cape Town on December 2nd on a 16-night cruise to Mauritius, she won’t take on new passengers, instead many of those on the cruise from Spain have elected to stay onboard, and she won’t call at any other South African ports as planned.

The itinerary changes have been necessitated by a tide of travel restrictions placed on South Africa since the emergence of the Omicron variant last week, which was first discovered in South Africa, but has since been detected globally.

With all travellers from the country being subjected to either outright bans or strict quarantine measures that make travel unpractical, the country’s cruise season and wider tourism industry has been dealt what officials have called a “hammer blow”.

Hapag-Lloyd joins Norwegian Cruise Line in cancelling all its planned South African cruises. Instead, the ship will cruise to Mauritius and then reposition without passengers to the Maldives, where she will sail a 13-night cruise to Dubai on January 5th, 2022.

On January 18th, Europa will cruise roundtrip from Dubai, visiting ports in the Arabian Gulf, these include Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Doha and Bahrain. She’ll then cruise from Dubai back to Mauritius on January 26th.

Sir Bani Yas Island is included on the itinerary for Europa’s Arabian Gulf cruise

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Europa is the first cruise ship to redeploy to Dubai due to the Omicron variant, and is likely to be the only one, as all other Dubai to Cape Town cruises are scheduled for Norwegian Cruise Line, and take place in December, 2022 and 2023.

Norwegian Cruise Line was meant to cruise from Dubai to Cape Town on December 3rd, 2021, but at the time of writing she was enroute from Muscat, Oman back to Aqaba in Jordan, her Dubai to Cape Town cruise cancelled.

Norwegian Cruise Line cancelled the entirety of its South African season, which was meant to take place in December and January.

Instead, her December and January schedules have been cleared, but in February, she is still scheduled to sail an 18-night cruise from Dubai to Athens (Piraeus), Greece.

Norwegian Jade will return to Dubai in December, 2022, to sail the Dubai to Cape Town cruise she was meant to operate this year.

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