Cruising

MSC cancels cruises, amends itineraries due to Middle East conflict

Travel restrictions and safety concerns led the line to change plans for Israel and Red Sea ports

24 October 2023 - 14:08
By Elizabeth Sleith
The MSC Orchestra will no longer be sailing the Red Sea this season.
Image: MSC Cruises The MSC Orchestra will no longer be sailing the Red Sea this season.

MSC Cruises has cancelled the planned seasons of two of its ships over the European winter season, the MSC Orchestra and the MSC Sinfonia, due to the conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The MSC Orchestra was set to sail in the Red Sea from November 8 until April 17 2024 but the company said it had decided to cancel the sailing because of the proximity of some planned ports of call to Israel and the number of restrictions in the bordering countries that would have adversely affected the holiday experience for passengers.

The winter programme for MSC Sinfonia from November 12 to April 15 2024 has also been cancelled because the main highlight in the itinerary was Haifa in Israel.

The line is also making changes to some of its other itineraries in light of the geopolitical situation and to ensure the safety of its passengers and crew.

MSC Cruises said some travel restrictions have been made by local authorities in certain destinations and some governments have issued advisories against travel to certain areas.

There are also “minor changes” to the itineraries of the grand voyages for MSC Virtuosa, MSC Opera and MSC Splendida and to two 11-night sailings for MSC Armonia.

Passengers affected can move their cruise of a similar length of travel to an alternative ship and itinerary or request a full refund.

MSC Cruises said the safety of its passengers and crew is always its utmost priority and it will continue to monitor the situation and modify itineraries if necessary.

Full details of the new itineraries are available here.