November 30, 2012
Regent Seven Seas Cruises joined the growing number of lines that have made changes, canceling a planned stop in Cairo after reports surfaced of scheduled mass protests beginning November 9 in major cities in Egypt.
Passengers onboard Voyager were notified of the itinerary changes November 7 -- two days before their scheduled stop. They were told the switch was made to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
Rather than visit Cairo, a high-interest port among travelers, Voyager is extending its November 8 stop in Alexandria and offering an excursion to the pyramids.
Voyager also has dropped Sharm el Sheikh from its current sailing, and will overnight in Aqaba, Jordan, on Sunday November 11 instead.
A statement from the line said: "Our representatives on the ground in Egypt have informed us that they expect a sizeable demonstration with large crowds in and around Cairo on Friday, November 9th. In an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to cancel Seven Seas Voyager's call on Port Said on Friday.
"Additionally, we have cancelled the ship's call on Sharm El Sheik as reports from our ground operators have advised us that security in that port cannot be guaranteed." Several other cruise lines have pulled out of Egypt in recent months as unrest continues.
Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, canceled all scheduled ports of call in Egypt for Norwegian Jade between November 21 and April 17.
Feedback from guests and lingering concerns about the situation in the Middle East facilitated the company's decision, according to Norwegian.
Cruise Critic members also have been talking about the worsening situation in Egypt.
Cruiser1955, onboard P&O's Arcadia, wrote: “There is a warning that demonstrations may take place on Fridays -- we will be in Alexandria on a Friday. Hopefully the situation will not deteriorate and we will still be able to visit as planned.”
A number of other ships will be in Egypt at the same time, including MSC Armonia (overnight November 9), AIDAdiva (on November 12), Silversea's Silver Wind (November 16), Arcadia (November 16) and Seabourn Pride (November 23).
A spokeswoman for Silversea confirmed the cruise would go ahead as planned but said the line always monitors the situation in potentially volatile areas. Neither MSC nor Seabourn are making any planned itinerary changes, both lines confirmed.
We are still waiting to hear back from other lines -- including river operators -- about their plans and will update you as soon as we hear.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a long-standing travel advisory for Northern Egypt and the Sinai area, but none for Cairo, Sharm el Sheikh or Alexandria. The U.S. Department of State hasn't issued travel warnings or advisories for these areas.
-- Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor