Middle East Cruise News

Virgin Voyages on track for Dubai cruise, Oceania cancels Red Sea port calls

Virgin Voyages cruise ship Resilient Lady has entered the Red Sea and is on her way to Dubai after calling in Safaga, Egypt, one of only four port calls on her 14-night cruise from Athens to Dubai. 

Resilient Lady will cruise from Dubai on November on a 15-night cruise to Singapore, part of her three-leg repositioning voyage from Europe to Australia, where she will spend the summer cruise season. 

The voyage from Dubai marks Virgin Voyage’s Middle East debut and will also see the cruise line sail to India and Southeast Asia for the first time, with port calls in Mumbai, Colombo, Phuket and Klang.

Resilient Lady of Virgin Voyages

Built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Resilient Lady entered service in May 2022 and is a sister ship to Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady. At 110,000 gross tons she carries 2,770 passengers.

While Virgin Voyages is carrying on with their cruise to and from Dubai as planned, several cruise lines have opted to either cancel cruises in the Arabian Gulf, or in the wider Middle East on the back on the escalating geopolitical tensions in the region due to the Israel-Hamas war.

Oceania Cruises has cancelled seven port calls in the Middle East on its November 18th cruise from Barcelona to Dubai. 

Oceania’s Nautica will no longer call in Haifa, Port Said and Safaga in Egypt, Aqaba in Jordan and the two Omani ports of Salalah and Muscat and will instead sail directly from Heraklion in Crete to the UAE, a cruise leg of around 4,000 nautical miles.

The ship will spend around 10 days at sea before passengers are able to disembark in Dubai.


The move by Oceania Cruises could be mirrored by other cruise lines planning to transit the Suez Canal and the Red Sea bound for the Arabian Gulf or Southeast Asia. 

Already, MSC Cruises has cancelled the entire cruise season for MSC Orchestra out of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea, while Windstar Cruises went even further, becoming the first and only cruise line thus far to cancel its planned cruise season out of Dubai

More than 50 cruise calls are scheduled for Safaga in Egypt alone through the rest of the year, by cruise ships that include Azamara Journey, Silver Spirit, Queen Elizabeth, MSC Opera and Virtuosa and more. 

Cruise lines have cancelled cruises visiting ports in the Red Sea and Middle East coast of the Eastern Mediterranean, such as Israel and Egypt, following the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas earlier in October. 

There are growing concerns that the war will either escalate, putting more ports in danger of collateral damage, or that the Israeli retaliation against Hamas in Gaza, which has resulted in more than 8,000 civilian deaths, will provoke terrorist attacks in the wider region against Western targets.

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