'The safety and well-being of our customers is always our highest priority and due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we believe this is the most responsible decision to take,' Discover Qatar said, adding that it 'very much' intends to operate the program in 2022.
The eight- and 10-night adventure cruises, which were scheduled from March 24 to May 7, would have sailed aboard Ponant's 170-passenger Le Champlain.
Access to restricted marine zone
Qatar is home to one of the planet's largest aggregations of whale sharks. Each year, hundreds congregate in the Al Shaheen region, a restricted marine zone off the northeast coast, from April to September. Those on the expedition cruises will be among the first to see whale sharks in these restricted waters.
'We are working closely with our partner Discover Qatar for programs in future years as we think the region is very appealing for small-ship luxury cruisers,' Ponant's Hervé Bellaiche, chief sales, marketing and communication officer, told Seatrade Cruise News.