Cruise Itinerary Scrambler: Japan Back, Tunisia, Egypt Out

August 17, 2011
(5:00 p.m. EDT) -- Costa Cruises is returning to Japan, some five months after the deadly tsunami and subsequent meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear reactor sent lines scrambling.

Starting August 26, the 53,000-ton, 1,680-passenger Costa Classica will homeport in Shanghai, operating 12 four-, five- and six-night cruises to Japan and South Korea. Ports of call on the itineraries include Fukoka, Kagoshima and Nagasaki. Competitor Royal Caribbean is also back in the region, having returned in early August after a more than three month hiatus.

Not all lines have returned. Earlier this year, Holland America canceled all its visits to Japan through 2011 and altered a number of itineraries for 2012.

In Northern Africa and the Middle East, tidings aren't so favorable. Costa has cut all calls to Tunisia and Egypt for more than 200 Mediterranean voyages in 2012, citing a "persisting negative perception" as a consequence of the recent "difficult political and economical situation." Cruise Critic has surmised that eight of Costa's ships have been impacted. The vessels have been redeployed to a variety of regions, including the Black Sea, Portugal and Israel.

However, the line will still offer sailings in the Red Sea on Costa Voyager (currently sailing for sister line Iberocruceros as Grand Voyager). "The Red Sea is seen as a destination in itself, different from Egypt, and still has a positive perception," the line said.

--by Dan Askin, News Editor