February 5, 2011
The decision comes after the issuance of a travel alert by the U.S. State Department, warning travelers that although much of the political and social unrest that has affected Tunis and other major Tunisian cities has diminished, "spontaneous and unpredictable events continue to occur." The alert further states, "While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security."
While the U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also acknowledges that it is "possible to have a trouble free visit," it suggests that travelers should still exercise caution. "Following the departure of the former President, a State of Emergency was declared on the afternoon of 14 January and this remains in place. The political situation in Tunisia is undergoing rapid and dramatic change. There were street protests and violence prior to and following the departure of former President Ben Ali. While all major groups have ended their demonstrations, further unrest remains possible. The situation could last some months," the FCO warns.
"We continually evaluate our itineraries and the decision to modify this itinerary was made in part due to the changing political environment in Tunis and the recent Travel Alert issued by the US Department of State," said Disney spokeswoman, Christie Erwin Donnan.
Disney Magic will sail a series of 10- and 11-night Mediterranean cruises between May and September, during which the regularly scheduled call in Tunis will be replaced with a call in Palermo, Italy.
Earlier this week Costa Cruises announced that along with its decision to cancel calls to Egypt, all Mediterranean sailings that were to include stops in Tunisia, will now visit Palma de Mallorca, Malta or Cagliari (Sardinia). No other cruise lines have announced itinerary changes at this time.
Just last week, Disney announced that it will discontinue calls to Mazatlan during its current Mexican Riviera season, also citing a "changing environment" as the cause.
--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer