Libya hots up as cruise destination
Add Azamara Club Cruises to the list of lines scheduling calls in Libya.The Miami-based boutique operator says its 694-passenger Azamara Quest will visit Libya's Al Khums and Tripoli during a Mediterranean voyage that begins on Oct. 16, 2012.
The itinerary, which only will be done once, is among 54 itineraries the line unveiled Monday for 2012 and early 2013 on the Quest and its sister ship, the 694-passenger Azamara Journey. The sailings range in length from five to 16 nights and include calls in dozens of countries in the Mediterranean Sea, Northern Europe, South America, India and the West Indies.
Azamara's announcement that it will offer a sailing to Libya in 2012 comes just weeks after luxury line Crystal Cruises announced plans for its first visit to the country. A Crystal spokeswoman said at the time that a recent reversal of Libya's longtime ban on American tourists was behind the addition of a Libyan port to the line's schedule.
The reversal came following an expanded-trade arrangement between the two countries signed last May.Libya has loosened its ban on American tourists once before -- after President Bush lifted U.S. sanctions on the country in 2004 -- in a move that didn't last long.
Back then, a number of cruise lines that carry Americans including Crystal, Silversea and Oceania announced plans to begin calling on the country only to have to scuttle the plans after new tensions between the countries prompted Libya to once again raise obstacles to American tourists.
Source: USA Today
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