Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel, Odyssey of the Seas, arrived at its new homeport in Israel this week. From here, the vessel will be sailing on various itineraries in the Mediterranean.
Odyssey of the Seas was only released and handed over by the shipyard several weeks ago and is still in the progress of final outfitting before she will be setting sail with guests for the first time at the start of summer. She sailed into Haifa for the first time on April 21, at 7 AM.
Crew Preparations Begin
The purpose for Odyssey of the Seas to call in the port Haifa is first and foremost to have all crew members vaccinated for COVID-19. Israel has a requirement in place with Royal Caribbean that all crew members and guests onboard the vessel have been fully vaccinated before the ship is allowed to sail.
To achieve the vaccination grade required by Israel, the vessel will likely remain at anchor in or near the port for the next two months, according to Israeli newspaper Ynet.
Odyssey of the Seas will be sailing on its maiden voyage in the Mediterranean on June 2, 2021. According to Royal Caribbean representatives, it is now time for the Port of Haifa and Odyssey of the Seas to get used to seeing each other on a regular basis:
“This will be an opportunity for the crew of the ship and the port of Haifa to get to know each other, since this is the first time that Odyssey of the Seas has entered the port of Haifa.”
Simultaneously, the world’s second-largest cruise company does not have the accreditations necessary for sailing from the Israeli Ministry of Health. It is not yet clear whether they will succeed in the vaccination mission in time, although the outlook looks positive for Royal Caribbean as they have a large amount of support from the Israeli government.
A New Itinerary
Royal Caribbean has had to re-shuffle the itinerary for Odyssey of the Seas quite a bit in recent months. Originally, Odyssey of the Seas was scheduled to embark on her maiden voyage in November 2020, sailing from its homeport of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US.
Royal Caribbean originally scheduled the vessel’s Mediterranean itinerary to sail from the port of Civitavecchia in Italy; however, the arrival of COVID-19 changed all that.
The current itinerary that Odyssey of the Seas will be sailing on includes several stops in Greece and Cyprus, including Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos and Athens, Greece and Limassol, Cyprus, and will be the first time any of the large cruise corporations has homeported in Israel.
These voyages will be available to fully vaccinated residents of Israel only and will run until the ship undertakes its first transatlantic crossing to the United States in November of this year.
About Odyssey of the Seas
Built by the Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, the same place where ships like AIDAnova, Norwegian Bliss, World Dream, and P&O Iona have been built. Odyssey of the Seas underwent her sea trials in March of this year and was released from the yard and handed over shortly afterward.
The new Royal Caribbean ship weighs 169,000 tons, is 347 meters long, and 41 meters wide. It has 16 decks, 2,105 rooms, can accommodate up to 5,498 and is the 25th ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet.