(5:25 p.m. EST) -- In the wake of an engine room fire that crippled Costa Allegra and sidelined the ship indefinitely as it undergoes repairs, Costa Cruises has announced that it will be redeploying the Red Sea-based Costa Voyager to cover for the out-of-service vessel.
Beginning March 18 and continuing through at least November, the 832-passenger Costa Voyager, which was acquired in November 2011 from Spain-based sister line, Iberocruceros, will take over the 792-passenger Allegra's Europe itineraries. Voyager's Red Sea itineraries will be suspended temporarily. (Costa Allegra was sailing a 28-day repositioning cruise between Madagascar and Savona when the fire broke out; the cruise was scheduled to end on March 18.)
Costa is reaching out to passengers on affected sailings. Here's what you need to know.
For Passengers Booked on Costa Allegra:
Costa Voyager will sail the following Allegra itineraries: Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruises, March 18 - July 1; a nine-night cruise from Amsterdam to Savona, July 13; weeklong Mediterranean cruises, July 23 - August 20; cruises of various lengths in the Mediterranean, from August 28.
Passengers booked on a Costa Allegra cruise may choose to cancel without penalty. These travelers will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit worth 30 percent of the original cruise fare.
For Passengers Booked on Costa Voyager:
Costa Voyager will not sail its "Corals and Ancient Treasures" Red Sea itinerary for at least the remainder of Costa's fiscal year (through November). Passengers booked on these cruises will be switched to an equivalent cruise and have their fares protected.
Alternatives include seven-night Middle East cruises on Costa Favolosa; seven-night Caribbean cruises on Costa Luminosa; and seven-night Eastern or Western Mediterranean itineraries on Costa Atlantica, Costa Classica, Costa Fascinosa, Costa Favolosa, Costa Magica, Costa Romantica or Costa Serena.
Costa will also reimburse airline changes fees of up to $250 in the form of an onboard credit.
Passengers who choose instead to cancel will each receive a full refund and a future cruise credit worth 30 percent of the original cruise fare.
--by Erica Silverstein, Features Editor