In light of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, a unit of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Oceania Cruises, has decided to make adjustments to its 2024 itineraries, including the cancellation of stops in Israel. The decision, revealed in an email to travel agents seen by Reuters, cited the current situation in the region as the reason behind this change.
Instead of visiting Israel, the affected cruises will now include port stops in alternative destinations such as Trieste, Italy. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the parent company of Oceania Cruises, has not issued an official statement in response to this development.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas has had a significant impact on travel in the region, leading to a sharp decline in tourism across Israel and the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank. International air carriers have suspended trips to key destinations like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as the situation remains unresolved.
Additionally, MSC Cruises, a privately held cruise operator based in Geneva, Switzerland, has decided to cancel its full winter schedule, which originally involved sailing in the Red Sea from November to April 2024. Instead, MSC Cruises will introduce a new itinerary with several West Mediterranean stops, avoiding ports in proximity to Israel. The company is closely monitoring the situation in the Middle East and made a statement about its plans last week.
As of now, it is unclear whether other major cruise operators, such as Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Corp, have made similar adjustments to their 2024 itineraries. They have not yet provided official comments on the matter.
The U.S. State Department has issued travel advisories recommending that Americans should not travel to Gaza and should reconsider travel to Israel and the West Bank due to the ongoing conflict and security concerns.
In response to the situation in the extended Middle East and northeast Africa region, private membership travel agency Essentialist has canceled 75% of its trips to the area. The company's CEO, Joan Roca, mentioned that some travelers who had planned trips to Egypt have opted to rebook for Southern Spain for the upcoming holidays.