March 5, 2011
The U.S. Department of State has not yet lifted its travel warning and continues to recommend that travel to Egypt be avoided. However, the U.K.'s Foreign & Commonwealth Office has changed its statement. Although it no longer advises against Egypt travel, it does recommend adhering to local curfews and avoiding political gatherings and demonstrations.
We're keeping an eye on developments, but here's the latest from the lines.
Abercrombie & Kent: All Egypt sailings through March 31 have been canceled, according to a statement on the Abercrombie & Kent Web site. Affected passengers may request full refunds or choose to rebook with the line at a 10 percent discount. However, line spokesperson Pamela Lassers tells us Egypt calls will resume, effective April 1.
Avalon Waterways: A press release from Avalon Waterways says the line has canceled its cruises through March 31. Passengers booked on those sailings have the option of rebooking on an alternative sailing or receiving a full refund.
Azamara Club Cruises: Azamara has canceled calls on Egypt for Azamara Quest sailings through June. For details, see the statement on the line's Web site.
Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity has announced the cancellation of Egypt calls on several Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Constellation sailings from August through November. Click here for more information and revised itineraries.
Cosmos Tourama: A statement on the line's Web site says sailings have been canceled through March 31, and passengers can choose to rebook or receive full refunds.
Costa: In a statement from Costa, the line has restored its "Corals and Ancient Treasures" itinerary. However, some cruises will still sail modified itineraries. Passengers are being given the option to either rebook on select sailings, use a voucher to book another 2011 sailing or receive a refund according to the terms of their individual contracts.
Discover Egypt: The line has announced in a statement that it resumed all Luxor and Nile River calls as originally scheduled, beginning February 28.
Grand Circle Cruises: Grand Circle Cruises will resume all Egypt sailings, beginning with its March 14 departure. You can find more information on the line's Web site.
Louis Cruises: Louis Cruises has announced it will replace Alexandria and Port Said with Katakolon and Nafplion, respectively, on its March 12 12-night "Eastern Mediterranean Highlights" cruise; Ashdod will also be replaced by Haifa where applicable. On the line's March 4 eight-night "Tunis, Malta, Italy" sailing, Tunis will be scrapped for Katakolon. On the April 8 and April 22 "Three Continents & Istanbul" sailings, Limassol and Santorini will replace Port Said and Alexandria, respectively.
MSC: The line has announced in a statement (bottom of page) that, until further notice, Egypt ports will be pulled from the line's itineraries for the remainder of the season (through December). Visits to Jerusalem, Heraklion, Haifa, Athens, Izmir, Limassol, Valletta and/or Taormina will replace stops at Cairo and Alexandria. No compensation will be offered to passengers for the missed ports, as the situation is beyond the line's control. However, itineraries may go back to normal if the situation changes.
NCL: A statement on Norwegian Cruise Line's Web site (yellow "News Alert" tab on left) says the line will replace a sea day and an overnight in Alexandria with two overnights in Istanbul on its March 6 Norwegian Jade sailing. Because the situation is beyond the line's control, compensation will not be offered for the itinerary changes.
Oceania: Although the line is not due to call on Egypt until April, tentative itinerary changes to Oceania sailings have been drafted but have not yet been put into effect. If it becomes necessary to implement the changes, Nautica's April 20 voyage and Insignia's April 23 voyage will be affected. For more information, see the press release here.
Regent Seven Seas: Regent states on its Facebook page that no changes have yet been made, but line spokesperson Tim Rubacky tells us tentative changes have been made and will be implemented if the unrest continues. We're working on getting the specifics.
Royal Caribbean: RCI has announced changes to itineraries for a Brilliance of the Seas sailing and four Mariner of the Seas sailings, running through early July. Port fees and costs for shore excursions in canceled ports will be refunded to passengers. For more information, click here to read the line's travel updates.
Thomson Cruises: Thomson Cruises' Red Sea cruises have resumed, beginning with the line's March 3 sailing on Thomson Spirit. A statement on the company's Web site says port calls on Cairo have also been reinstated.
Titan HiTours: Titan spokesman Hugh Clayson has said the line plans to resume its Egypt sailings, beginning in mid-March.
Uniworld: In a statement, Uniworld announced the cancellation of Egypt sailings through April 23. Passengers may choose to rebook or receive full refunds. For sailings in late April and May, no cancellations have yet been made, so refunds are not allowed, but passengers booked on those sailings can rebook with no penalty.
Viking River Cruises: Viking's Egypt cruises are canceled through March 31, according to a statement from the line. Anyone booked on an affected sailing can rebook with no penalty or choose a full refund.
Voyages to Antiquity: The line has announced that two scheduled sailings -- "Carthage Must Be Destroyed" and "Everything in Alexandria Was Superlative," each with port calls in Egypt and/or Tunisia -- have been scrapped. Instead, Voyages to Antiquity will be offering a new Athens-to-Rome cruise April 4-18. Passengers booked on the original sailings can choose to book the new itinerary, book a different sailing later in the year or request a full refund.
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