A spokesperson for Seabourn Cruises says that the cruise line is closely monitoring the situation in Qatar, but has not yet made a decision on whether to drop Qatar as a port of call on Seabourn Encore’s upcoming Middle East cruise out of Dubai.
The comment come just days after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and several other MENA region countries cut all diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in a major regional political spat that reached boiling point this week.
There are five cruise ships scheduled to visit Qatar’s Doha Port between now and the end of the year, the lead ship among them being Seabourn’s brand new Seabourn Encore, which is visiting the Middle East cruise market on her way to Asia from Rome.
Encore is meant to visit Doha on October 26th, after cruising from Dubai on October 25th, but a recent order by UAE government banning any ships coming from or going to Qatar will make this itinerary impossible if the diplomatic rift continues until then.
“We routinely monitor events around the world,” a spokesperson for Seabourn told Cruise Arabia & Africa. The cruise line declined further comment, but is likely waiting to see how this extremely fluid situation plays out before dropping Qatar as a port of call.
Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and MSC Cruises are all scheduled to visit Doha this year, all of them on cruise itineraries departing from Dubai.
If the political crisis continues into next year, some 40 Middle East cruise itineraries will need to have Qatar dropped as a cruise destination, although most analysts watching the dispute unfold have indicated that it is unlikely to last that long.