CRUISE line Virgin Voyages has cancelled its Australian port calls for the 2024/25 cruise season over escalating dangers to shipping in the Red Sea.

Virgin Voyages revised Resilient Lady’s itinerary earlier this month as the ship returned to the northern hemisphere, but has since announced it will not be returning for the upcoming season.

In the Red Sea, attacks continue with US and British forces on 24 February launching more strikes against Ansar Allah targets in Yemen, and a recent missile strike causing a crew to abandon ship.

“We remain very concerned about potential escalations in the Red Sea over the next 12 months,” Virgin Voyages said in a statement.

“This significant and ongoing conflict puts unacceptable risks for safe passage through the region for our sailors, crew and vessel.

“As a result, we have been left with no choice but to cancel our 2024/25 voyage season plans for Resilient Lady, impacting the late 2024 and early 2025 repositioning voyages between Europe and Australia and a second sailing season in Australian waters.  

“To say that we are disappointed to have come to this tough conclusion is an understatement.”

TasPorts said the decision would impact 17 cruise-ship visits to Tasmania in the upcoming season.

Resilient Lady would have made 10 calls to Hobart and seven to Burnie.

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald said the cancellations would be “disappointing” for small businesses and tour operators.

“TasPorts is working with its stakeholders and Tourism Tasmania to attract cruise visits to our ports because we understand the economic and social benefits they provide,” he said.

“While safety is the first priority, we understand that Virgin Voyages is currently working through options to return to Australia, including Tasmanian ports, once travel conditions become more tenable.”

Virgin Voyages said it is also looking at options to return to the wider Asia Pacific region.