TUI Cruises has joined several other cruise lines in cancelling its port calls in Israel following the Hamas terrorist attacks on Saturday and the resulting escalation in military conflict during the week.
TUI has cancelled its scheduled calls to Israel on two of its cruises aboard Mein Schiff 5, adding Marmaris and Santorini as alternatives, while MSC Cruises has revised the East Mediterranean itineraries for the MSC Sinfonia and MSC Musica due to the crisis.
During its week-long cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean which departed from Trieste, Italy, on October 1st, Mein Schiff 5 was scheduled to visit two Israeli ports, Haifa and Ashdod before ending the voyage in Heraklion, Greece.
Due to the outbreak of the conflict, the October 11th and October 12th calls to Israeli ports were replaced by Marmaris on Turkey’s southern coast and the Greek island of Santorini.
TUI has now confirmed the cruise departing Heraklion, Greece on October 22nd will not dock in Haifa and Ashdod on October 25th and 26th as planned, and will call in Marmaris, Turkey and Greece’s Santorini instead.
MSC Cruises has also cancelled Israeli port calls in the wake of the developing security situation, and has now also revised the East Mediterranean itineraries for the MSC Sinfonia and MSC Musica.
MSC Sinfonia’s future eight 11-night voyages will see Haifa, Israel replaced by Istanbul in Turkey, while Rhodes will be replaced by Piraeus, Greece and Izmir in Turkey will replace Limassol, Cyprus.
MSC Musica’s future three 7-night voyages from Piraeus, Greece will see Haifa replaced by Rhodes on October 18th and 25th and Marmaris in Turkey on November 1st.
“The safety of our passengers and crew is always our top priority and we have worked rapidly to revise the itineraries of MSC Sinfonia and MSC Musica to offer an extremely attractive alternative for the winter months,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises.
These developments come after several other cruise lines scheduled to call in Israel cancelled their itineraries, including Azamara, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celestyal Cruises, Oceania and Holland America Line.
The development of the conflict in the upcoming months will play a crucial role in determining the cruise industry’s confidence in resuming calls to Israel. It will likely be several months before cruises to Israel resume.
Cruise lines will closely monitor the geopolitical situation and liaise with local authorities to evaluate the safety and feasibility of returning to Israeli ports once the conflict has been resolved.