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Royal Caribbean cancels cruise because of Houthi Attacks in Red Sea

16 Apr 2024
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has been forced to cancel a cruise due to the conflict in the region of the Red Sea.

Anthem of the Seas in Spain

Guests booked on the October 14, 2024 sailing of Anthem of the Seas were informed by Royal Caribbean that they have decided to cancel a Middle East cruise because of concerns for the ship's safety.

A rise of attacks since October 2023 on commercial ships in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden by the Houthis has greatly impacted tourism in the area. This includes pirate activity and even drones to attack ships in the area.

There have been more than 60 recorded attacks so far, and the incidents have drawn a military response from a number of countries, including the United States.

Photo by Kokza Ekn

"We have all been closely monitoring the unrest in the Red Sea and were hopeful everything would settle down. Unfortunately, due to security risks and with the safety of our guests and crew top of mind, we've made the difficult decision that Anthem of the Seas will instead have to transit around the southern tip of Africa."

Instead of sailing through the Suez Canal, Anthem of the Seas will sail without any passengers around Africa.

Anthem of the Seas was to sail through the Suez Canal as part of a repositioning from Southampton, UK to her new homeport in Singapore. It's not clear yet if any of the scheduled sailings from Singapore will be affected.

Red Sea map

The cruise industry has had to reroute and cancel cruises as a result of violence in the area. 

"We're truly sorry for the impact that this has on your vacation plans," Royal Caribbean said in a statement to guests booked on the now cancelled cruise.

This isn't the first Royal Caribbean cruise to have changes made to avoid the Middle East.

Serenade of the Seas in Maine

Royal Caribbean announced its 9-month world cruise would be re-routed around Africa as well.  The original plan was for Serenade of the Seas to go through the Suez Canal in May. 

Instead of sailing through the Middle East, Serenade of the Seas will transit Africa and offer its guests an immersive tour of the continent. The 42-day route will visit a number of countries around Africa, including the Seychelles, South Africa, Namibia, Ghana, and Senegal.

Houthi attacks wrecking vacation plans

Island Princess Cruise ship

While cruises in the Middle East do not constitute a major region for sailings, it's certainly impacting many lines and people's vacations.

Attacks by the Iran-backed rebel group have prompted a military response, and the cruise industry has had to shift gears.

Royal Caribbean Group had already made changes to avoid the region when the Palestinians sparked a war with Israel on October 7. The ensuing conflict sparked the Houthis to launch their own attacks on interests in the region as a sign of support.

Middle east map

Carnival Corporation rerouted itineraries for 12 ships across seven brands for voyages scheduled to sail through the Red Sea through May.

This includes two world cruises on Princess cruise ships.

MSC Cruises cancelled three sailings in April to avoid the Red Sea. Instead of going through the Middle East, the MSC ships will sail with no passengers on board and go around Africa.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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