Posted January 31st, 2013, 01:23 PM
Israel & Egypt have been unsettled for decades. We kept putting them off waiting for things to settle down, before eventually
realising that if we waited til everything was hunky-dorey we'd never
get to either.
US cruise lines do tend to pull the plug rather too early & too easily, Brit cruise lines are rather more stoic, not sure about Costa.
Sailed Haifa & Ashdod with RCI, excellent. That cruise was also originally scheduled for Alex (or Port Said) but long before we booked it had re-scheduled to Athens instead. In the event, Egypt was totally trouble-free & we sailed into Athens straight into a general strike
One or two other cruises - just like Tring's experience - at the last minute stayed in Haifa or went elsewhere in preference to Ashdod because at the time rockets were being lobbed into Ashdod from Gaza. Haifa is much more stable than Ashdod.
Visited Cairo several times, no problem but its the luck of the draw.
Last cruise, just a few weeks ago, we had to skip Cairo - because of a sandstorm at Port Sokhna.
Disappointing for those who'd never been, but again luck of the draw.
Prospects are that your Costa cruise will work to schedule. But November is a very long way away, plenty of time for lots of incursions between now & then & all settled down by November. I certainly wouldn't cancel at this stage.
Cruise vs land tour? I've always taken the attitude that if neccessary ships can re-schedule last-minute & go somewhere else. Hotels tend to stay pretty-much in the same place, so if something flares up significantly your holiday will be cancelled & you'll be scratching round last-minute for an alternative.
Separate matters re Costa.
1. Ships are very Italian, food etc is orientated to Italian tastes & customs, english-speaking passengers will be a sizeable minority, Italians tend to be quite noisy & excitable but also very friendly. I don't think there's an italian translation for "queue" so sharpen your elbows
If you're expecting an experience like say P&O or Princess or Royal Caribbean you'll be very disappointed. If you enjoy mixing with other nationals & are prepared to go-with-the-flow you'll be fine.
2. Some english-speaking tours can get cancelled last-minute due to insufficient numbers. Shouldn't be a problem with Cairo, & other ports are done better & cheaper independently anyway.
3. Check times in port. Italians tend to cruise for the cruise & not the ports, Costa & MSC often have only half-days in port. A lot of cruiselines offer overnites in Haifa/Ashdod/Cairo ports, a big bonus.
Just MHO as always