Cruise Lines Cancel Trips & Ports of Call Due to Middle East Conflict

Update (10/10/23): MSC Cruises announced that MSC Musica’s October 12 call on Haifa, Israel will be cancelled. As well, planned stops on October 19 and October 26 will also be cancelled and replaced by stops in Rhodes and Marmaris, Turkey.

MSC Sinfonia had a scheduled stop in Haifa on October 16. This will be replaced by a call on Bodrum, Turkey. 

“The safety of our guests and crew is always our upmost priority and in an evolving situation such as this we will modify our itineraries as needed,” an MSC spokesperson said.

Original Article:

Cruises are a global business, and that means they have to be nimble around worldwide issues from weather to war. While we’ve seen a number of itineraries adjusted due to hurricanes and tropical systems this year, an outbreak of fighting in the Middle East is now causing cancellations to cruises and other changes.

Following an outbreak in fighting in the region, Royal Caribbean has canceled cruises from Haifa, Israel. Other ships have calls on the port, which could be canceled as well.

Specifically, a major attack in Israel during the weekend has led to disturbing reports of kidnapping, bombardment, hundreds killed, and thousands wounded. For an area that is well-known for skirmishes, this instance is considerably more severe.

As a result, a number of cruises have quickly been adjusted in order to keep passengers and crew safe.

First, Royal Caribbean has announced cancellations for Rhapsody of the Seas. The ship currently homeports in Haifa, Israel, sailing four and five-day cruises to Greece. According to a travel alert posted on the cruise line website, the October 9 and October 13 sailings from Haifa are canceled.

“We’ve been closely monitoring the geopolitical situation in Israel. With your safety and well-being in mind, and in conjunction with our Global Security Department, we’ve decided that we must cancel our October 9, 2023 and October 13, 2023 Rhapsody of the Seas sailings.

“We know how much time and effort go into planning your cruise, and we’re truly sorry for this disappointing news.”

Passengers will receive a 100% refund of their cruise fare as well as any pre-purchased items.

Rhapsody of the Seas has sailings scheduled from the port through early November. Sailings beyond those already canceled will require monitoring as they could be canceled as well should the conflict continue.

Beyond that, a number of cruise ships call on Israel. It appears at least for now, those are likely to stay clear of the area.

For example, Celebrity Apex was set to make a call on Haifa today (Sunday, October 8) according to It now shows Apex as docked in Cyprus.

Other ships set to visit the area in the coming week include:

  • Odyssey of the Seas
  • Mein Schiff 5
  • Norwegian Jade
  • MSC Musica
  • Seven Seas Voyager

It seems likely that these ships could see adjustments to their itineraries in order to avoid the area while the conflict continues.

This is not the first time that war has led to changes in cruise routes. Following the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine, cruise lines canceled stops in Saint Petersburg, Russia, a popular port of call on European cruises. That’s continued to this day.

In other words, this could be just the start of changes if fighting continues.

If you have an upcoming cruise with a stop in the region, your cruise line will be in touch about any itinerary updates to your trip.

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  1. Same here, different Ship. NCL Dawn depart Istanbul 11/24/23. Necessary to fly out 11/21 to get there for the cruise) (Protesters in the streets in Istanbul and all over Turkey) i’m Calling NCL daily. Customer sevice Can’t give any updates. Told to wait. No emails with updates on cruise or port changes. Only NCL emails with Airline confirmations to and from. I’m asking are they staying on top of the escalation of events in other countrys surrounding Israel. The hundreds of ships from different countries out in the gulf and elsewhere. They say they are watching what is going on. I believe they are waiting for the customer to cancel. If you cancel you get taxes back only.

  2. Norwegian Gem is set to sail from Turkey to Israel and Egypt on 11/1/23. NCL has not informed any of the passengers about port changes. We have heard nothing from NCL since the war began. Our war clause in our trip protection will result in losing 100% of our cruise and airfare if we cancel. Our itinerary in the Middle East is no longer safe to travel. NCL is dragging their feet hoping we will cancel so no refunds or future cruise credit will be given. All of the passengers are extremely concerned at this situation. NCL still remains silent. We keep being told wait for an update by email.

    • 100%. We are on the same ship. I have contacted them every other day since the first attack. They have cancelled the 2 Israel ports, but never emailed us. I also looked up the Port Said arrival and departure on the Ports website and the times have changed. NCL still has us coming in at 6 and departing at 9, but the port has us coming in at 9 and leaving at 6. No way to be able to do an excursion. I totally agree that they are waiting for us to cancel. We are not allowed FCC for missing Israel. I chatted tonight trying to get more information, but the rep cut off the chat after I said we are going into dangerous territory and we cannot get any information? We all have flights that were not cheap (especially from Athens) and cannot get a straight answer. First time cruise with them. I am usually Princess, but thought I would give NCL a try.

  3. Why has Oceania Cruise line not notified it’s passengers of its intentions on the 11/1
    Holy lands cruise.
    How long must we wait to find out?


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