In a first for the cruise industry, Miami-based Royal Caribbean International has announced that it will offer cruises setting sail from Israel for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Tickets go on sale on March 9 for voyages beginning in May.

The global cruise line will offer a combination of three- to seven-night “escapes” setting sail from Haifa to the Greek Isles and Cyprus aboard its brand-new Quantum Ultra Class ship, Odyssey of the Seas.

In conjunction with Israel’s health and tourism authorities, Royal Caribbean will be the first to offer fully vaccinated cruises, where both crew and guests above the age of 16 have been inoculated against COVID-19.

“Sailing from Israel is an opportunity we have had our sights on for quite some time. Israeli travelers will be looking to get away, relax with total peace of mind and enjoy the travel experiences they are missing dearly; and that is what we do best,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

Passengers will have a variety of dining options; a two-level pool deck that includes two pools and a kids’ aqua park; skydiving simulator and surf simulator; sports bar and arcade; theater and multimedia shows; all-glass observation capsule affording 360-degree views from 300 feet above sea level; and a “Bionic Bar” staffed by robotic bartenders.

The round-trip itineraries from Haifa will include visits to Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos and Athens in Greece; and Limassol in Cyprus.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the news by saying, “I am proud that Israel will be the first country in the world to launch Royal Caribbean’s new flagship.”

This article was first published by Israel21c.

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