With the continuing conflict between Israel and Hamas, major cruise lines have cancelled port calls to Israel for the remainder of 2023 and the onset of 2024. 

Both Ashdod and the Port of Haifa in Israel are common stops on any Mediterranean cruise. But more cruise lines are now altering their itineraries in the short term but are likely to make long-term adjustments as the conflict continues.

The escalation of violence in the region has now affected nearby ports of call in Egypt, such as Alexandria and Port Said on the Mediterranean, and Safaga and Ain Sukhna along the Red Sea Coast. 

At the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict in October, lines such as Azamara, Carnival Corporation, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line immediately cancelled port calls to Israel. 

As of this writing, here are the cruise lines that have modified their itineraries towards the end of 2023 and some sailing schedules for 2024 to detour from war-torn Israel. 

Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Cruises also suspended all calls to Israel on its  Three Continents itinerary towards the end of November. The cruise line also said that their teams will be directly updating all affected customers and agents in the coming days.

MSC Cruises

The line cancelled its entire 2023/24 Red Sea winter for MSC Orchestra which is supposed to run until April 17, 2024. MSC Sinfonia also cancelled its original schedule set on November 12, 2023 to April 15, 2014. 

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises revamped its Mediterranean voyages for 2024 and replaced ports of call in Israel, Egypt and Jordan. 

The original 42 itineraries that range from 10 to 58 days have been changed to new sailings that include a 10-day sailing from Valletta to Trieste, a 24-day cruise from Dubai to Barcelona and a 15-day voyage from Dubai to Trieste. 

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises has also joined the list of cruise lines that altered their itineraries for their November 2023 to March 2024 sailings. The Island Princess which is scheduled to call in Ashdod on November 9 and 23, 2023, and in Haifa on November 15 and 29, 2023 will now have port calls to Santorini and Crete instead. 

The line also scrapped Haifa port calls in its 22-day World Cruise set on March 11, 2024. 

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent removed ports of call in Israel for the remainder of 2023. This only impacts one future 2023 sailing in November. Its parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said that they are now in the process of cancelling all calls to Israel in 2024 as the conflict in the region continues.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean Group (RCL.N) also removed Israel from its Celebrity Infinity 2024 itineraries. The cruise line will also redeploy two of its ships, Jewel of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. 

Jewel will be redeployed from Haifa to Boston, Massachusetts and will sail Northeastern itineraries while Grandeur will be redeployed from Haifa to Tampa, Florida and will sail the Western Caribbean. 

Silversea Cruises

Silversea Cruises has also tweaked its remaining 2023 sailings and removed calls to Israel including the December sailing of Silver Moon. The cruise line has also changed its 2024 itineraries and did not include port calls in Israel and Egypt. 

Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises also modified its 2023 sailings for “Cities of Antiquities & the Holy Land”, replacing all port calls to Israel.  

On cancellation and refund

Various cruise lines provided refund and cancellation arrangements specific to the affected sailings due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. 

Celebrity Cruises automatically refunded to guests original form of payment all excursions for Egypt and Israel. It was also reported that the line offered a 100% future cruise credit (FCC) for guests who choose to cancel their October 16, 2023 voyage provided they rebooked a new Celebrity Cruises cruise at the same time. For guests who did not rebook immediately, it was also reported that they’re offered a 90% FFC. 

On the other hand, MSC Cruises guests who wish to cancel their trip may do so with no cancellation fees. They may also opt to move their cruise to an alternative ship and itinerary with the same length, or they may request for a refund. 

The line also advised passengers to contact their travel agents to understand the next steps for a new booking or for a refund. 

As for Royal Caribbean, guests who booked Jewel of the Seas may opt to book another sailing and have any non-refundable deposit change fees waived. Should they choose to rebook, guests will have to shoulder the price difference, fare, taxes, fees, gratuities, and other incidental expenses. 

For booking paid in full and when the guest opts to rebook a cheaper cruise, Royal Caribbean will provide a refund for the price difference within 14 business days. Guests must note that refund times vary depending on the financial institution. 

In addition, guests who originally booked Grandeur of the Seas and decided to rebook shall receive their original stateroom category. In the event that the booking was paid in full and the rate decreases, guests will be refunded for the rate difference. 

For rebooking on another sailing with a different ship, any non-refundable deposit change fees will be waived. However, guests will be responsible for the difference in cruise fare, taxes, fees, and gratuities, if applicable. 

When it comes to non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees for flights, trains, rental cars, etc., Royal Caribbean will cover up to $200 USD per guest for domestic changes, and up to $400 USD for international changes. 

For guests who made their reservation with a Future Cruise Credit and decide to cancel will have their original certificate reinstated, with any new funds paid above the certificate amount refunded.