In a decisive response to escalating tensions in the Red Sea, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the cancellation of select sailings for Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Sky at the end of 2024.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced the cancellation of sailings for two of its ships due to escalating conflicts in the Red Sea, affecting Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Sky’s planned voyages.

Norwegian Dawn’s sailings between October 27, 2024, and November 22, 2024, have been cancelled. Similarly, Norwegian Sky’s sailings between November 4, 2024, and December 4, 2024, will no longer proceed as planned.

In a detailed statement, the cruise line expressed its ongoing concern for the situation in the Red Sea, where Houthi rebels have been targeting cargo ships with drone attacks and sea mines. 

“We have been monitoring the situation in the Red Sea and despite our best hopes that it would de-escalate, we have made the decision to alter published itineraries scheduled to transit through the region,” the statement read. 

Read Also:The Impact of Red Sea Tensions on Cruising

It continued, “We share your disappointment and want to assure you that this modification was made with great consideration, as the safety of our guests and that of our crew is always our No. 1 priority.”

Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship in Portland (Photo Courtesy: Portland Port)

NCL’s decision mirrors that of other major cruise lines, including MSC Cruises, Silversea, Carnival Corporation, Azamara, P&O Cruises, and Viking Cruises, who have also announced adjustments and cancellations to avoid the conflicted region.

The recent itinerary cancellations impact two specific sailings aboard Norwegian Dawn, a Dawn-class ship capable of accommodating 2,340 passengers in double capacity and boasting a gross tonnage of 92,250. 

The affected sailings include the “10-Night Greek Isles: Santorini, Istanbul & Mykonos” voyage, which was scheduled to depart from Piraeus (Athens) on October 27, 2024, featuring stops in destinations such as Iraklion, Santorini, and Mykonos, Greece; Kusadasi (Ephesus) and Istanbul, Turkey; and Alexandria, Egypt.

Additionally, the “16-Night Middle East: Egypt, Jordan & UAE” cruise, set to depart from Athens on November 6, 2024, has been cancelled. This voyage was planned to explore key locations across the Middle East, including Alexandria, Port Said, and Safaga, Egypt; Aqaba, Jordan; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, incorporating a passage through the Suez Canal.

Norwegian Sky Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: EQRoy)

Norwegian Sky, classified as a Sun-class ship with a capacity to host 2,004 passengers at double occupancy and a gross tonnage exceeding 77,000, has seen all of its November sailings withdrawn following the completion of its “14-Night Transatlantic: Spain & Azores,” concluding in Barcelona on November 4, 2024.

Looking ahead to the resumption of operations, Norwegian Dawn is still scheduled to embark on a “16-Night Africa: Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania & Oman” voyage, with a departure from Dubai scheduled for November 22, 2024. 

In a similar vein, Norwegian Sky is slated to begin its “17-Night Asia: Maldives, Thailand & Seychelles” itinerary on December 20, 2024. The cruise will depart from Port Louis, Mauritius, and conclude in Singapore.

The Red Sea, a crucial maritime corridor connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal, emerged as a hotbed of geopolitical tension at the start of the year. Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, have intensified their efforts to disrupt maritime traffic in recent months.

Utilizing armed drones and sea mines, they have targeted oil tankers and cargo ships, aiming to compromise the safety and security of international shipping lanes also utilized by cruise liners. 

In light of the cancellations, Norwegian Cruise Line has committed to refunding all affected passengers to their original form of payment. 

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