Due to the ongoing conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Institute for Shipboard Education has made the difficult decision to remove Jordan from its Fall 2023 itinerary. The World Odyssey was initially scheduled to arrive in Aqaba, Jordan, on Oct. 25. Instead, our 132nd voyage will sail to Muscat, Oman, arriving for a five-day stay on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
The ship is currently in the central Mediterranean bound for Piraeus, Greece, where it is scheduled to arrive on Oct. 15. It will depart Greece on Oct. 19 and transit the Suez Canal on Oct. 23. The canal is one of the most highly trafficked waterways in the world. Based on updates they’re receiving multiple times daily, our ship management company recommends we transit the canal as planned–just as we have on our last two voyages. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo also assured us today that a canal passage is safe and secure.
Although the U.S. State Department isn’t advising against travel to Jordan, we decided to forgo a Jordan port this fall in favor of Oman. Oman was originally on our Fall 2023 itinerary and has remained on this voyage’s list of possible diversion ports.
Oman is the oldest continuously independent state in the Arab world and will provide our community with a wide range of rich cultural and environmental attractions to explore. The country and its capital city are very popular tourist destinations, with more than 19 cruise ships docking in Muscat over the next five weeks alone.
Our Vice President of Operations and Risk Management will travel to Oman next week to conduct on-the-ground preparations for the ship’s arrival and to meet with local tour operators, some of whom are connected to our partners in other ports. The voyage will continue on to Dubai, UAE, from Muscat, arriving as scheduled on Nov. 7.
In its 60-year history, Semester at Sea has responded to conflicts and other crises in similar ways. As all of you are aware, in response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the earthquake in Morocco, this is not even the first time on this voyage we changed course.
While these changes are disruptive, our commitment to the safety of our shipboard community and crew remains our first priority. I’m grateful for and impressed by our community’s flexibility–and for the many ways in which the shipboard community is actively engaged with the complicated issues and topics that have confronted our world during their journey thus far. Many resources are available to participants on the voyage should they need additional support navigating these changes, and the challenges in the global community. These resources include the Student Life Team, Care Team, and our Counseling Team.
We’ll continue to closely monitor this situation and stand ready to make other changes if required. Should additional changes or updates be necessary, we will be in touch as quickly as possible.
President and CEO of the Institute for Shipboard Education | Semester at Sea