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Msc cruises has cancelled the full winter 2023-2024 programme of msc orchestra planned in the red sea and msc sinfonia as the ship’s main highlight in its itinerary was haifa in israel.  .

Geneva, Switzerland, 23 October 2023 - MSC Cruises has cancelled the full winter programme of MSC Orchestra that was planned in the Red Sea from 8 November 2023 to 17 April 2024 because of the proximity of some of ship’s ports of call to Israel and the number of restrictions in the bordering countries that would have adversely affected the holiday experience for passengers.

The line is also making changes to some of its other itineraries in light of the current geopolitical situation and to ensure the safety of its passengers and crew. MSC Cruises added that some travel restrictions have been made by local authorities in certain destinations and also some national governments have issued advisories against travel to certain areas.

The winter programme for MSC Sinfonia from 12 November 2023 to 15 April 2024 has been cancelled as the ship’s main highlight in its itinerary was Haifa in Israel.

There are some minor changes to the itineraries of the grand voyages for MSC Virtuosa, MSC Opera and MSC Splendida and to two 11-night sailings for MSC Armonia . Passengers affected by the changes can move their cruise of a similar length of travel to an alternative ship and itinerary or request a full refund.

MSC Cruises added that the safety of its passengers and crew is always its upmost priority and during an evolving situation it will continue to monitor the situation and modify ship itineraries if necessary.

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MSC changes East Med cruises for Sinfonia and Musica ships

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MSC Cruises has made significant adjustments to the Eastern Mediterranean sailings for the MSC Sinfonia and MSC Musica ships in response to the ongoing conflict in Israel.

For the MSC Sinfonia, a series of eight 11-night Eastern Mediterranean voyages set to commence on October 21, 2023, will see the replacement of Haifa, Israel with Istanbul, Turkey . Additionally, Rhodes will be substituted by Piraeus, Greece (Athens) , while Limassol, Cyprus , will be exchanged for Izmir, Turkey . The revised port list includes Genoa , Civitavecchia (Rome) , Messina , Piraeus (Athens), Izmir, Istanbul, and Heraklion .

As for MSC Musica, three 7-night voyages departing from Piraeus (Athens) on October 18 and October 25 will see Haifa, Israel, replaced with Rhodes. The sailing scheduled for November 1 will substitute the port with Marmaris, Turkey .

Passengers on these itineraries are being informed of the itinerary changes. Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, emphasized the company's unwavering commitment to prioritizing the safety of passengers and crew and expressed that swift revisions were made to offer attractive alternative options for the winter season.

Amid the recent developments in the region, various cruise lines, tour operators, and airlines have been making itinerary and route adjustments, with some even opting to cancel certain departures or itineraries to avoid areas affected by the conflict.

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These two cruise lines canceled sailings to avoid the Red Sea amid attacks

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Cruise lines have canceled sailings in the wake of attacks by the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Red Sea.

MSC Cruises scrapped three cruises, including a sailing from Dubai to Southampton, England, on MSC Virtuosa, departing March 30, and a sailing on MSC Splendida from Cape Town, South Africa, to Genoa, Italy, departing April 3. The line also canceled MSC Opera’s voyage from Dubai to Genoa, departing on April 21.

“The safety of passengers and crew is MSC Cruises’ number one priority,” the line said in a news release on Tuesday. “The company attempted to find suitable alternative itineraries, but ultimately found no viable options and regrettably had to cancel the voyages. The three ships will transfer directly to Europe without any passengers on board and avoid transiting through the Red Sea.”

Passengers booked on those sailings can move to a later Grand Voyage of a similar length at no cost, or rebook on another MSC cruise, receiving a partial refund or paying for the price difference. They can also opt for a full refund without a cancellation fee.

Silversea Cruises similarly canceled multiple sailings. The luxury line canceled a Jan. 16 cruise from Muscat, Oman, to Dubai and a Jan. 26 cruise from Dubai to Mumbai on its Silver Moon ship.

“The safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit is always our top priority,” the cruise line said in a statement, adding that impacted passengers and their travel agents had been “informed of the reprotection options.” The line also previously amended Silver Moon’s Jan. 6 itinerary from Aqaba, Jordan to Muscat, to disembark guests in Piraeus, Greece.

The ship’s Feb. 11 voyage from Mumbai to Singapore is currently scheduled to proceed.

The Houthis have launched attacks on commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea following the Israel-Hamas war, claiming they are showing solidarity with the Palestinians. The Biden administration relisted the Yemen-based militants as a “specially designated global terrorist” group on Wednesday after previously removing them in 2021.

Your cruise was canceled: Now what?

"They have endangered U.S. personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized global trade, and threatened freedom of navigation," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement. "The United States and the international community have been united in our response and in condemning these attacks in the strongest terms."

Many cruise lines also canceled and changed itineraries late last year after the war began.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at [email protected].

NBC Miami

2 families sue cruise line as numbers show spike in reports of sexual assaults at sea

A cruise line is facing new lawsuits after two passengers say the company failed to keep them safe on board.

NBC 6 Investigators learned their allegations are among dozens of similar incidents reported on cruises last year.

These incidents allegedly took place on two separate MSC cruise ships. One involved a girl who said another child touched her inappropriately on board. We are not identifying the passengers or their families because of the nature of the cases. 

The mother of the six-year-old described the terrifying moment in an exclusive interview with NBC6.

“I got a phone call one night when she was on the cruise,” she said. “She told me while she was at kids’ club that she had to go to the bathroom, and a boy kept walking in and out of the stall and ended up touching her hip and private area while she was using the toilet.”

She says it happened last January while on board the MSC Divina.

“As a mom not being there for your kid when they got through something like that is extremely difficult,” she added.

According to this lawsuit, the girl was at the ship’s “mini club” for kids when she had to use the restroom. She claims an employee instructed her not to lock the restroom door and “failed to monitor” it. Then, the boy went inside. 

“I went right back to the kids’ club and I filed a report with the staff there,” the girl’s grandmother said.

But the girl’s family claims the ship didn’t report the incident to authorities. 

“There were no actions taken to begin with,” the mother said.

In a separate lawsuit, a passenger on the MSC Meraviglia says she was attacked in March after her waiter on the ship followed her cousin back to the room the women were sharing.

“Very scary,” she said. “As soon as she opened the door and was walking in, he came out of nowhere so when she turned around he was in the room right behind her, closing the door.”

The lawsuit alleges he refused to leave after several requests.

At some point, she claims in the suit her cousin went to the restroom and the crew member “got on top” of her and “began undoing his belt…throughout the physical struggle…continuously licking her face and trying to undress her.” 

“My cousin came running out of the bathroom and it kind of startled him,” she said. “He kind of loosened up a little bit and I was able to slide out from under him.”

The woman explained she ran to the hallway and shouted for help.

“He threatened us that if we were to say anything if anything was to happen that he was going to come back,” she said.

Records provided to NBC6 by Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Monday show the cruise line interviewed the accused crew member after the alleged incident and shared his statement with law enforcement. In it, he claimed the women invited him to their room and there was no physical interaction between them.

The report states "the ship plans on dismissing this crew member upon arrival," to port.

The Brevard County State Attorney’s Office didn’t press charges against the crew member.

NBC6 Investigators found reports of this type of incident went up last year.

A total of 131 sexual assault cases, including rape, were reported to the FBI, compared to 87 in 2022. The cases involve different cruise lines. In most of them, the attacker was a passenger.

Attorney Jack Hickey says the number is likely higher.

“So everything involving a non-U.S. citizen, not reported,” he said. “Everything that the cruise lines deem not a sexual assault under those definitions. Not reported.”

Hickey, who is representing the passengers suing MSC, says the company needs more rigorous training and screening of employees.

“I think the training, supervision and vetting in the beginning really does need to change,” he said. “Will it do so? I fear not.”

A spokesperson for MSC Cruises tells NBC6 the company is unable to comment on pending litigation.

But a representative for the industry group Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) sent us a statement, writing in part, cruise lines “are heavily regulated” and “have zero tolerance” for criminal behavior, adding “allegations of major crimes on cruise ships are extremely rare”

“If it could happen to me, it could happen to anybody else,” said the passenger on the MSC Meraviglia. “And that is a scary thing when you’re stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean”

The Department of Transportation began publishing data on sexual assault incidents after Congress passed legislation in 2010 related to safety on cruise ships. CLIA calls that type of reporting “unprecedented” compared to other sectors of travel and tourism. 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include additional information provided by law enforcement.

2 families sue cruise line as numbers show spike in reports of sexual assaults at sea

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Warning for cruise passengers as sexual assaults hit new high in 2023: FBI

Msc cruises hit with lawsuits after crew member allegedly sexually assaulted passenger and child allegedly sexually abused by passenger.

Chris Eberhart

Florida Sen. Lauren Book details why she's advocating for victims of sex crimes

Lauren Book explains her advocacy for sex crime victims

The number of reported rapes and sexual assaults on cruises hit a new high in 2023, according to stats compiled by the FBI.

There were 131 reported incidents in 2023 compared to 87 in 2022 and 101 in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic crippled the industry for about two years.

But the actual number of incidents is likely much higher, experts warn. Nationally, two out of three sexual assaults go unreported, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, and the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act doesn't protect non-U.S. citizens.

Earlier this month, MSC Cruises was sued for two alleged sex crimes on separate ships. One lawsuit alleged a crew member raped a passenger, and the other accused the cruise line of failing to protect an underage girl from being molested in a bathroom. 


statue of liberty behind large cruise ship

The Statue of Liberty is seen while the MSC Meraviglia cruise ship leaves the port of New York Dec. 9, 2023. (Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)

MSC Cruises said in an emailed statement the company is "unable to comment on these specific ongoing legal cases.

"However, we take any allegation of assault on board our ships seriously.

"We report any allegation to the appropriate law enforcement authorities, and we assist fully with any investigation as well as ensuring appropriate action is taken."


Jack Hickey, a Florida-based maritime lawyer who filed both legal actions, told Fox News Digital cruise companies generally do everything they can to hide crimes, especially sex crimes.

"The cruise lines are concerned about their images. It's supposed to be a vacation. It's supposed to be a positive experience," Hickey said. "They want as little about sex assaults to come to light as possible."

Carnival Magic outside

Cruise ship Carnival Magic departing Port Canaveral, Fla. (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act required the Department of Transportation to publish reported crime statistics on its website.

Sex crimes far outpace other reported crimes, which included 22 assaults with "serious bodily harm," two suspicious deaths and 20 thefts of $10,000 or more in 2023. 

Since 2010, there have been about 500 reported sex assaults and rapes, according to statistics reviewed by Fox News Digital.


That number is just a fraction of the actual number, Hickey said. 

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act doesn't require cruises to report crimes against non-U.S. citizens, and there's a narrow definition of rape that cruise line management companies use to "significantly" underreport incidents to the FBI.

And there's no outside agency to verify what the cruise lines are saying. 

"It's like the fox guarding the hen house," Hickey said. 

The FBI said in an emailed statement that the bureau works closely with the Department of Transportation to remain in accordance with the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. "The CVSSA prescribes security and safety requirements for most cruise ships that embark and disembark in the U.S., and mandates reporting to the FBI of missing persons and certain alleged criminal activity occurring on board applicable cruise vessels," the FBI said.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network explains why many survivors don't report sex assaults

Nationally, more than two out of three sexual assaults are not reported, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

Added trauma for survivors trapped on boat with attacker

Rape on a cruise compounds trauma for survivors because they're trapped on a ship with their attacker until the next port, Hickey said. 

And even then, the survivor needs to have the resources and wherewithal to get off the vessel and fly back home, he said, and they don't know where their attacker is, especially if the attacker is an employee. 

"You feel like you're in prison," said Hickey, who filed two lawsuits in a Florida court in January against MSC Cruises. 


One passenger on the MSC Meraviglia was allegedly raped by a crew member March 5, 2023. 

The survivor was "forcefully grabbed by the arms," and the alleged attacker "licked her face" and "aggressively threw (Jane Doe) on the bed" while she screamed, the lawsuit alleges.

She escaped after a "physical struggle," and the crew member allegedly chased her down the hallway, pushed her against a wall and "threatened that he would come back and find (Jane Doe) if she were to report him." 

5 things you didn’t know about traveling on cruise ships

The other lawsuit accused the cruise line of failing to protect a 6-year-old girl while she was in the "mini club," an area specifically designated for children up to the age of 17.

A male "of undetermined age," who was also in the care of "mini club" staff, allegedly followed the little girl into a bathroom and groped her, according to the lawsuit. 


"The inattentive and negligent employees allowed this male passenger to enter the bathroom multiple times while A.K. was alone and vulnerable," the lawsuit says.

He allegedly grabbed her private area and left the bathroom, joining a group of laughing boys, according to the lawsuit. 

Chris Eberhart is a crime and US news reporter for Fox News Digital. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter @ChrisEberhart48.

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