Unrest Unsettles Cruise World, Too

Even with today’s resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, the fallout from what has been happening in Egypt the last three weeks is likely to continue having   a ripple effect on everybody, including people who in some way are connected to Mediterranean or Suez Canal cruises. For at least two weeks, there has been an obviously necessary cruise-ship boycott of Egyptian ports.

Norwegian (Jade) and MSC (Magnifica and Splendida) were quick to re-route their ships as the scale of the protests escalated over the past two weeks. This week, Azamara pulled Egyptian ports from its itineraries…through June.

That means passengers who saved and saved to cruise the Suez so they could visit historic landmarks like The Pyramids were out of luck. It also means that every Egyptian who benefits from the arrivals and departures of cruise ships is also out of luck, but in a much more practical way.

It is said that cruise-ship and tourism revenue represents about 10 per cent of the Middle Eastern nation’s GDP. In the context of what has going on at Tahrir Square, we realize this is collateral damage and, to be sure, it’s unavoidable collateral damage.

Today, tomorrow, next week…there will continue to be uncertainty about Egypt as the regime change starts to take shape. The question is, even when Egypt gets back to normal — whatever the new normal is going to be, how long will it take for this historic country to become, again, attractive to cruise ships and tourists?

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