Cruise Line Working on Alternative Itineraries Due to Red Sea Tensions

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With tensions on the rise in the Red Sea and multiple cruise lines already cancelling port visits or modifying itineraries to avoid the region, Crystal Cruises has reached out to guests to offer assurances about their 141-night World Cruise.

Just four days into the once-in-a-lifetime sailing, Crystal Serenity is scheduled to transit the Red Sea in April, but will the itinerary be changed?

Crystal Serenity World Cruise Update

With violence escalating in the Red Sea, different cruise lines have already cancelled visits or changed itineraries to avoid the risk. The situation is very fluid, however, and Crystal Cruises is watching the region carefully but not making any immediate changes to the World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity.

“In light of the current situation in the Red Sea, Crystal remains committed to prioritizing the safety and well-being of our guests and crew,” the cruise line stated. “We understand the evolving dynamics and are actively monitoring the situation, maintaining open communication with relevant authorities and security firms to make informed decisions.”

By staying updated on the situation, Crystal Cruises hopes to preserve as much of the original itinerary as possible, but will make changes as necessary.

“Our team is diligently working to create alternate itineraries, recognizing the potential need to make adjustments should the need arise to cancel voyages that transit the Red Sea,” the cruise line said. “For our World Cruise Guests, we will confirm that any adjustments will not impact Crystal Serenity’s ability to reach Miami by June 8, 2024.”

The 141-night World Cruise departed Miami, Florida on Thursday, January 18, 2024. The ship will completely circumnavigate the globe, calling on stunning ports in the South America, transiting the Panama Canal, visiting Hawaii and various top destinations in the South Pacific, and so much more. Australia, Indonesia, India, and many other iconic destinations are all on the extensive itinerary.

Crystal Serenity Cruise Ship
Crystal Serenity Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: picture.factory / Shutterstock)

The 68,870-gross-ton Crystal Serenity was built in 2003 and previously owned by Genting Hong Kong, until that cruise line went bankrupt in 2022. Crystal Cruises was purchased and renovated by A&K Travel Group Ltd., which now operates Crystal Serenity and the somewhat smaller Crystal Symphony, both providing luxurious experiences for discerning travelers.

Crystal Serenity can welcome 1,040 guests aboard and is also home to more than 650 crew members, and the cruise line is committed to keeping everyone safe at all times.

Is the Red Sea Transit at Risk?

The Red Sea portion of the ship’s World Cruise begins in mid-April as the ship will pass through the Middle East, from Salalah, Oman to Luxor (Safaga) and Alexandria in Egypt. The date of passing through the Suez Canal is scheduled for Friday, April 26. After that, the ship will enjoy various ports in the Mediterranean before a transatlantic crossing will bring Crystal Serenity back to Miami.

With three months before the ship reaches the Red Sea, there is plenty of time for itinerary adjustments if necessary, and Crystal Cruises is making all necessary preparations.

“Once a final decision is made, we will immediately notify all guests who may be impacted. Guests and crew can rest assured that any necessary adjustments will be handled thoughtfully,” the cruise line noted.

“Considerations such as adjusting ship provisions and the impact on containers in transit, adapting travel plans (including visas) for our dedicated crew members, and rebooking or, if necessary, canceling previously scheduled ports will be addressed with care.”

Crystal Serenity Cruise Ship
Crystal Serenity Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Crystal Cruises)

Exact plans and how the cruise’s itinerary may be adjusted have not been detailed, but undoubtedly it is a complex situation that would require significant balancing of schedules, port availability, sailing time, resupply needs, and other factors if such massive changes were to be made.

Various cruise lines have already made different changes to avoid the Red Sea depending on their individual itineraries and operational needs. For example, MSC Cruises has cancelled three “Grand Voyage” sailings for three different shipsMSC Splendida, MSC Opera, and MSC Virtuosa.

Significant changes were also made to MSC Poesia‘s world cruise, though the sailing is not cancelled. Instead of transiting the Suez Canal, the ship was rerouted around Africa.

P&O Cruises, Cunard Line, and Holland America Line are all closely monitoring the situation as well, in case their own voyages need adjustments. Guests booked on any itinerary, including the Red Sea, in the next few months, should stay in close contact with their cruise line in case of adjustments.

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