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Royal Caribbean cancels Israel visits due to Hamas attacks

07 Oct 2023
Matt Hochberg

At least one sailing to Israel has been changed due to attacks by Gaza militants on Saturday.

A surprise attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists has brought a new wave of violence in the region, and these sort of incidents have historically meant cruise ships turning away.

UPDATE: A passenger on Odyssey of the Seas posted on the Royal Caribbean Blog message boards that Odyssey will skip Israel as well.

"The captain just announced (paraphrasing here) about half a hour ago, that we will not visit Israel due to the geopolitical situation, decision taken together with security experts and in view of the safety of passengers, staff and ship."

The passenger said while disappointing to have an itinerary change, he thinks it was the right choice, "I at least would not have felt safe there right now."

Instead, Odyssey is going to Bodrum in Turkey and Limassol in Cyprus.

Rhapsody of the Seas sailing away in Haifa, Israel

Royal Caribbean offers Greek isles cruises on Rhapsody of the Seas from Haifa, Israel, which located in the northern part of the country.

The cruise line has yet to make a change to Rhapsody's upcoming itineraries.


Rhapsody of the Seas is currently in Santorini.

Royal Caribbean had to cancel cruises in 2021 from Israel due to unrest in the country.

Odyssey of the Seas was scheduled to sail from there, but sailings were cancelled once the attacks began there.

In fact, in countries where civil unrest occurs, Royal Caribbean typically cancels cruises to err on the side of caution.

Tel Aviv

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that his country was “at war” because of the attacks by Palestinian militants. A barrage of rockets was fired indiscriminately into Israel,  and gunmen were sent into Israeli territory. It's the latest chapter in a bloody saga between the two sides that has lasted decades.

Celebrity Cruises cancels too

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The Celebrity Apex is one such ship, which was scheduled to visit Israel this week.

A passenger onboard Apex posted on a message board that their itinerary has changed because of the attacks, "The captain recently announced that all stops in Israel were cancelled. "

"We are now heading to Cyprus and will overnight there.  Then we will have a sea day and arrive in Alexandria, Egypt a day early and have an extra day (now a total of 3 days) in Egypt."

Celebrity is not the only line that has changed plans.

Passengers on Holland America Line's Nieuw Standendam were already in Israel, but were quickly recalled back onboard.  A passenger posted, "three days in Holy Land has become three hours."

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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