Today, a remarkable announcement from Royal Caribbean confirmed Haifa in Israel to be the vessel’s homeport in May of this year. Odyssey of the Seas, the global cruise line’s highly-anticipated new ship, will offer Israelis a combination of 3- to 7-night getaways on the Greek Islands and Cyprus. The new sailings will go on sale on Tuesday, March 9.
Royal Caribbean Sailing from Israel
Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said in a statement today that the line has been eyeing Israel as a potential homeport for some time now:
“Sailing from Israel is an opportunity we have had our sights on for quite some time. We greatly appreciate Israel’s government for their collaboration and confidence in us to deliver memorable cruise experiences to their residents. We look forward to delivering on that promise aboard our newest ship – the first ‘Green Island’ at sea.”
In the same release, Michael Bayley said guests would be able to relax and be totally at ease:
“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,”
Why can guests relax? All guests must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 above the age of 16.
Vessel Will Be 100% Vaccinated
The first guests to cruise on Odyssey of the Seas during its inaugural season will be residents of Israel. This ship is designed to provide every kind of traveler with an unforgettable vacation. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, said that the Israeli government is proud to offer Royal Caribbean the opportunity to sail from Israel:
“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. This is an important economic, touristic moment for the State of Israel,”
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 other health and safety measures to be implemented by Israel and Royal Caribbean will be announced later.
Israel’s widely-criticized Green Passport is proving successful, despite the criticism from several European governments, something the Prime Minister also realizes:
“Israel is a global model of success. We will continue our program – the ‘green passport’ – to 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.”
Sailing The Greek Islands and Cyprus
A round trip from Haifa, Israel, the itineraries will feature visits to idyllic isles and destinations in the Mediterranean, including Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos and Athens, and Limassol, Cyprus.
The Greek Minister of Tourism, Mr. Haris Theoharis, supports all the efforts for the resumption of cruising in Greece and the surrounding area. He said:
“We are delighted with today’s announcement as our recent travel agreement with Israel is already bringing results, and more people will have the opportunity to have unique experiences in our beautiful destinations and islands.”
Savvas Perdios, the Deputy Minister of Tourism for Cyprus, commented:
“It is an honor to be featured in Royal Caribbean’s itinerary this summer, and we are delighted to welcome their newest ship to our island. Cyprus supports the cruise industry and is pleased to help the industry on its road to recovery. We are certain that guests will have a great time, both onboard the ship and when visiting Cyprus, one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean.”
Royal Caribbean Still Showing Other May Sailings
Although the sailings in May 2021 are a good sign for the cruise industry, as it adds one more sailing location to the total, it does bring to light a new issue. What will happen to Royal Caribbean’s cruises from other ports, now the line has decided to sail fully vaccinated from Israel only.
Whether these cruises will be cancelled has still not been announced, although other cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Line have already taken that step. Royal Caribbean is now steadily increasing the ships sailing for the company.
Quantum of the Seas, a sister ship to Odyssey of the Seas, has been sailing successfully since last year in Singapore, while part-owned Mein Schiff has been making regular sailings in the Canary Islands.
Odyssey of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean’s 5th Quantum-class ship and the company’s second Quantum-Plus class vessel after Spectrum of the Seas. Odyssey of the Seas is a trendsetter in her own way, one of the first to sport Royal Caribbean’s new look, she also boasts two pool decks with two resort-style pools, a kids aqua park, and four whirlpools. While some new epic adventure features have also been installed.
When she is launched, the vessel will be 169,000 gross tons, 347 meters long, and have space for 4,180 passengers at double occupancy. Odyssey of the Seas was all set to be launched in Fort Lauderdale, however, due to the delays, postponements, cancelations from the pandemic
Odyssey of the Seas will now be the first Quantum Ultra Class ship to homeport in Israel.
This weekend, the vessel sailed out of her dock in Germany on her way to Eemshaven in the Netherlands, where she will be outfitted and undertake sea trials. Odyssey of the Seas will be sailing from Haifa for the summer and transit towards Ft Lauderdale later this year.