Earlier this week Voyages to Antiquity announced that it would be cancelling its 4 April cruise from Athens to Rome, with ports of call in Libya. As the violence in Libya continues, with protesters demanding the removal of an obdurate Col Gaddafi, the cruise company decided that visiting was not worth the risk.

“We’re really disappointed,” said PR Manager Ann Brine, “but customers know it’s in their best interests.” Voyages to Antiquity offered customers booked on the cruise the option to rebook for the same itinerary in November, or accept a refund. The majority have chosen to rebook.

Managing Director David Yellow chose to cancel well in advance so that customers would not be left worrying about the status of their cruises until the last minute. Judging from how events have unfolded since, there is no question but that this was the right decision.

Libya only began opening up for tourism recently, with US citizens being granted visas for the first time within the last 18 months. The stunning Roman city of Leptis Magna is one of the major draws to a country that has a wealth of archaeological sites, many of which are little visited, and so very well preserved.

This week’s cancellation follows hard on the heels of the cancellation earlier this month of two Voyages to Antiquity cruises with ports of call in Egypt and Tunisia, owing to the civil unrest that has been spreading through the region.

The company still intends to visit all three countries later in the year, as planned.