Cruises cancel Egypt and Tunisia ports of call following violent anti-Western protests

By Travelmail Reporter

Pakistani Sunni Muslim protesters torch a US flag

Fears: Violence has taken place across the Muslim world, prompting cruise lines to cancel stops in popular Egypt and Tunisia

Major cruise lines are diverting their ships to avoid popular holiday destinations where there have been violent protests against the American amateur film The Innocence of Muslims.

In response to bloody clashes outside embassies, including an attack in Libya which resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, cruise companies are altering their itineraries to avoid trouble spots.

Royal Caribbean confirmed that it has taken the precaution of cancelling Mariner of the Seas' overnight stop in Alexandria, Egypt, on September 18. Instead the ship will visit Sicily, Italy and Valletta, Malta.

Holland America has already replaced a September 14 stop in La Goulette, Tunisia, with a visit to Sardinia, Italy, instead.

And Cunard's Queen Elizabeth skipped its Alexandria port of call on September 15, in favour of a stop in Rhodes.

Other companies, including Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises, which also widely cater to American tourists, have confirmed they are closely monitoring the situation in Egypt and Tunisia.

A spokesperson for Celebrity Cruises said: 'At this time, Celebrity Cruises has not cancelled any port calls to Egypt. 

'We will continue to closely monitor the changing situation in Egypt and will contact guests or their travel agents should we make any modifications to upcoming itineraries.'

Penny Guy, spokesperson for the Passenger Shipping Association, told TravelMail: 'The first priority of any cruise line is the safety of their passengers and crew.  

'Cruise companies have well established security assessment procedures in place and one of the intrinsic advantages of cruising is that ships can be rerouted to avoid specific areas with minimal disruption to passengers.'

She added: 'Cruise lines will always closely monitor situations and keep passengers updated about any changes to the itinerary.'

Despite the unrest, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not imposed any restrictions on travel for British holidaymakers. However, it has warned holidaymakers to avoid any situations where protests could flare up.

In reference to Tunisia, the FCO explained: 'There is also the possibility that international news events will trigger anti-Western demonstrations.

'Violent protests took place in front of the US Embassy in Tunis on 14 September resulting in several deaths, multiple injuries and significant damage to the Embassy and nearby American school.'

It 'strongly recommends' that British nationals avoid all forms of demonstration in case they do not remain peaceful.

The U.S. Department of State is advising American citizens to avoid all travel to Tunisia.

In Egypt, the FCO advises British travellers to exercise caution in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy and avoid any demonstrations

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