Germany’s Aida Cruises, is the only cruise line to remove Israel from its itineraries, despite government warnings to reconsider travel to parts of the destination.
This month, Australian, US and UK governments updated travel advisory to select areas around Israel to ‘reconsider your need to travel’ as conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians continues to escalate.
Areas affected include Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah, the Gaza Strip and Ashdod – a popular cruise port.
“There has been increased rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and most of southern Israel in July 2014,” the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.
“Australians should familiarise themselves with emergency procedures and how to respond to air raid sirens, including knowing the location of their nearest emergency shelters.
“We strongly advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to areas of Israel within 40kms of the border with the Gaza Strip due to the continuing threat of rocket attack. This includes the cities of Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Be’er Sheva.”
So far, Aida is the only line to follow advice, replacing all 2014 Israel visits with Santorini.
The decision was made after 2,700 passengers aboard Aida Diva witnessed missile fire between Israelis and Palestinians while leaving the Port of Ashdod earlier this month.
“No one was injured and there was no damage to the ship,” the line said in a statement.
“We are very sorry that our guests witnessed this incident.
“The safety of guests and crew is our top priority at all times and the security situation is constantly being monitored by us.”
Meanwhile, other cruise lines including Silversea, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Oceania, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises and Seabourn told Cruise Passenger they are closely monitoring the situation.
“The safety and security of our guests and crew is our number one priority. We have no itinerary modifications to report, however, we are closely monitoring the situation in Israel and will modify itineraries if necessary to safeguard our guests,” Regent Seven Seas said in a statement.