In the wake of the terror attack at the Bordo National Museum, in Tunis, MSC Cruises has decided to suspend all remaining Tunisian calls in the 2015 summer programme in the interests of guest and crew member safety.
Itineraries affected by the change will impact four of MSC Cruises’ ships.
Moving forward, MSC Splendida will call at Valletta, in Malta on four sailings over the next four weeks.
Three other ships were due to offer Tunis calls during the summer season from April to November this year.
MSC Fantasia will now call at Palma, Majorca, while MSC Preziosa will now call at Cagliari, in Sardinia, and MSC Divina will call at Valletta.
Tunis has long featured on MSC Cruises itineraries, and the city’s extensive range of cultural offerings have proved very popular with visitors.
MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Sadly, the murderous actions of the people behind this devastating attack will have far-reaching and profoundly damaging effects on democratic Tunisia and its faltering economy.
“Tunisia can little afford to be considered a no-go zone at this time, but regrettably that is how tourists will now see it.”
“The safety and security of guests and crewmembers is MSC Cruises’ number one priority at all times, and the events that took place this week preclude the possibility of MSC Cruises calling in Tunisia for the foreseeable future.
“MSC Cruises remains in continuous contact with relevant government ministries and international bodies, and does not consider additional itinerary changes to be necessary at this time.”
Vago added: “Tunis is a key destination for MSC Cruises, and we hope to be able to restore it to itineraries in due course.
“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.”
He concluded: “I want to personally thank the Tunisian authorities for the way they have addressed this exceptionally challenging situation, and for enabling us to implement our own response plan effectively.”