Cruise Lines Scrap Syria and Libya Calls As Violence Continues

July 6, 2011

(12:50 p.m. EDT) -- Cruise lines are revising their autumn itineraries as unrest in areas of the Middle East continues.

It's no surprise that P&O Cruises has scrapped three calls to Tripoli in Libya, although a statement from the line does say it will revisit the idea of Libya calls if the situation improves.

For now, though, a scheduled call by Adonia on December 31 has been replaced with a stop in La Goulette, Tunisia. Oriana's Tripoli stop on its world cruise has been substituted with Naples and Malta, while Alexandria replaces Tripoli on Oceana's 24-night cruise to Israel and Egypt in March 2012.

Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office advice for Syria remains severe, stating that all British nationals should leave the country while they still can, and advising against all travel to the whole of Syria. Lines that have been keeping an eye on the situation in Syria are reluctantly pulling out as the violence there worsens, issuing new itineraries for cruises later this year.

Voyages to Antiquity has merged its last three cruises of the season into two. On the November 8 departure, the line has replaced visits to Tartous and Latakia in Syria with an extended spell in the Red Sea, during which passengers will spend two days exploring Israel from Eilat. The final cruise of the 2011 season, rescheduled from November 26 to November 19, now includes two nights in Amman, Jordan, and an overnight at a five-star hotel in Petra instead of a stop in Tripoli.

Noble Caledonia has issued a complete new mini-brochure for three autumn cruises. The boutique line has ditched Tripoli, Tartous and Latakia, but its 114-passenger ship, Island Sky, will still explore the Levant, calling at some little-known Turkish towns (Antakya, Iskenderun and Mersin), as well the Greek islands, Cyprus and Albania. A decision has already been made not to visit Syria in 2012.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has replaced Tartous with an extra night in Aqaba, Jordan, on Seven Seas Voyager's October 29 Istanbul to Luxor cruise. Compagnie du Ponant has scrapped Tartous and Latakia on its Athens to Aqaba cruise on Le Diamant on October 12 and replaced them with Patmos in Greece and Alexandria, Egypt.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor