Virgin Voyages says it will reroute its Resilient Lady ship to avoid the conflict currently taking place in the Middle East.
In an update shared with media on Thursday (Feb. 8), the adults-only cruise line said it will sail around Africa instead of passing through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, a waterway in Egypt.
“The safety of our passengers and crew is our number one priority. Like many other cruise brands, we have been watching the current conflict in the Middle East closely, connecting regularly with global security experts to consider the impacts to the repositioning voyages planned for Resilient Lady in 2024,” Virgin Voyages said.
“We remain concerned about potential escalations in this part of the world over the next 12 months and the risk that this presents for safe passage through the region.”
The changes impact Resilient Lady's repositioning voyage taking place on March 27.
In place of her former repositioning voyages, the ship will now depart from Sydney and sailing around the coast of Africa with a new route stopping in Eden and Fremantle (Perth) in Australia, Port Louis (Mauritius Islands), Durban and Cape Town (South Africa), Walvis Bay (Namibia), Praia (Cape Verde), Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain), Casablanca (Morocco), Barcelona (Spain), Valletta (Malta), as well as Santorini and Piraeus (Athens) in Greece — “all with extended time at sea.”
All passengers on the former three legs of the repositioning will have “guaranteed spots” on these sailings at no additional cost and a price protection commitment in place, the company said.
If the dates are not convenient, passengers can receive a Future Voyage Credit based on their paid balance or a full refund.
“We know that based on our conversations with passengers and travel partners, they understand the complex geopolitical challenges that have arisen making this change necessary,” the company said.
Virgin Voyages confirmed that it will protect travel agent commissions.
The company said it is conducting a full review of other geographically similar repositioning voyages and linked sailings.
“We will provide an update in the coming weeks on any further changes we will need to make,” the company said.
Virgin Voyages joins other cruise lines that have made similar rerouting changes.
Silversea, Carnival and MSC Cruises have also adjusted itineraries to avoid areas in the Middle East where shipping vessels have been attacked.
Repeated attacks on vessels by Iranian-backed Houthi Rebels have also forced shipping and oil companies to divert their routes, adding days to shipping times and driving up costs.