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Sunday, October 8, 2023

Cruise Lines Adjust Routes Amidst Safety Concerns Following Hamas Attack in Israel

In recent cruise news, several cruise lines have had to make significant adjustments to their routes due to safety concerns following a Hamas attack on Israel. This incident has disrupted travel plans for passengers and raised questions about the stability of cruise itineraries in the region. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of the attack on cruise lines, the changes they have made to their schedules, and the broader context of conflicts affecting cruise travel in this part of the world.

Cruise Lines Affected:

At the time of the Hamas attack, two major cruise lines, Carnival Corporation (CCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), had ships docked in Haifa, Israel, which is just 50 miles from the site of the explosions near Tel Aviv. The ships affected by the incident were Oceania Cruises' vessel Nautica and Holland America Line's Nieuw Statendam. Both of these ships left promptly after passengers returned from their shore excursions.

Itinerary Changes:

The impact of the attack was felt across various cruise itineraries, with ships altering their scheduled ports of call. Here are some of the notable changes:

  1. Odyssey of the Seas: Originally scheduled to visit Haifa and Ashdod, Israel, this ship redirected its route to Bodrum, Turkey, and Limassol, Cyprus.

  2. Rhapsody of the Seas: Operating from Haifa, Israel, this ship canceled its October 9 and October 13 short cruises, citing safety concerns.

  3. Celebrity Apex: Instead of docking in Haifa, Israel, as planned, this ship will now dock in Limassol, Cyprus.

Passenger Experiences:

The impact of these itinerary changes was felt by passengers on the ground as well. For example, Nieuw Statendam had guests on an independent shore excursion in the Galilee region at the Jordan River when the attack occurred. Passengers were recalled to the ship, turning what was supposed to be three days in the Holy Land into just three hours. This unexpected turn of events left many passengers disappointed.

Ongoing Israel Conflicts:

This is not the first time that conflicts in the region have disrupted cruise travel plans. A decade ago, rocket debris landed on a cruise ship off the coast of Ashdod, Israel. In 2021, Royal Caribbean canceled some cruises due to unrest in Israel. The recent attacks by Palestinian militants have further heightened tensions in the area, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring that Israel is currently at war.

Future Impact:

The situation in Israel continues to evolve, and it is likely to impact multiple cruises in the coming weeks. Cruise lines are closely monitoring developments and adjusting itineraries as necessary to ensure the safety of their passengers, crew members, and ships. While these changes may disappoint travelers who had booked cruises to enjoy the ports of call in Israel, safety remains the top priority.


The recent Hamas attack in Israel has had a significant impact on the cruise industry, forcing cruise lines to make swift adjustments to their itineraries to ensure the safety of their passengers and crew. As tensions in the region persist, travelers booked on upcoming cruises to Israel should stay in close contact with their cruise lines for updates and itinerary adjustments. While these disruptions are unfortunate, they underscore the importance of prioritizing safety in cruise travel, especially in regions prone to conflict.


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