Oceania Cruises has been forced to push back the launch of new ship Riviera by three weeks due to strikes at the Italian ship yard where it is being built.

The delay means that the 1,250-passenger sister ship to Marina will not enter service as planned in April and two cruises have been cancelled.

The maiden voyage has been put back from April 24 to May 16 after industrial action at Fincantieri’s shipyard near Genoa lasted longer than expected, resulting in the construction falling behind schedule.

It is the second time in six months that Oceania has delayed the maiden voyage of Riviera. The line announced in August that the ship’s debut was being pushed back from April 14 to April 24.

The ship’s revised first cruise is a 10-day ‘Pearls of the Aegean’ itinerary that includes an overnight in Venice before visiting Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Monemvasia, Crete, Santorini, Kusadasi, Delos, Mykonos and Athens.

Passengers affected by the delay will be contacted by their travel agents or by Oceania Cruises directly to discuss alternative cruise dates, the company said.

Those booked on affected sailings are being given the option of rebooking another cruise and receive a future cruise credit, which ranges from $250 to $1,000 per passenger, depending on category of accommodation.

Full refunds are being offered to those who do not want to rebook and travel agent commissions will be protected, Oceania said.

Oceania president Kunal S. Kamlani said: “We sincerely regret any inconvenience that this may cause our guests.

“We are working very closely with the shipyard to ensure Riviera is completed to meet Oceania’s high standards of quality and service.”

Fincantieri chief executive Giuseppe Bono added: “We know that sophisticated international travellers are anxious to welcome Riviera and we regret that labour strikes have caused this delay.

“All of us at Fincantieri are committed to producing a superior quality ship and we will deliver a truly magnificent vessel to Oceania Cruises without further delays.”