- Royal Caribbean’s new Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship will be setting sail from Israel in May.
- The ship’s crew and guests over 16 years old must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- The cruise line previously said it expected its crews to receive vaccines before trips returned.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Royal Caribbean’s new ship, the Odyssey of the Seas, will be setting sail in May from Israel with a COVID-19 vaccine requirement, the cruise line announced on Monday.
The announcement represents several firsts: the new ship’s first trip, Royal Caribbean’s first voyage from Israel, and the company’s first cruise with a vaccination requirement.
Before this, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson told Insider that it would be expecting its crew members to get the vaccine but made no mention of guest vaccination requirements. But now, both crew and guests over 16 years old will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to sail on the Odyssey of the Seas in Israel.
Royal Caribbean has been eyeing the chance to offer cruises from Israel “for quite some time,” Michael Bayley, the cruise line’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
The new ship will have classic cruising amenities families can look forward to, such as a two-level pool area, a “high-adrenaline” playground, and several restaurants. And the passengers will be shuttled on three- to seven-night trips to Greece and Cyprus from Haifa, Israel, and back.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Royal Caribbean announcement an “important economic, touristic moment” for Israel.
“Royal Caribbean’s decision to come to Israel is a significant expression of confidence in our policy,” Netanyahu said in the press release. “Just as we made Israel the world champion in vaccines, we will make it the world champion in economics and tourism in the post-coronavirus era.”
Vaccination progress in Israel rapidly outpaces other countries. Of the 9 million people in Israel, over 4.6 million have received their first jab, while over 3.3 million are now fully inoculated against the virus, The Washington Post reported.
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