Following the Arab Spring – the series of anti-government protests, riots and civil wars that spread across the Middle East in early 2011 – security measures in Egypt still remain strict, meaning port stops in the country are a sensitive proposition.
Such measures have left some cruise lines with no choice but to completely cancel any stops in the country. This saw Seabourn Cruises remove its stops scheduled for April in Safaga, Sharm el-Sheikh and Sohkna on-board Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Odyssey.
At the same time, Holland America also announced the cancellation of April stops in Safaga, Sharm el- Sheikh and Alexandria, replacing them with calls to Israel instead.
The cancellations come after the US government’s security message on the 6th of March, which revealed an increase in the number and frequency of incidents that have occurred in Cairo, Egypt.
What’s more, two bombs exploded on Sunday the 8th of March in Alexandria, making the city a no-go zone for tourists.
The initiative has had a detrimental effect on Egypt’s tourism rates, which had been experiencing positive rebound rates in 2014. Figures released by the Financial Times showed that tourist arrivals were up by 70 per cent over the 2014 autumn season, in comparison to the same period in 2013.
However, some river cruise companies have planned to place the Nile River back on the map, scheduling it into 2015 itineraries. For example, Viking River Cruises’ Pathway of the Pharaohs voyage will call through the Nile and Lake Nasser on its ships Mayfair and Omar El Khayam.
Similarly, luxury cruise ship River Tosca will embark on a series of Egyptian land tours from October 2015, which includes stopping off at the Nile for a few days.
What do you think of the safety measures in Egypt? Will you be sailing on any of the river cruises later this year? Let us know in the comments below.