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oddjob16

Will Azamara stop sailings to Dubai?

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Given the situation in the Hormuz strait with tension between Iran and western countries P&O Cruises has decided to give Dubai a miss for all sailings the next half year. Azamara also has a few sailings via Dubai and I am sure there are discussions within RCI management wether it is considered safe to continue operations to Dubai. Maybe this is something Bonnie would  not be able to answer, but there must be some discussions in management about this.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/travel-hospitality/425554-cruise-giant-po-pulls-dubai-itinerary-amid-gulf-tensions

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I sincerely wish that Azamara would follow P&O's example and pull out of cruises out of /to Dubai for the upcoming winter season . In my opinion the situation is getting more and more volatile and dangerous. If Azamara - as they hopefully will - is monitoring the situation there is still enough time right now to find port and cruising alternatives, the earlier, the better and not wait too long and keep their passengers in limbo.

I'm afraid I'm prejudiced in a way because we are firmly booked into one of the cruises, complete with flights and hotels and I'm getting less enthusiastic by the day. Cancelling is not really an option at the moment because we'd lose a lot of money, but we'd gladly re-book on another cruise on one of the three Azamara beauties if we'd get that option.

I have heard that MSC and AIDA cruises, both heavily engaged in the Emirates this winter season are also considering cancellations of the ports in that area but they are still hesitating because they are heavily committed and lots of cruises would be affected. I don't know about RCL's Jewel otS, but I can imagine that RCL ships might be targeted just as easily, even if they don't have a huge British flag painted on the ship as P&O's Oceana does.

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If Azamara decide to suspend Dubai as a port of call I can see them substituting it with Fujairah,  which they have used a few times before and saves going through the Straits of Hormuz. Having been there a couple of times it's a very unattractive port without the excitement of sailing into Dubai, but at least offers the chance to go there with a car ride across the desert. 

 

Phil 

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I have not heard of any plans. I, for one, hope we don't have to change anything. While safety of our guests and crew are always our #1 priority, changes to itineraries planned long in advance are unfortunate.

I'll keep my ear to the ground and let you know if I do hear of anything.

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51 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

If Azamara decide to suspend Dubai as a port of call I can see them substituting it with Fujairah,  which they have used a few times before and saves going through the Straits of Hormuz. Having been there a couple of times it's a very unattractive port without the excitement of sailing into Dubai, but at least offers the chance to go there with a car ride across the desert. 

 

Phil 

Fujairah would be very disappointing - not a lot there. I suppose if a cruise finished there Azamara could put on Airport transport to Dubai.

 In July we booked Pursuit Athens to Dubai October 2020. We’ll need to book flights home in early November - it’s a bit of a gamble.

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According to the news, P&O suspended the operation of a ship with the British Flag painted on the front.    That seems sensible as Iran did board another British ship so wh wave the flag at them and tempt fate?    There is also the Venice issue, sounds like they no longer want cruise ships, and that will impact many cruises.

 

Booking flights 12 months in advance is always a risk, will you take flight insurance?

United offers it whenever you book a flight, but it does cost extra.

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1 hour ago, Covepointcruiser said:

According to the news, P&O suspended the operation of a ship with the British Flag painted on the front.    That seems sensible as Iran did board another British ship so wh wave the flag at them and tempt fate?    There is also the Venice issue, sounds like they no longer want cruise ships, and that will impact many cruises.

 

Booking flights 12 months in advance is always a risk, will you take flight insurance?

United offers it whenever you book a flight, but it does cost extra.

We have good annual travel insurance. We will book BA flights which should be flexible.

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

We have good annual travel insurance. We will book BA flights which should be flexible.

BA sell several categories of flight within each class, you will need to book Y, B or H fare type for the flight to be flexible and refundable.  Your agent can work it out for you, the prices for these tickets are much higher than the usual economy ticket.  The lowest cost refundable is to book using Avios as they are fully refunded so long as you cancel more than 24 hours ahead of flying.  For any ticket even non refundable ones you have to get the tax portion back though BA will charge you an admin fee of £35 deducted from the tax.

Emirates flexible tickets are better value than BA and Emirates is a superior product these days.

Annual travel policies might not give you much help if the cruise is still offered but from different ports. 

Edited by uktog

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Perhaps the uncertainty is the reason behind the sad lack of shore excursions listed for March 2020 cruises.

Having missed Petra due to illness on a previous cruise, we are booked on Dubai to Dubai B2B with Dubai to Athens on Quest.

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I’ll probably get flamed for this but the US currently seems a lot less safe to me than Dubai. What’s next, a “Will Azamara stop sailing to Miami?” topic? 😏

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Posted (edited)

Western memories are short:

A civilian passenger plane full of Iranians was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, fired from the USS Vincennes in the Strait of Hormuz. 

Iran has not forgotten this.

 

Iran has also not forgotten that the

US, Germany and the UK played important roles in the supply of the devastating chemical warfare weapons repeatedly used by Saddam Hussein against them (1980-88), nor forgotten that the US has continuously refused to provide valuable info for the treatment of the hundreds of thousands of their citizens made chronically ill from these weapons. I travelled extensively in Iran in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, and personally met some of the sick. I was in Mashhad when the US started to bomb in Afghanistan.

Several wrongs never make a right.

 

The Strait of Hormuz is indeed very volatile right now... so, although guns in America can cause a massacre, missiles can do far more catastrophic damage.

Civilian targets are fair game. 

 

2 hours ago, florisdekort said:

I’ll probably get flamed for this but the US currently seems a lot less safe to me than Dubai. 

Not surprisingly, Canadian tourists numbers to the US have really dropped this summer.

Edited by snowglobe
Typo

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9 hours ago, uktog said:

BA sell several categories of flight within each class, you will need to book Y, B or H fare type for the flight to be flexible and refundable.  Your agent can work it out for you, the prices for these tickets are much higher than the usual economy ticket.  The lowest cost refundable is to book using Avios as they are fully refunded so long as you cancel more than 24 hours ahead of flying.  For any ticket even non refundable ones you have to get the tax portion back though BA will charge you an admin fee of £35 deducted from the tax.

Emirates flexible tickets are better value than BA and Emirates is a superior product these days.

Annual travel policies might not give you much help if the cruise is still offered but from different ports. 

I was intending to use BA air miles. If the end of the cruise was changed to Fujairah, I’d still do the cruise as we really enjoy the Suez Canal sea days and are looking forwards to Ashdod. This cruise was chosen mainly as a ‘relaxing’ cruise rather than a ‘destination’ cruise.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

I was intending to use BA air miles. If the end of the cruise was changed to Fujairah, I’d still do the cruise as we really enjoy the Suez Canal sea days and are looking forwards to Ashdod. This cruise was chosen mainly as a ‘relaxing’ cruise rather than a ‘destination’ cruise.

In that case they are not just flexible. They are cancellable with a small admin fee and you get your taxes and fees back in full. That's why I like miles if I can get the flight I want. Trouble is the long hauls get snapped up so quickly, so unless you book earlier (with the price drops that can follow), you can leave yourself no option, but to risk a last minute reward flight availability or buy a ticket. 

 

Fujairah is about an hour and 15 minutes by car. An interesting drive across the desert. 

 

Phil 

Edited by excitedofharpenden

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57 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

In that case they are not just flexible. They are cancellable with a small admin fee and you get your taxes and fees back in full. That's why I like miles if I can get the flight I want. Trouble is the long hauls get snapped up so quickly, so unless you book earlier (with the price drops that can follow), you can leave yourself no option, but to risk a last minute reward flight availability or buy a ticket. 

 

Fujairah is about an hour and 15 minutes by car. An interesting drive across the desert. 

 

Phil 

Phil, thanks very much for this insight, exactly what we needed to know. We’re booked on Quest, Dubai to Athens in March. Our agent has put together a package with a night in a Dubai hotel before the cruise. From what you say, if Fujairah was substituted we could still do this then transfer to the port on the morning of the cruise. 

At least we would still see Dubai, as we plan a trip to look around the day before sailing, after landing early morning. . 

 

All assuming Fujairah was the substitution. 

Corinne

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Fajairah would work for the cruises that are due to transit Dubai but not for the intervening 11 night Arabia Intensive cruise.

qs_17_mar_20_0.jpg.ce55f9b043b9e8ab7ce49930c132d93c.jpg

 

I can see that Muscat could be removed to reduce the transit of the Straights of Hormuz to once in each direction but it would be difficult to create an alternative 11 night itinerary from Fajairah.

P&O have also said that although they have pulled Oceana from the region there is no plan at the moment to change Arcadia's scheduled stop on its World Cruise. Presumably they feel confident that protection can be provided for a one of transit but not a regular schedule.

Incidentally our neighbours were booked on an Oceana cruise in March which included India and have just booked a similar MSC cruise, MSC are offering P&O passengers who have had cruises cancelled extra OBC so presumably they feel confident they can keep cruising in the region.

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1 hour ago, excitedofharpenden said:

In that case they are not just flexible. They are cancellable with a small admin fee and you get your taxes and fees back in full. That's why I like miles if I can get the flight I want. Trouble is the long hauls get snapped up so quickly, so unless you book earlier (with the price drops that can follow), you can leave yourself no option, but to risk a last minute reward flight availability or buy a ticket. 

 

Fujairah is about an hour and 15 minutes by car. An interesting drive across the desert. 

 

Phil 

Yes, it’s a bit of a gamble whichever way you go. Luckily this cruise was booked onboard so we have the ‘one off’ option to get any reduction there is and keep our booking benefits.

The worst thing is that we will be halfway across the Atlantic when it’s the date for reward flights to be available for the Dubai flight! That means firstly that we will have to rely on an online booking - a satellite phone call would be just too much.

Also it’ll be something like 3am on the ship when the flights become available - ugh!

If we don’t manage to get a reward flight, we’ll probably use Emirates instead.

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9 hours ago, florisdekort said:

I’ll probably get flamed for this but the US currently seems a lot less safe to me than Dubai. What’s next, a “Will Azamara stop sailing to Miami?” topic? 😏

 

If ayatollah once, ayatollah twice, ayatollah 100 times: it's all about bookings/profits.

Khomeini times I gotta tell ya?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

Yes, it’s a bit of a gamble whichever way you go. Luckily this cruise was booked onboard so we have the ‘one off’ option to get any reduction there is and keep our booking benefits.

The worst thing is that we will be halfway across the Atlantic when it’s the date for reward flights to be available for the Dubai flight! That means firstly that we will have to rely on an online booking - a satellite phone call would be just too much.

Also it’ll be something like 3am on the ship when the flights become available - ugh!

If we don’t manage to get a reward flight, we’ll probably use Emirates instead.

With apologies for this awful pun, I might be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, but not sure if you know of this site. It helps to keep an eye on things and register for reward seat alerts:

 

https://rewardflightfinder.com/

 

Phil 

Edited by excitedofharpenden

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11 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

With apologies for this awful pun, I might be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, but not sure if you know of this site. It helps to keep an eye on things and register for reward seat alerts:

 

https://rewardflightfinder.com/

 

Phil 

Thanks Phil. I had heard about this, but hadn’t investigated it. I’ve now signed up with it. Very helpful

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19 hours ago, uktog said:

BA sell several categories of flight within each class, you will need to book Y, B or H fare type for the flight to be flexible and refundable.  Your agent can work it out for you, the prices for these tickets are much higher than the usual economy ticket.  The lowest cost refundable is to book using Avios as they are fully refunded so long as you cancel more than 24 hours ahead of flying.  For any ticket even non refundable ones you have to get the tax portion back though BA will charge you an admin fee of £35 deducted from the tax.

Emirates flexible tickets are better value than BA and Emirates is a superior product these days.

Annual travel policies might not give you much help if the cruise is still offered but from different ports. 

When booking a cruise that is far out, I try to book with miles.  Less expensive to make changes or if necessary cancel.

Sometimes, it even pays to buy miles, when they are on sale.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Changed itineraries and ports caused by security issues are usually well compensated by Azamara, to include airline change fees and pre-paid hotel reservations.  Had this happened several years ago for a departure out of Istanbul changed to Pireaus.  Currently ships are transiting the Straits of Hormuz without incident.  Safer, as a poster said, than visiting the US.  Azamara, and other cruise lines, would not put a ship/passengers at risk.  However, they do rely on various national government alerts and warnings to make the decision to go/no go.  Current US Travel Advisory for the UAE is to Exercise Normal Precautions, the lowest threat level.  Travel/state.gov provides current information and offers STEP alerts (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program).  

Edited by Globehoppers

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7 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

Yes, it’s a bit of a gamble whichever way you go. Luckily this cruise was booked onboard so we have the ‘one off’ option to get any reduction there is and keep our booking benefits.

The worst thing is that we will be halfway across the Atlantic when it’s the date for reward flights to be available for the Dubai flight! That means firstly that we will have to rely on an online booking - a satellite phone call would be just too much.

Also it’ll be something like 3am on the ship when the flights become available - ugh!

If we don’t manage to get a reward flight, we’ll probably use Emirates instead.

This could be a silly question....please forgive if so.....

 

What is a reward flight?

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Lookyboy said:

This could be a silly question....please forgive if so.....

 

What is a reward flight?

 

 

One you pay for with loyalty miles from the airline or earned through stores/credit cards e.g. Avois that BA accepts

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Posted (edited)
On 8/8/2019 at 1:33 PM, excitedofharpenden said:

If Azamara decide to suspend Dubai as a port of call I can see them substituting it with Fujairah,  which they have used a few times before and saves going through the Straits of Hormuz. Having been there a couple of times it's a very unattractive port without the excitement of sailing into Dubai, but at least offers the chance to go there with a car ride across the desert. 

 

Phil 

Fujairah is where the trouble is, that's the actual oil port. Have you looked at a map? There is no way to do any part of the Persian Gulf if there are security issues.

 

Edited by spikemom
typos

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If Azamara changes this cruise radically, which seems quite possible at this time, I can't imagine there's any other itinerary that would interest us.   We loved the idea of the Persian Gulf ports. I don't have experience with this type of situation.

Would Azamara give us a full refund? We do have travel insurance but wonder if we will be  covered if we just don't care to go on whatever itinerary Azamara offers.  Obviously we have spent quite a bit of money on flights as well. They are nonrefundable. Will insurance cover if we need to cancel?

 

I'm not overly anxious yet (and we're going on a 3 week river cruise later this month) but in a few weeks I'll be quite worried. 

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