| Date Published: February 1, 2011 |
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|Update: More Egypt Cruises Canceled|
(Updated 12 p.m. EST) -- Cruise lines and tour operators continue to tweak itineraries as the unrest in Egypt escalates, leaving travelers on edge during what is the peak season for Nile River cruises.
On Tuesday, a handful of lines, including Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC, Cunard and Grand Circle Cruises, altered or canceled additional Egypt sailings.
On Monday, several travel providers -- including Uniworld, Abercrombie & Kent, Viking, Avalon and Cosmos Tourama -- told Cruise Critic they are canceling cruises through Februay 28. Most have also indicated that they're in the process of assisting in-country travelers who wish to evacuate.
In response to the protests aimed at the Egyptian government, the U.S. State Department posted a travel warning, advising that "U.S. citizens avoid travel to Egypt due to ongoing political and social unrest." Meanwhile, the U.K. Foreign Office has a notice on its site, advising against "all but essential travel" to the area.
We're keeping a close eye on developments, but here's the latest from the lines.
NCL: Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it will replace a sea day and an overnight in Alexandria with two overnights in Istanbul on its February 13 and March 5 Norwegian Jade sailings. Spokesperson Courtney Recht says because the situation is beyond the line's control, compensation will not be offered for the itinerary changes.
MSC: MSC's Julianne Carelli has announced that, until further notice, Egypt ports will be pulled from the line's itineraries for the remainder of the season. This change affects two ships: MSC Magnifica and MSC Splendida. We are currently in touch with the line to determine which ports will be substituted for calls in Alexandria and on which dates. No compensation will be offered to passengers for the missed ports, as the situation is beyond the line's control.
Costa: A statement from Costa representative Buck Banks tells us that the line has canceled all calls in Egypt and Tunisia, which is also experiencing unrest. Red Sea cruises on Costa Allegra and Costa Marina will now focus on Jordan and Isreal, with a turnaround at Aqaba. For Mediterranean itineraries that included stops in Alexandria, ships will instead call on Greece or Israel. On Mediterranean sailings that were to include stops in Tunisia, passengers will now visit Palma de Mallorca, Malta or Cagliari (Sardinia). No compensation will be given to passengers for the missed ports, as the situation is beyond the line's control.
Grand Circle Cruises: Grand Circle Cruises has scrapped all sailings bound for Egypt through February 15. The announcement was on the line's Facebook page. People booked on those sailings have the option to rebook on another sailing or take a full refund.
Abercrombie & Kent: All Egypt sailings through February 28 have been canceled, according to Abercrombie & Kent representative Pamela Lassers, who says most passengers have opted to rebook on cruises later in the year.
Uniworld: In a statement, Uniworld has announced the cancellation of all Egypt sailings through February 28. Passengers may choose to rebook or receive full refunds.
Viking River Cruises: Viking's Egypt cruises are canceled through February 28, according to a statement from line spokesperson Julie Rosoff. Anyone booked on an affected sailing can rebook with no penalty or choose full refunds.
Avalon Waterways: A press release from Avalon Waterways says the line has canceled its cruises through February 28. Passengers booked on those sailings have the option of rebooking on an alternative sailing or receiving full refunds.
Cosmos Tourama: A statement on the line's Web site says sailings have been canceled through February 28, and passengers can choose to rebook or receive full refunds.
Thomson Cruises: Thomson Holidays has already canceled excursions to Cairo for its land-based holidaymakers. Thomson Cruises' Thomson Celebration will call in the Israeli port of Eilat -- not part of the original itinerary -- today. According to spokeswoman Kate Lomax, "some changes to the itinerary have unfortunately had to be made, including the cancellation of ... Hurghada and Luxor on Tuesday (1 February) and Wednesday (2 February)."
Discover Egypt: Discover Egypt's January 31 departure has been canceled, and the line is taking care of those currently on sailings and in line-sponsored hotels. Line representative Marlen Taffarello says passengers booked on that sailing will be offered full refunds. A decision has not yet been made regarding the line's February 7 departure.
Titan HiTours: Anthea Yabsley, spokeswoman for Titan, says departures to Egypt are canceled through February 2, and those currently in Egypt are being transported back to the U.K. today.
We're curious: Given the unrest in Egypt, will you return to the country or consider a cruise? Vote in our poll.
--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor
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