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Seabourn amends 2024 Grand Africa voyage to avoid Red Sea amid security crisis Seabourn amends 2024 Grand Africa voyage to avoid Red Sea amid security crisis

The luxury cruise line Seabourn has announced that Seabourn Sojourn will no longer be transitting the Suez Canal on her Grand Africa voyage in November, with all port calls in the Middle East cancelled as a result.

The Grand Voyage will continue as planned, and will remain a 90-day itinerary, but the ship will no longer transit the Suez Canal, to prioritize safety and avoid the Red Sea, according to a company statement.

Seabourn Sojourn will depart from Barcelona on November 30th as originally scheduled, but instead of visting 44 ports in 26 countries, she will instead call at 42 destinations in 20 countries.

Port calls in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ashdod in Israel have been dropped, along with Sharm El-Sheikh and Safaga in Egypt, and Salalah in Oman. The original itinerary featured six overnight calls, but the ship will now stay overnight in seven ports.

Overnight stays now include Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, Casablanca in Morocco, Walvis Bay in Namibia, Zanzibar in Tanzania, and Mahe and Victoria in the Seychelles.

“I am so delighted for our guests, as I feel our deployment team did an amazing job crafting this modified Grand Africa Voyage that provides ample opportunities for our guests to discover Africa’s stunning natural wonders and diverse cultures,” said Natalya Leahy, President of Seabourn.

“This 90-day itinerary with 42 ports is Seabourn’s most in-depth Africa experience that I know so many guests are looking forward to,” she added.

Featured destinations of the 90-day Grand Africa Voyage include: Mindelo, Ilha De São Vicente, Cape Verde; Maputo, Mozambique; Walvis Bay, Namibia; Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles; Cape Town, South Africa; Bom Bom Island, Sao Tome & Principe; Casablanca, Morocco; and Banjul, Gambia.

All major cruise lines have amended itineraries that previously featured a Suez Canal transit, with all opting to instead sail around the southern tip of Africa to avoid the Red Sea, due to attacks on international shipping by Houthi militia in Yemen.

Although no cruise ships have been targetted, cruise lines have been routing ships around Africa since the beginning of the year in an abundance of caution.

The crisis has had a significant impact on the Middle East cruise sector, with deployment down due to many cruise lines opting to remain in home markets in the Meditteranean and North Africa.

At the recent Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, however, industry experts expressed optimism regarding the long-term prospects for growth in the regional cruise sector, stressing its proven resilience against short-term disruption.

Source: Cruise Arabia & Africa