Uniworld has cancelled the next six sailings of the River Countess after the river cruise ship was struck by MSC Cruises’ MSC Opera in Venice, Italy, on Sunday. The cancellations include the “Gems of Northern Italy” cruise-tour dates originally scheduled for June 7, 14, 21 and 28, July 5 and 12.
The River Countess was hit by the MSC Opera while the river cruise vessel was docked at the San Basilio Cruise Terminal. Uniworld says that at the time of the accident, only 26 of the ship’s 130 passengers remained onboard, with most having already disembarked and transferring to flights home.
The River Countess is scheduled to make its return on July 21 when it sets sail from Venice as part of Uniworld’s July 19 cruise-tour date, which begins in Milan. Uniworld President and CEO Ellen Bettridge says that a member of the Uniworld reservations team will reach out to all customers affected by the cancellations.
“We have begun immediate outreach to our guests and travel advisor partners with this news and are offering options to rebook,” Bettridge said in a written statement. “We appreciate the outpouring of support and well-wishes by our guests, travel advisor partners and industry colleagues, and would like to thank everyone for their support during this time.”
On Sunday MSC Cruises said that the MSC Opera had experienced a technical issue while accompanied by two tugs, causing the ship to graze the dock at San Basilio and collide with the River Countess.
"The investigations to understand the exact causes of the events are currently in progress,” MSC Cruises said at the time. “Regarding these, the company is working closely with the local maritime and other authorities."
Following the collision, the ship received authorization to moor at the Marittima terminal, as planned, and commence passenger operations.