Uniworld has had to cancel six sailings after The River Countess was hit by the large ocean ship, MSC Opera, while docked at the San Basilio Cruise Terminal in Venice, Italy on Sunday morning.

Four guests (including one Australian) suffered “minor injuries” in the collision and were escorted to the hospital by Uniworld staff.

Following a full review by their technical and nautical team, Uniworld has had to cancel the next six sailings of the River Countess.

This includes the “Gems of Northern Italy” cruise-tour dates originally scheduled for June 7, 14, 21 and 28, July 5 and 12.

According to Uniworld president and CEO Ellen Bettridge, the River Countess will make its return July 21, when it sets sail from Venice as part of the July 19 cruise-tour date, commencing in Milan.

Bettridge wants to assure all impacted customers that a member of the Uniworld reservations team will contact them.

“We have begun immediate outreach to our guests and travel advisor partners with this news and are offering options to rebook.”

Uniworld president and CEO Ellen Bettridge

Ellen Bettridge and Fiona Dalton

“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.”

MSC, on the other hand, said the investigation into the causes of the incident was taking longer than originally expected and for this reason, the ship was unlikely to set sail later today or tomorrow.

MSC Cruises cancelled the current cruise and will reimburse to each passenger the full cost of their cruise ticket and any pre-paid services.

The ship will, however, remain available to all those passengers who wish to stay on-board while she remains in Venice and through the end of their scheduled cruise.

For those passengers expected to disembark in Bari on Saturday June 8 (who wish to stay onboard) the ship is scheduled to leave Venice by Friday and to call Bari on Saturday. From there on, MSC Opera will sail as per schedule.

Cruise Lines International Association has said this morning that it has been working with authorities for some time to create an alternative route which would allow ships to avoid Venice’s Guidecca Canal and welcomes statements by the Mayor of Venice demanding an urgent solution that would allow cruise vessels to enter Venice cruise terminal via an alternative route.

Our thoughts are with all those affected by the incident.