MSC Cruises has cancelled three ‘Grand Voyage’ sailings in April from South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Europe because of the risk to shipping in the Red Sea.
Ongoing attacks on merchant vessels in the region has forced the company to cancel a 24-night cruise of MSC Splendida from Durban, South Africa to Genoa, Italy, a 21-night sailing of MSC Opera from Dubai, UAE to Genoa and a 23-night voyage of MSC Virtuosa from Dubai to Southampton, UK, according to a news release.
"The safety of passengers and crew is the number one priority and as there was no viable alternative itinerary, the company has regrettably had to cancel the voyages," MSC writes.
The three ships will transfer directly to Europe without any passengers on board and avoid transiting through the Red Sea, the cruise line says.
Instead, they will sail around the west coast of Africa with no ports of call on their journeys to their respective European homeports for the summer 2024 season. None of MSC's other ships are affected.
All passengers booked on the three repositioning cruises have been, or are in the process of being, contacted directly or through their travel advisor, MSC says.
Passengers can transfer their booking to a future Grand Voyage of a similar duration for free.
Alternatively, affected passengers can rebook to any other cruise in the company’s global network, with either a partial refund or additional payment for the difference in price of the original booking, or receive a full refund with no cancellation fee, the company says.