Home Blog Cruise lines change itineraries amid conflict in Israel, Palestinians – USA TODAY

Cruise lines change itineraries amid conflict in Israel, Palestinians – USA TODAY


Cruise lines are adjusting operations amid the Israel-Hamas war – in some cases suspending calls altogether.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and other brands have notified guests of itinerary changes for sailings in the region amid other disruptions to travel, including flights.
Airlines have issued waivers to passengers and the U.S. State Department has advisories in place for the region, encouraging travelers to exercise increased caution when visiting Israel and the West Bank and warning against travel to Gaza.
Here’s what cruise passengers should know.
Celebrity Cruises: The line’s Celebrity Apex ship is replacing visits to Israel and Egypt with stops in Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes in Greece and Bodrum, Turkey, on its Oct. 6 and Oct. 16 sailings, a spokesperson for parent company Royal Caribbean Group said. The 10-day cruises sail round-trip from Piraeus, according to CruiseMapper.
Holland America Line: The line’s Nieuw Statendam will replace a planned visit to Ashdod, Israel, with Alanya, Turkey. A spokesperson for the line said the ship would arrive early to planned stops in Limassol, Cyprus on Tuesday and Rhodes, Greece, on Wednesday, giving guests more time to explore.
The ship’s 28-day cruise from Rome to Athens had featured the line’s last stop in Israel for the year.
MSC Cruises: MSC Musica will skip its scheduled stop in Haifa on Oct. 12, instead visiting Antalya, Turkey. The ship sailed to Limassol on Tuesday, bypassing a planned visit to Kusadasi, a spokesperson said. The vessel is currently on a round-trip, week-long sailing from Athens, according to CruiseMapper.
Musica will also cancel its planned visits to Haifa on Oct. 19 and 26, replacing them with Rhodes, and a Nov. 2 stop, visiting Marmaris instead. MSC Sinfonia’s Oct. 16 visit to the Israeli city will be replaced with Bodrum.
“Future calls are being reviewed and we will update guests accordingly,” the spokesperson said. “The safety of our guests and crew is always our upmost (sic) priority and in an evolving situation such as this we will modify our itineraries as needed.”
Princess Cruises: Princess is not stopping in Israel at this time, and its Island Princess ship “will no longer call to Jerusalem/Bethlehem or to Nazareth/Galilee” during its “Mediterranean and Israel” itineraries in November, according to a spokesperson. The stops will be replaced by Santorini and Crete.
Norwegian Cruise Line: The line’s Norwegian Gem ship skipped a planned visit to Ashdod on Sunday, spending the day at sea instead, according to a spokesperson for the line. The ship continued to Limassol as scheduled Monday. The vessel is on an 11-day sailing from Rome to Istanbul, according to CruiseMapper.
Norwegian Jade replaced planned visits to Ashdod and Haifa on Wednesday and Thursday with stops in Bodrum on Tuesday and Marmaris on Wednesday. The ship, which is on a weeklong round-trip sailing from Athens, will spend a day at sea Thursday.
“We are closely monitoring the situation in Israel,” the spokesperson said. “As always, the safety and security of our guests, crew and communities we visit is our top priority. We have strict safety protocols in place and cooperate with local authorities regarding security matters at the destinations our ships visit.”
Oceania Cruises: The line’s Nautica ship left Israel on Saturday, one day ahead of schedule. All guests and crew members were safe and accounted for, a spokesperson for the line said. The line’s Sirena vessel’s planned stops in Haifa and Ashdod during its Oct. 14 voyage from Piraeus to Istanbul will be replaced by Santorini, Heraklion and Mykonos in Greece.
The line is also “in the process of reviewing itinerary options” for its Marina ship’s Nov. 1 cruise, which is set to spend two days in Israel, the spokesperson said.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises: “Due to the current escalated situation, we have decided the most prudent course of action is to amend Seven Seas Voyager’s October 3 and October 15, 2023, itineraries and replace the previously scheduled calls to Israel,” a spokesperson for the line said in an email.
The ship will skip its planned stop in Haifa on Oct. 14 and 15, instead sailing to Istanbul. The Oct. 15 sailing will begin in Istanbul rather than Haifa and sail directly to Cairo.
Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at ndiller@usatoday.com.



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