With tensions continuing to rise in the Red Sea, yet another cruise line has decided to alter course to avoid the region. 

In an abundance of caution, Princess Cruises announced that Island Princess would no longer be sailing to the Middle East or Asia as part of its current world cruise due to the uncertainty surrounding the conflict. 

Island Princess embarked on a 111-night world cruise on January 4, 2024, with the intention of visiting 51 destinations across 27 countries and six continents. 

But for cruisers hoping to check off the Middle East and Asia from their travel bucket lists, they’ll have to hope for better luck next time. 

Due to the ongoing political conflict in the Red Sea region, the cruise line has made the decision to avoid the area altogether, meaning the world cruise will no longer visit the Middle East or Asia and will bypass the Suez Canal. Princess Cruises explained the change to guests in a letter on January 30, 2024. 

“Based on the current security environment and future uncertainties in this area of the world, we have made the difficult decision to bypass the Red Sea and surrounding region, including the Suez Canal,” reads the cruise line’s letter.

Photo Credit: Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock

This change impacts the Island Princess’itinerary beginning on February 16, 2024, with the 91,627-gross ton vessel now spending more time in Australian waters.

The 2,200 passenger ship will call on Melbourne, Australia, on February 16, Perth (Fremantle), Australia on February 21, Port Louis, Mauritius on February 29, and Cape Town, South Africa on March 6. The ship will remain at sea between the port calls, spending up to seven days at sea between destinations.

The current unrest in the Red Sea is largely attributed to Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have been disrupting a key maritime route that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean. While no cruise ships have been attacked during the conflict, many cruise lines have opted to avoid the region to be on the safe side, which now includes Princess Cruises. 

In addition to the port changes, guests who were planning to disembark in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on March 11 will also now be disembarking five days earlier in Cape Town. 

“We have revised our ports of call in Australia and will no longer visit Asia or the Middle East. Instead, we will make a call to Mauritius followed by Cape Town, South Africa – where you will now disembark five days earlier on March 6, instead of in Dubai, UAE,” Princess Cruises said in its letter.

Island Princess Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Andres Felipe Perez)

The change in itinerary means the following ports will be skipped: Burnie, Tasmania; Bali, Indonesia; Singapore; Klang (Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Salalah, Oman; Aqaba, Jordan; and the Suez Canal.

Read Also: Are Cruises Safe? What You Really Need to Know

As other cruise lines have already done, Princess Cruises opted to reroute Island Princess to avoid the escalating tensions in the Red Sea out of an abundance of caution.

“As always, the safety and well-being of our guests and crew is our foremost priority. Our company’s Global Security team, working in close consultation with security experts and government authorities around the world, is actively monitoring the evolving Red Sea regional situation,” wrote the cruise line.

In addition to Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line has decided to reroute itineraries for 12 ships across its seven brands, including Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises, Seabourn, and AIDA Cruises. MSC Cruises has also made itinerary changes to its own world cruise for the same reason.

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