As North Americans continue to await final details on cruising’s restart, another cruise company today has committed to continue its restart elsewhere with a highly-anticipated new build.
Royal Caribbean on Monday announced that its newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, will debut in May, sailing out of Haifa, Israel with all passengers and crewmembers over 16-years-old fully vaccinated.
Odyssey, Royal’s 27th ship, was originally supposed to homeport in Ft. Lauderdale starting in November 2020, sailing eight- and six-night Caribbean itineraries, but those plans were changed due to the impact of COVID-19.
Royal, which has not committed yet to vaccination requirements in North America, said that the decision was made in conjunction with Israel’s health and tourism authorities and that details on the health and safety protocols on board will be released later. Only residents of Israel will be able to sail during the ship’s inaugural season.
The cruises, which will go on sale on March 9, include stops in Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Limassol.
“Sailing from Israel is an opportunity we have had our sights on for quite some time. We greatly appreciate the government of Israel for their collaboration and confidence in us to deliver memorable cruise experiences to their residents, and look forward to delivering on that promise aboard our newest ship – the first ‘Green Island’ at sea,” Royal president and CEO Michael Bayley said.
The ship will launch as a sister ship to Spectrum of the Seas and will have many of the same features, including a two-level pool deck; FlowRider, RipCord, and SkyPad on its top deck; and many different dining options, like El Loco Fresh, Teppanyaki, and Chop’s Grille.
Odyssey, according to the cruise line, “will represent the next evolution of Royal Caribbean’s groundbreaking and high-tech Quantum Class” that debuted in 2014 with Quantum of the Seas. Quantum was followed by Anthem of the Seas in 2015, and Ovation of the Seas in 2016, before Spectrum of the Seas launched Royal’s Quantum Ultra class earlier this year.