In a swift response to the shifting geopolitical landscape, Silver Moon has altered its voyage to prioritize passenger safety. The ship, which is part of the Silversea fleet, had embarked on a sailing expected to charm guests with the historical and cultural richness of the Middle East. However, current events have necessitated a significant change to its course.
Immediate Itinerary Changes Announced
Passengers currently aboard the luxury Silver Moon sailing in the Middle East were informed via letter on January 10 of the immediate rerouting of the ship’s itinerary and the cancellation of an upcoming segment.
Guests sailing on the 10-night “Aqaba (Petra) to Muscat” from Aqaba, Jordan to Muscat, Oman, and the 20-Night “Aqaba (Petra) to Dubai” received word of rerouting and cancellation by Captain Luigi Rutigliano due to “circumstances beyond our control.”
“Considering the fluid geopolitical situation of the area we are operating in, we would like to provide you with frequent updates,” said Captain Rutigliano in a letter to passengers. “Our Global Security team is continuously monitoring the situation and recommended amending the itinerary of this cruise to remain on the northern side of the Red Sea.
“This decision was taken, prioritizing, as always, the safety and security of our guests and crew and ensuring that the ship does not find itself in an area of potential escalation,” he continued.
The interruption in travel plans included notification that a new outbound flight from Aqaba, Jordan, would be scheduled for passengers as soon as possible for January 16, as Silverseas is cancelling its upcoming “Muscat to Dubai” segment, originally set to depart Muscat, Oman, on January 16, 2024.
The letter went on to detail an alternative port schedule for the current cruise, set to visit Yanbu and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Salahah, Oman; and Muscat, Oman. The revised journey now takes travelers to alternative destinations Sharm El Sheik, Egypt on January 11; Ain Sukhna, Egypt on January 12; and Safaga (Luxor), Egypt on January 14 and 15.
The cancelled “Muscat to Dubai” 10-day cruise segment, affecting current passengers and those joining the new segment, was scheduled to start in Aqaba, Jordan, and travel to Salalah, Muscat, and Khasab Oman; Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai, U.A.E.; Damman, Saudi Arabia; Khalifa Bin Salman, Bahrain; and Doha, Qatar.
Why the cancellation?
The decision to reroute was influenced by recent attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea, attributed to Houthi militant, which have prompted shipping and cruise lines to reconsider their courses.
According to the New York Times, data from logistics technology company, Flexport, revealed that no fewer than 389 container vessels opted for the longer, alternative route to avoid the affected areas. The extended route adds 10 days and 4,000 miles to schedules.
Other cruise lines, including MSC Cruises, have similarly adjusted their itineraries, with MSC Poesia eschewing the Red Sea in favor of the African route on its 115-day world cruise.
Compensation and future plans
In light of these itinerary changes, Silversea is offering generous compensation to its guests. This includes a full refund for the cancelled segment, as well as a savings of 20% on any published 2024 sailing of the passenger’s choice.
A future cruise credit equivalent to 50% of total cruise fare of the current voyage was also offered to be used towards any future booking made within the next 24 months. Guests also received a shipboard credit of $500 per person.
At press time, Silversea has not released further details for subsequent sailings, including the 596-passenger, 40,700-ton Silver Moon’s scheduled “Dubai to Muscat” sailing, scheduled to depart January 26. Guests are advised to stay informed through official Silversea communication for any future updates.