As the coronavirus continues to spread across the world, MSC Cruises has made the decision to cancel its next three sailings from Shanghai in China and will reposition to Singapore to start its 27-night grand voyage.

Although there have been no reported cases among passengers or crew on board MSC Splendida while serving the Asian market throughout winter, the cruise line is moving the ship as a precaution. It will now set sail on 14 February to the Middle East and Europe.

MSC Cruises CEO Giannai Onorato commented: “The decision to reposition the ship from Shanghai to Singapore has been taken in the best interests of the safety and wellbeing for our passengers and crew, as was the decision to cancel our next three scheduled sailings from China.

“Many major airlines have either cancelled or reduced their flight frequency to China and the grand voyage, a maritime tradition whereby a ship moved from one part of the world to another for a new sailing season, was entirely booked with guests flying from abroad to enjoy the experience of a unique itinerary.

“In light of Singapore becoming a new embarkation port we have had to cancel all calls to Naha, Japan and Hong Kong but it has also created an opportunity to update and enrich the grand voyage’s itinerary with four additional new ports; Langkawi, Penang and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, plus Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to create a new, one-of-a-kind memorable cruise.”

For grand voyage passengers who have booked a cruise and flight through MSC Cruises, no further action is required as customers will be booked automatically on a flight to Singapore.

Customers who booked an outbound flight ticket to Asia, but not though MSC Cruises, will need to contact their airline or travel agent for a refund or possible re-protection to Singapore.

Any pre-paid excursions that are cancelled to the ports of Naha, Japan and Hong Kong as a result of the new updated itinerary will be refunded to the customer’s ship board account.

Earlier this week, Royal Caribbean also announced that it had suspended sailings from Shanghai due to spreading fears over the outbreak.

As of 30 January, the virus had reached every region in mainland China and killed 170 people. Chinese health authorities said there were 7,711 confirmed cases in the country, and infections have spread to at least 15 other countries.

UK citizens are being evacuated from the country on Friday and are expected to be quarantined for two weeks. The FOC strongly advises against all but essential travel to mainland China.

For the latest Coronavirus travel and safety information, visit the FOC website.