The highly anticipated summer cruise season announced by Royal Caribbean in March 2021, and due to set sail from the port of Haifa for the first time ever, has now been officially cancelled due to the security situation in Israel, and according to some sources also due to a dispute between the cruise company and the Israeli Health Ministry over vaccinations for the crew.
The Odyssey of the Seas eased into the port of Haifa on April 22, with more than a thousand crew members on board. According to some sources, Israel’s Ministry of Health insisted that all crew members be vaccinated, yet refused the company’s request to buy vaccinations from Israel.
Last week, around 25,000 Israelis who have already booked their cruise from Haifa received a letter sigend by CEO and president of the company, Michael Bailey, explaining that the cancellation is due to the ongoing security situation in Israel and the region, and offering passengers a voucher worth 125% of the price they paid, or a full cash refund.
“Due to the unrest in Israel and region, Odyssey has not been able to complete the preparations required. The ship will spend its inaugural season in Florida but we remain hopeful to return to this popular destination with our ships in the future,” said Royal Caribbean in its statement.