MIAMI - Israeli holidaymakers will set a new course for adventure this summer when Royal Caribbean International begins sailing from Israel for the first time in May. The global cruise line will offer Israelis a combination of 3- to 7-night escapes visiting the Greek Isles and Cyprus on board its highly anticipated, brand-new ship, Odyssey of the Seas. The new sailings will go on sale on Tuesday, March 9.
The itineraries, roundtrip from Haifa, Israel, will include visits to idyllic isles and destinations in the Mediterranean, including Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos and Athens, Greece and Limassol, Cyprus.
"We are thrilled to debut Royal Caribbean cruises from Israel with our newest and most innovative ship, Odyssey of the Seas. Israeli travelers 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," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Sailing from Israel is an opportunity we have had our sights on for quite some time. We greatly appreciate the government of Israel for their collaboration and confidence in us to deliver memorable cruise experiences to their residents, and look forward to delivering on that promise aboard our newest ship – the first 'Green Island' at sea."
Residents of Israel will be the first guests to cruise on Odyssey during its inaugural season. The innovative ship is designed to make for a memorable holiday for every kind of traveler, with a variety of new and signature experiences from bow to stern. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea, highlights on board include a two-level pool deck designed for downtime under the sun and stars, SeaPlex – the two-level indoor and outdoor activity complex that is a high-adrenaline playground for all ages, and a lineup of complimentary and specialty restaurants primed to please every palate with cuisine from around the world. And entertainment throughout the ship will be punctuated by high-tech signature productions in the Royal Theater and Two70, where art and multimedia merge for jaw-dropping performances found only on Odyssey.
"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," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Israel is a global model of success. We will continue our program – the 'green passport' – so that we can 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."
In conjunction with Israel's health and tourism authorities, 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 additional health and safety measures to be implemented by Israel and Royal Caribbean will be announced at a later date.
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 very happy 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 on board the ship and when visiting Cyprus, one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean."
Odyssey will be the first Quantum Ultra Class ship to homeport in the region, touting a distinctive new look, an action-packed top deck and a mix of record-holding hits and groundbreaking firsts.
The state-of-the-art ship will come to life with game-changing, technological innovations like the next-generation SeaPlex, which will see the addition of this venue's first Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade with club-level views of the competition below; a reimagined Adventure Ocean kids program, and the maxed-out Social180 teen lounge with gaming consoles, music, movies and an outdoor wraparound deck with ocean views. Guests will also enjoy a variety of dining venues, including Teppanyaki, serving East Asian flavors in a traditional Japanese style; and the cruise line's first Giovanni's Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, which offers rustic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair. Up top, Odyssey's vibrant next-level pool deck will feature two open-air, resort-style pools and four whirlpools with shady casitas and hammocks. Also on deck will be several guest favorites, including the FlowRider surf simulator, skydiving with RipCord by iFly, the iconic North Star all-glass observation capsule that boasts 360-degree views from 300 feet above sea level, and robot bartenders at Bionic Bar.