Costa Cruises cancels all Egypt and Tunisia calls


In the latest tourism-related fallout from the growing unrest across North Africa, industry giant Costa Cruises yesterday canceled all upcoming calls in Egypt and Tunisia.

It said it wouldn’t return to the countries until ”relevant authorities … declare the restoration of stability and safety.”

Europe’s biggest cruise line, which draws an international clientele including some from America, has a number of ships that normally visit Egypt on a regular basis, including two vessels that until this week have been sailing voyages on the Red Sea out of the Egyptian resort town of Sharm-El-Sheik.

Among the changes Costa is announcing:

• The 820-passenger Costa Allegra and 776-passenger Costa Marina, which until now have operated the line’s Red Sea cruises out of Sharm-El-Sheik, will redeploy to Aqaba, Jordan. New Red Sea itineraries will skip Egypt calls such as Safaga (gateway to the ruins of Luxor and other historic sites), and instead focus on Jordan and Israel. Departure dates for the voyages are also changing.

• Costa ships, such as the 2,114-passenger Costa Mediterranea and 3,000-passenger Costa Pacifica, that operate Mediterranean cruises that include a one-day call at Alexandria, Egypt, will replace the visit with a one-day stop in Greece or Israel.

• Costa ships, such as the 2,720-passenger Costa Magica, that operate Mediterranean cruises that include a one-day call at Tunis, Tunisia, will replace the visit with a one-day stop at Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Malta; or Cagliari, Italy.

”Costa Cruises considers the safety of its guests and crew members a top priority,” the line said in a statement.

Costa’s move comes as many river cruise lines and tour companies that offer cruises on the Nile are suspending Egypt operations through the end of February or, in some cases, the end of March.

Owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp, Costa is one of the world’s biggest cruise lines, with 14 ships in operation and two more on order.