MSC Cruises Cancels Winter 2015-16 Calls to Tunisia
PHOTO: Beaches in Tunisia, such as this one in Hammamet, are popular with vacationers. (Courtesy of Tunisian National Tourist Office)
MSC Cruises suspended calls at Tunisia for the winter 2015-16 season after Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi imposed a state of emergency amid fears of more terrorist attacks.
The MSC Preziosa will call at Valletta, Malta, instead of La Goulette, the port for the capital city of Tunis, from Nov. 15 through April 23.
Also, the MSC Magnifica and MSC Poesia will spend a full day in Alicante, Spain, instead of La Goulette during their Grand Voyages in November and December.
MSC Cruises previously canceled 2015 calls to Tunisia after the March 18 attack at the Bardo National Museum killed 23 people, including 12 passengers from the MSC Splendida and five from the Costa Fascinosa.
The state of emergency, imposed July 4, will run until Aug. 2. It follows the June 26 terrorist attack that left 38 dead on a beach in the popular resort town of Sousse.
MSC Cruises has long visited Tunisia, which is popular with Europeans for beach vacations and Roman ruins. It’s a regular stop for cruise ships because of its location in the Mediterranean Sea, although it is tucked between Algeria and Libya.
When MSC first cancelled calls in late March, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago lamented that the attack would damage a democratic Tunisia and its struggling economy.
“Tunis is a key destination for MSC Cruises, and we hope to be able to restore it to itineraries in due course,” Vago said at the time. “But until we receive the necessary reassurances that the security situation has returned to normal, we have to take our guests to alternative Mediterranean destinations.”
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