In light of the tense geopolitical situation in Israel, MSC Cruises has updated itineraries for two of its cruise ships to remove calls to the nation through early January 2024.
A total of 11 sailings have been revised with new ports of call that will help keep guests safe from the conflict while still enjoying amazing destinations in the eastern Mediterranean.
More Calls to Israel Cancelled
Two MSC Cruises ships, MSC Musica and MSC Sinfonia, have had multiple itineraries adjusted to remove upcoming visits to Israel. This has been decided based on the ongoing regional conflict and to ensure the safety of guests and crew members.
“The safety of our passengers and crew is always our top priority and we have worked rapidly to revise the itineraries of MSC Sinfonia and MSC Musica to offer an extremely attractive alternative for the winter months,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.
These changes follow the already cancelled cruises and adjusted itineraries for each vessel, a decision the cruise line made immediately after the escalation of tensions in Israel.
MSC Musica Itinerary Changes
The impacted voyages aboard MSC Musica are 7-night sailings roundtrip from Pireaus (Athens), Greece, with departure dates of October 15, 22, and 29. Each of these cruises was to have sailed to Santorini, Ephesus, Haifa, Limassol, and Mykonos before returning to Athens.
Now, these itineraries will instead visit alternative ports rather than Haifa, Israel. For the October 15 and 22 departures, MSC Musica will visit Rhodes, while the October 29 departure will visit Marmaris.
No other ports of call on these itineraries appear to be impacted, but it is possible that further adjustments must be made as schedules are refined and finalized.
The 92,409-gross-ton, Musica-class MSC Musica can welcome 2,550 guests aboard, and is also home to more than 950 international crew members.
MSC Sinfonia Itinerary Changes
A total of 8 sailings for MSC Sinfonia have been adjusted to remove visits to Israel. All the impacted voyages are 11-night Mediterranean sailings roundtrip from Genoa, Italy. Originally, the cruises were to have visited Rome, Messina, Rhodes, Limassol, Haifa, and Iraklion.
The following 2023 departure dates have all been adjusted: October 21; November 1, 12, and 23; and December 4, 15, and 26. The January 6, 2024 departure has also been changed.
The MSC Sinfonia cruises are adjusting more than just one port of call, however. Haifa, Rhodes, and Limassol have all been removed from the itineraries to accommodate different sailing routes and port schedules. Now, the ship will set sail from Genoa and call on Rome, Messina, Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, and Heraklion before returning to Genoa.
The 65,542-gross ton MSC Sinfonia is a Lirica-class ship, able to welcome 2,087 guests aboard at double occupancy, or up to 2,679 passengers when fully booked, with more than 700 crew members aboard.
Multiple Lines Cancelling Cruises
With no way to know how long the dangerous conflict in Israel may last, several cruise lines have taken steps to safeguard their passengers by cancelling sailings or adjusting itineraries to remove port visits to the country.
Royal Caribbean International has cancelled 7 sailings of Rhapsody of the Seas, which has been homeported in Haifa, Israel. That ship will not resume sailing from the nation this season. Meanwhile, Odyssey of the Seas has port visits cancelled for Israel on two different sailings. Celebrity Apex, owned by the Royal Caribbean Group, has likewise cancelled port visits to Israel.
Celestyal Cruises has cancelled all Israel visits for its two ships through the end of November, and may extend that suspension if circumstances warrant additional precautions.
All cruise lines are carefully monitoring the situation for further developments, and will make itinerary adjustments as needed to keep guests and crew members safe as they enjoy oceangoing getaways.