Serenade of the Seas passengers vote for alternative route amid Middle East tensions

Passengers on board the Serenade of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that embarked on a 274-night world cruise in December 2023, have been given the opportunity to choose an alternative route for their voyage due to the unrest in the Middle East. The original itinerary included an 18-night segment that would visit Jordan, Egypt, and Israel, as well as a journey that would pass through Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. However, due to the security concerns and the travel restrictions in the region, the cruise line decided to offer two other options for the passengers to vote on.

Immersive Africa: A 20-port adventure across 11 African countries

The first option, dubbed Immersive Africa, is a 20-port adventure that would explore 11 African countries, such as Madagascar, Namibia, Ghana, and South Africa. The itinerary would showcase the diversity and the beauty of the African continent, from its wildlife and natural wonders to its culture and history. The itinerary would also include some unique and exclusive experiences, such as a safari in Kruger National Park, a visit to the Victoria Falls, and a cruise along the Nile River.

Africa and Greece: A mix of African and European destinations

The second option, called Africa and Greece, is a mix of African and European destinations that would sail around the African continent and explore the Greek Islands. The itinerary would include 19 ports in 10 countries, such as Seychelles, Cape Town, Tenerife, and Alexandria. The itinerary would offer a balance of relaxation and adventure, as well as a glimpse of the ancient and the modern civilizations. The itinerary would also feature some highlights, such as an overnight stay in Alexandria, a visit to the Acropolis in Athens, and a cruise through the Suez Canal.

Serenade of the Seas
Serenade of the Seas

The result of the vote: To be announced on February 27

The passengers who are on board for the full 9-month world cruise were asked to cast their votes for their preferred option by February 26. The result of the vote will be announced on February 27, and the chosen itinerary will take effect from March 1, when the ship departs from Dubai. The passengers who are not on board for the full world cruise, but have booked segments that are affected by the change, will be contacted by the cruise line and offered the option to either continue with the new itinerary or cancel their booking without penalty.

The reason for the change: A precautionary measure amid the conflict

The decision to change the itinerary was made by the cruise line as a precautionary measure amid the ongoing conflict and the instability in the Middle East. The region has been witnessing a series of violent clashes and attacks since October last year, when Hamas launched rockets into Israel, triggering a retaliatory airstrike by Israel. The situation has escalated further in recent weeks, with Iran and Saudi Arabia also involved in the confrontation. The conflict has also affected the travel and tourism sector, as several countries have issued travel warnings and bans for the region.

The reaction of the passengers: A mixed bag of emotions

The reaction of the passengers to the change of itinerary has been a mixed bag of emotions, as some have expressed disappointment and frustration, while others have shown understanding and excitement. Some of the passengers who were looking forward to visiting the Middle East have said that they feel cheated and misled by the cruise line, as they had booked the cruise specifically for that segment. They have also complained that the alternative options are not as appealing or as valuable as the original one. On the other hand, some of the passengers who were concerned about the safety and the security of the region have said that they appreciate the cruise line’s decision and its concern for the passengers’ well-being. They have also said that they are happy to explore new destinations and to have a say in the choice of the itinerary.

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