Passenger cruises from Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been impacted by the ongoing Red Sea crisis, with operators cancelling or rerouting their ships in response.

AIDA Cruises, Carnival Corporation’s German subsidiary, is the latest operator to do so, cancelling the itineraries of three ships from its spring 2024 season, which it said will now “head directly for their summer cruising areas in Europe without guests”. These include several trans-Suez voyages that were scheduled from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Nearly six weeks of sailing have been affected on certain dates aboard the AIDAbella, currently in Southeast Asia, which was due for repositioning from Dubai to Mallorca in April, and AIDAprima Globetrotter cruises, starting in March and April from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Hamburg.

Last week, because of the risk to sailing in the Red Sea, MSC Cruises cancelled three repositioning Grand Voyage trips that were to be made in April from the UAE and South Africa to Europe. The operator said that ongoing attacks on vessels in the region had forced them to cancel several trips, including a 21-night cruise by MSC Opera from Dubai to Genoa and a 23-night voyage by MSC Virtuosa from Dubai to Southampton, UK.

Royal Caribbean also said in a statement last week it had cancelled two voyages aboard its Silversea Cruises, one from Muscat to Dubai, set to sail in the third week of January, and another from Dubai to Mumbai, which was scheduled for January 26.

Since November, in response to Israel’s war with Gaza, Iran-backed Houthi rebels have stepped up attacks on commercial shipping vessels travelling through the Red Sea, prompting many shipping groups to cease operations in the area or reroute traffic around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, resulting in significant delays and spiralling costs. In response to the attacks, a US-led coalition has retaliated by targeted attacks on the Houthi militia in Yemen in recent weeks.

(Reporting by Bindu Rai; editing by Seban Scaria)