In light of the tensions in the Red Sea that make it unsafe for cruise travel for the foreseeable future, Royal Caribbean International has opted to let guests aboard the Ultimate World Cruise on Serenade of the Seas vote between two radically different Africa itineraries.

The votes have now been counted and the winner is the unique “Immersive Africa” option that will visit a wide range of ports from the Seychelles to the Canary Islands.

It’s official, Serenade of the Seas will be visiting 15 different ports of call along the southern and western coasts of Africa as the ship continues her 274-night Ultimate World Cruise.

The new route is the “Immersive Africa” itinerary option presented to passengers when it was decided the planned passage through the Red Sea and Suez Canal was no longer feasible, due to ongoing tensions in the region that are threatening marine traffic.

Instead of Royal Caribbean International simply deciding on a new itinerary and presenting it to passengers, those aboard the epic sailing were given the unprecedented opportunity to vote on two different options.

First was the “Immersive Africa” route that would visit ports in 11 different nations and territories in Africa, compared to an “Africa and Greece” itinerary that had far fewer port visits in Africa but included more extensive exploration of the Greek Islands.

Guests had several days to ask questions and cast their votes, and the clear winner was the first option for a deeper exploration of Africa and more unique ports of call.

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock)

“The new segment will take place between May and June 2024 and visit destinations such as Madagascar, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and more,” a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said. “We look forward to continuing to make once-in-a-lifetime memories with our adventurous guests as we visit another lineup of incredible destinations.”

Guests onboard the ship reported cheering and general celebration when the winning route was announced. While the exact vote tallies have not been revealed, the response seems to have been overwhelming.

Now, passengers can look forward to amazing destinations such as La Digue Island, Seychelles; Diego Suarez, Madagascar; Port Louis, Mauritius; Mossel Bay, South Africa; an overnight at Cape Town, South Africa; Luderitz, Namibia; Luanda, Angola; Takoradi, Ghana; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Dakar, Senegal; and more.

While there is much celebrating aboard Serenade of the Seas for the phenomenal itinerary to come, there are also some concerns.

For example, the recent quarantine of Norwegian Dawn over fears of a possible cholera outbreak could indicate greater scrutiny from local health authorities, which might mean that not all the planned ports of call could happen. Fortunately, Norwegian Dawn was cleared by additional health testing and able to continue sailing, despite a two-day delay.

Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate World Cruise (Photo Credit: Diego O. Galeano)

Some travelers may also lack specific vaccinations recommended or required to visit some African nations, such as yellow fever or malaria vaccinations.

Undoubtedly, Royal Caribbean International will help make arrangements to ensure all travelers are properly protected for the new itinerary, and guests are also being given the option to discontinue their sailing if they prefer not to take the new itinerary.

Three segments of the Ultimate World Cruise are now cancelled with this itinerary change: the “Ultimate Jordan, Egypt & Israel” (May 9-27) segment, the “Ultimate Bulgaria, Romania & Turkey” (May 27 to June 7) segment, and the “Ultimate Greece, Turkey & Italy” (June 7-20) segment.

“Compensation will be provided to our guests who are sailing and those who choose to cancel as a result of the update,” Royal Caribbean said.

Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas (Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia)

Guests impacted by the now-cancelled segments, as well as travelers aboard, will be contacted with more information in the days to come. Fortunately, the change has been made far enough in advance that there is ample time for the cruise line to help guests smoothly adjust their travel plans.

Read Also: The Impact of Red Sea Tensions on Cruising – UPDATED

At the moment, Serenade of the Seas is enjoying time in the South Pacific en route to New Zealand and Australia, after which she will sail to the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and other amazing destinations on one of the most amazing world cruise itineraries ever created.

Despite the alterations to the Middle East segments of the cruise that have had a knock on effect on her Greek Island destinations, Serenade of the Seas will still visit stunning ports in the Mediterranean, Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, Bermuda, and The Bahamas before ending the Ultimate World Cruise in Miami on September 10.

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