One of Australia’s favourite ships, Rhapsody of the Seas, had a close call with a missile during a cruise in the Middle East earlier this year.
During a voyage from Dubai, Rhapsody called at the Israeli port of Ashod on May 26. While the ship was docked there was a sporadic rocket attack from Gaza. All passengers were immediately recalled to the ship, which proceeded on to Haifa.
Royal Caribbean confirmed the incident to News Corp today, but said that the ship was not close to the rocket fire and passengers were never in danger.
The incident raises further questions about the safety of cruise ship visits to the Middle East. Lines continue to call at Ashod despite strong warnings from the Department of Foreign Affairs “that Australians reconsider their need to travel to areas of Israel within five kilometres of the border with the Gaza Strip due to the threat of rocket attack”.
This is not the first incident involving a cruise ship in the region. German cruise ship AIDAdiva was hit by rocket fragments as it sailed from Ashod last year, though the missile had not been aimed directly at the ship.
In the worst incident, 22 passengers were killed in March in Tunisia when terrorists opened fire on cruise buses outside the Bardo Museum. It is not known if terrorists were directly targeting cruise passengers.