Update: Few Cruises Impacted By Beirut Crisis

July 17, 2006
(Updated 11:02 a.m.) -- The Middle East conflict between Israeli soldiers and Islamic militants that spread into Lebanon and Beirut -- a newly popular port of call for cruise lines that ply more exotic waters -- has caused only a few lines to change plans.

Silversea Cruises' Silver Wind had expected to call at Beirut today; the line has replaced calls to Syria and Lebanon on the current voyage with three Turkish ports (Alanya, Marmaris, Antalya). The Cyprus-based Louis Cruise Lines, the only other line impacted by the violence, has also diverted and will visit Rhodes instead.

Silversea has a handful of visits planned to Beirut through next spring, though the next scheduled call is in September. A spokesman tells us the line is currently looking at all Syria and Lebanon voyages for the rest of the year, and will make the needed changes.

Representatives from Crystal, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas and Seabourn say their lines have not offered Beirut on itineraries. "We haven't felt that Lebanon was stable enough to schedule as yet," notes Seabourn's Bruce Good, "and I guess we were right!"

Beirut, once known as the Paris of the Middle East before a 17 year war took its toll on the Lebanese capital, has been greatly restored. Special attractions include excavated sites from the Ottoman, Byzantine, Roman, Persian and Phoenician periods and the chic Raouche district, which lies along the Mediterranean Sea.