Last updated: 02:04 PM ET, Thu March 19 2015

Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises Cancel Upcoming Ports of Call in Tunis

Impacting Travel | MSC Cruises | Patrick Clarke | March 19, 2015

Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises Cancel Upcoming Ports of Call in Tunis

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises have canceled all upcoming ports of call in Tunis in the wake of Wednesday's deadly attack on the Bardo National Museum in the Tunisian capital.

"The security of our guests and crew is Costa Crociere's priority and a necessary condition for calm and pleasant vacations," said Costa Cruises in a statement. 

Costa Cruises' Costa Fascinosa and MSC Cruises' MSC Splendida were both docked outside of Tunis on Wednesday, with dozens of their passengers at the museum when the attack occurred. MSC Cruises has since confirmed that 12 of its passengers were killed in the attack and 13 more were injured, while Costa Cruises reported that three guests were killed, eight were wounded and two others were missing.

Both the Costa Fascinosa and the MSC Splendida departed the port of La Goulette on Thursday morning and are bound for Palma di Mallorca and Barcelona respectively.

Upcoming calls in Tunis for itineraries aboard the Costa Fortuna, Costa Favolosa and Costa neoRiviera will be substituted with alternative ports. 

Meanwhile, instead of Tunis, the MSC Splendida will call at Valletta, Malta, the MSC Fantasia will dock in Palma, Majorca and the MSC Preziosa will visit Cagliari in Sardinia this summer. 

Although eliminating calls in Tunis from their future itineraries will present challenges, the biggest impact from these decisions is likely to be felt by Tunisia's tourism industry, as the Telegraph's cruise expert Jane Archer points out:

"It is easy for the cruise lines to switch to other interesting destinations, and I doubt passengers will miss the Tunis stop particularly, but it is very sad for the locals because cruise ships only started going back there relatively recently following the Arab Spring. It will take a long time for the country to recover from a tragedy like this and convince people it is safe."

The Bardo museum in Tunis, which celebrates Tunisia's history and features a world-class collection of Roman Mosaics, is among the African country's top tourist attractions. 

At least 21 people were killed when gunmen opened fire at the museum on Wednesday, many of them foreign tourists from Europe. Officials are calling it a terrorist attack. 

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