Middle East Cruise News

Trump’s Cuba ban benefits Dubai cruise sector with Oceania itineraries in 2020/21

Oceania Cruises has announced that it’s 684-passenger luxury cruise ship Sirena will spend the winter and spring cruise seasons in 2020/21 in the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf instead of the Caribbean.

The re-deployment comes after US President Donald Trump re-instated strict travel bans for US citizens and US-owned cruise ships visiting Cuba.

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Sirena was originally scheduled to spend November, 2020 to April, 2021 cruising the Caribbean, with Cuba and its capital, Havana, featured as a highlight of most itineraries.

Instead, she will now extend her 2020 European summer season and spend winter/spring 2020/21 on in-depth explorations of Egypt, Israel, Turkey, the Arabian Gulf, India and Southeast Asia.

These cruises are being marketed by Oceania as the ‘exotic collection’ and they include nine itineraries of 10 to 24 days length.

“We’ve thoughtfully crafted these immersive and off-the-beaten-path explorations to some of the hardest-to-reach destinations in the world to satiate our guests’ appetites for new and unusual travel experiences,” said Bob Binder, CEO at Oceania Cruises.

They will begin with a 12-day cruise from Haifa to Istanbul on November 9th, 2020, which will then be followed by a grand voyage of 20-days from Turkey to the UAE.

This cruise, departing Istanbul on November 21st, 2020, will thread through the Suez Canal and Red Sea, visiting Aqaba in Jordan, Safaga (for Luxor) in Egypt, where she will stay overnight, and Salalah and Muscat in Oman before arriving in Dubai. Here too she will stay overnight on the final day of the cruise.

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the famous grand staircase aboard sirena, now with new decor following a major refurbishment

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Sirena will then cruise roundtrip from Dubai on a 10-night ‘Middle East Meandering’ itinerary on December 12th, 2020, visiting Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Doha in Qatar, Bahrain and Al Khassab in Oman.

A 15-night cruise from Dubai to Mumbai will follow, visiting Abu Dhabi, Muscat, the Maldives (where she will stay overnight), Goa, Mangalore and finally Mumbai (again staying overnight in port).

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The new year will find Sirena in South Asia, departing Mumbai on a 15-night cruise to Yangon on January 5th, 2021, followed by a 15-night ‘Mystical Asia’ itinerary from Yangon to Bangkok; ‘Ultimate Asia Odyssey,’ 24 days, Bangkok to Dubai; and ‘Passage Through Time,’ 22 days, Dubai to Piraeus.

Sirena will cruise a total of three times from Dubai in late 2020 and early 2021, primarily as a result of the Cuba travel ban for US cruise ships.

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