Royal Caribbean Confirms It's 'Reviewing Alternative' Routes for 9-Month Cruise Due to Middle East Unrest

The cruise line's announcement comes after it previously said the Ultimate World Cruise will continue as planned amid uncertainty in the Red Sea and Suez Canal

<p>Royal Caribbean International</p>

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean confirms that it is currently reviewing alternative routes for its nine-month-long Ultimate World Cruise due to ongoing unrest in the Red Sea and Suez Canal.

The cruise line shared in a statement with PEOPLE on Friday that the around-the-world voyage aboard the Serenade of the Seas, which has gained a huge following on TikTok, may face itinerary adjustments that will be announced mid-February.

“The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and we are monitoring what is taking place in and around the Red Sea. In looking ahead at potential itinerary adjustments, we are currently reviewing alternatives for Serenade of the Seas, which is currently scheduled to transit the Suez Canal in May. Our guests and travel partners will receive an update from us in mid-February.”

The ship's first captain, Captain Stig, who steered the passengers around South America and ended his leg of the journey in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Feb. 7, revealed to passengers during a send-off ceremony that Royal Caribbean would be making an announcement on Feb. 16 regarding changes to the itinerary.

Related: 9-Month Cruise Captain Says Potential Reroute Announcement Is Imminent Amid Red Sea, Suez Canal Unrest

<p>Getty</p> A ship in the Suez Canal


A ship in the Suez Canal

Rumors that the voyage could majorly reroute or end early initially spread among passengers in January. Royal Caribbean issued a statement to PEOPLE at the time confirming that it would finish its tour of the Americas in February and embark on the second leg to Asia as planned.

“The Ultimate World Cruise has given guests the opportunity to see the world in a unique way, and we have loved watching their reactions to this incredible experience,” Royal Caribbean’s statement said. “This adventure will complete its first segment in February, and we can’t wait to kick off the next part of the journey shortly after and begin exploring Asia.”

The statement does not mention the third leg of the trip, which includes the Middle East and Mediterranean. That portion is intended to kick off in May.

<p>Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty</p>

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty

The Ultimate World Cruise's Serenade of the Seas would not be the first ship to change plans due to issues in the region.

In January, In light of pirate attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea, Silversea — a luxury cruise line under Royal Caribbean — shortened one of its boat’s schedules, per Travel Weekly. The conflict between Israel and Palestine, issues in the Suez Canal, as well as U.S. military activity in Yemen also continue.

Related: This Is the One Word You Can't Say on a Cruise Ship, According to a Passenger Who Accidentally Said It

<p>Royal Caribbean International</p>

Royal Caribbean International

PEOPLE spoke to cruise passenger and podcaster Brandee Lake in early January, who shared that the Serenade had already made changes to its itinerary because of global conflicts. Royal Caribbean "added a couple places" and "moved some things around," she shared, noting that its original lineup included Russia, Ukraine and Israel, all of which were removed. Each time there was an alteration, she says passengers received an official update from the cruise company with alternative destinations and ports.

The Ultimate World Cruise is divided into four segments with 160 total destinations. The cruise departed from Miami on Dec. 10, 2023, to weave through the Caribbean and sail down the east coast of South America. Winding around Cape Horn and braving the tempestuous Drake Passage near Antarctica, it then made its way up the Americas’ west coast and will conclude its first segment in Los Angeles on Feb. 11. The Asia portion starts the same day and ends on May 9.

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Read the original article on People.