Royal Caribbean has announced that its new ship, Odyssey of the Seas, will set sail for the first time in May from Israel.
The line will offer vaccinated Israeli guests three and seven-night voyages to the Greek Isles and Cyprus.
The second Quantum Ultra-class ship had been scheduled to sail from Southampton to Belgium and Holland from 2 April. However, it now will sail roundtrip from Haifa, visiting Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Limassol. Sailings will go on sale on 9 March.
In a statement, Royal Caribbean said: ‘Royal Caribbean will be the first to offer fully vaccinated sailings, where both crew and guests above the age of 16 will be vaccinated against Covid-19. Details on the additional health and safety measures to be implemented by Israel and Royal Caribbean will be announced at a later date.’
Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley said: ‘We are thrilled to debut Royal Caribbean cruises from Israel with our newest and most innovative ship, Odyssey of the Seas.
‘Israeli travellers will be looking to get away, relax with total peace of mind, and enjoy the travel experiences they are missing dearly, and that is what we do best.
‘Sailing from Israel is an opportunity we have had our sights on for quite some time. We greatly appreciate the government of Israel for their collaboration and confidence in us to deliver memorable cruise experiences to their residents, and look forward to delivering on that promise aboard our newest ship – the first ‘Green Island’ at sea.’
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu added: ‘Thanks to the millions of vaccines we have brought, I am proud that Israel will be the first country in the world to launch Royal Caribbean’s new flagship. Royal Caribbean’s decision to come to Israel is a significant expression of confidence in our policy.
‘Israel is a global model of success. We will continue our programme – the ‘green passport’ – so that we can get out of the Covid-19 virus in peace. Just as we made Israel the world champion in vaccines, we will make it the world champion in economics and tourism in the post-corona era.’
Highlights on board the state-of-the-art new ship, Odyssey of the Seas, include a two-level pool deck; SeaPlex, the two-level indoor and outdoor activity complex that is a high-adrenaline playground for all ages, and a lineup of complimentary and specialty restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. Entertainment throughout the ship will be punctuated by high-tech signature productions in the Royal Theater and Two70.
Visit royalcaribbean.com for more information.