Another Cruise Line Suspends Calls to Israel

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Celestyal Cruises has suspended all forthcoming port of call visits to Israel at least through the end of November 2023, and future calls will undoubtedly be evaluated as necessary.

This follows the cancellation of calls into Israel by various cruise lines as well as Royal Caribbean International cancelling two complete cruises that were to have departed from Haifa this month.

Celestyal Cruises Cancels Israel Visits

Luxury line Celestyal Cruises has issued a statement that forthcoming calls in Israel are suspended for the time being, which will impact a total of six upcoming sailings.

“Firstly, as a business, our thoughts are with those impacted by the events in Israel. We wish for the safety of all the souls affected and a rapid return of peace to the country,” said Chris Theophilides, CEO of Celestyal Cruises, in a statement provided to Cruise Hive.

“We are in close coordination with the authorities, and the safety, security, and comfort of our guests remains our upmost priority. On the advice of our internal teams and the relevant authorities we have decided to temporarily remove Israel from our Three Continents itinerary until the end of November this year.”

All the affected cruises are aboard Celestyal Journey, the cruise line’s larger vessel that just entered service earlier this year. The ship was formerly Holland America Line’s Ryndam but was sold, refurbished, and updated to join the Greek cruise company Celestyal Cruises.

Former Holland America Cruise Ship
Image: Celestyal Cruises

The impacted dates are the October 21 and 28 departures, as well as the upcoming November 4, 11, 18, and 28 departure dates.

Celestyal Journey is homeported from Athens at the time of the adjusted cruises, offering 7-night “Three Continent” sailings that were to call on ports in Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey.

The calls to Ashdod, Israel – 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Tel Aviv, where the majority of the violence has been centered – are now cancelled, but the other destinations on the itinerary remain intact at this time.

This includes the scheduled visits to Port Said, Egypt, though further schedule adjustments may be made in the future if regional tensions continue.

Celestyal Cruises remains committed to keeping guests updated about the situation and is reaching out to booked guests and travel partners with further information.

Multiple Cruise Lines Changing Itineraries Due to Tensions

The ongoing escalation of tension in Israel, as well as recent violence in Egypt, has prompted cruise lines to alter itineraries to ensure the safety of their guests and crew members. While some lines have only adjusted immediate sailings, others are looking at longer term schedule shifts in case tensions do not subside quickly.

Celestyal Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Nadezda Stoyanova / Shutterstock

Celebrity Cruises has already dropped visits to both Israel and Egypt for Celebrity Apex, while Royal Caribbean International has cancelled two cruises for Rhapsody of the Seas, which is sailing from Haifa, Israel, as well as adjusted the schedule for Odyssey of the Seas to avoid the area.

Other ships with altered itineraries include MSC Cruises’ MSC Musica, Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam, and Oceania Cruises’ Oceania Nautica. Additional cruise lines may reconsider calls to Israel in the coming weeks, depending on how the situation continues to develop.

Many airlines have also suspended or dramatically reduced service to Israel, which would make it more difficult for international travelers to reach the country if setting sail from Haifa or returning home after the end of a cruise in Israel.

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