The 72-hour cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians may still be holding firm, but some cruise lines are anticipating the peace will be short lived and are making alternative arrangements.
Last month, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) upgraded its advice, urging travellers to reconsider their need to travel to select areas around Israel.
Despite the cease-fire, the government has maintained its stance, noting affected areas include Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah, the Gaza Strip and Ashdod – a popular cruise port.
Since, cruise lines have headed DFAT’s advice, replacing Ashdod and Haifa from their itineraries.
The third major English-market cruise line to visit Israel has cancelled calls to Israeli ports. The 12-night Holy Land and Mediterranean cruise will no longer visit Haifa and Ashdod.
Limassol in Cyprus has also been removed because it no longer fits with the new route.
The ports will be replaced with Santorini, Gozo, Palermo and an overnight stay in Malta.
Princess Cruises is the latest line to remove Israel from its itineraries. The line has replaced scheduled Israel calls between September and November with visits to Sicily and Istanbul.
Costa has modified Costa Pacifica’s 15 September itinerary, which was scheduled to make overnight calls at Ashdod and Haifa. Instead overnight visits will be made at Istanbul, Turkey and Volos, Greece.
Costa Deliziosa’s 5 September cruise will also be adjusted with an overnight call at Istanbul replacing a night at Haifa and one-day visits to Volos and Heraklion in Greece will replace two sea days.
Oceania has cancelled Riviera’s visit to Haifa on 8 September, instead replacing the stop with either Mykonos in Greece or Antalya or Alanya in Turkey.
The line said it is monitoring the situation and will notify cruisers of any future itinerary changes.
German cruise line, AIDA Cruises was the first cruise line to cancel calls to Israel after passengers aboard Aida Diva witnessed rocket fire between Israelis and Palestinians while leaving Ashdod last month.
As a result, the line replaced all 2014 visits to Israel with calls in Santorini.
“The safety of guests and crew is our top priority at all times and the security situation is constantly being monitored by us,” the line said.
Other cruise lines say they’re monitoring the situation.
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