(10 a.m. EDT) -- Due to the current conflict in Israel, Royal Caribbean has been forced to cancel the entire season of its newest ship there, Odyssey of the Seas.
The line's latest Quantum Ultra-class ship arrived in Haifa last month and was due to start passenger sailings June 2 for vaccinated Israelis only, and spend a season in Israel -- a first for the country and testament to Israel being one of the most vaccinated countries on earth.
Plans have changed, though, because of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The 4,180-passenger ship will instead head to Florida in the hope that cruising will restart from the US this summer.
"This change, while understandably very disappointing for the Israeli holidaymakers who we looked forward to welcoming on board, reflects our strong commitment to offering holidays that are as safe as they are memorable. We hope to continue seeing our Israeli guests on other ships in the region and around the world," Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley said.
"Our guests, crew and the communities we visit will always be our top priorities. This was a challenging decision to make, but we must remain nimble in the current environment."
"Due to the unrest in Israel and the region, Odyssey has not been able to complete the preparations required to operate from Haifa, Israel as planned," the cruise line said in a statement. "Given this and the uncertainty of when things will return to normal, the industry’s newest ship will now spend its inaugural season in Florida.”
Royal Caribbean said it hopes to return to Israel in the future.
Wonder of the Seas Construction Update: Sea Trials
Wonder of the Seas Completes Sea Trials
Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months
Perfect Day at CocoCay: Here's How We Spent 2 DAYS at Royal Caribbean's Private Island
Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog
Live From Adventure of the Seas: What's the Same, What's Different and What's Better?
Here's What We Packed For Our Royal Caribbean Cruise (June 2021)
Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises!
Odyssey of the Seas -- From Steel Cutting to Delivery 2021
Video Of Odyssey Of The Seas Conveyance March 2021
Royal Caribbean Group Announces E-muster, Keyless Cabin Check-in And Other App Improvements
Royal Caribbean Odyssey Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft
Shipyard Tour: Royal Caribbean’s Symphony Of The Seas Gets Its Finishing Touches -- Video
Harmony Of The Seas Video Tour – Inside Look At One Of Royal Caribbean’s Most Popular Cruise Ships
Symphony Of The Seas Video Tour
Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum Of The Seas Celebrates Keel Laying
Sea Beyond: An Innovative Cruise Experience By Royal Caribbean
Sneak Peak At Symphony Of The Seas
What’s Your Size? Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class Vs. Majesty Of The Seas - Video
Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas Photo Tour
Spectrum Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft
Royal Caribbean's Enchantment Of The Seas Highlights
Harvest Caye Cruise Port Video Tour
Photo Tour of Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas
What It Means To Be Loyal To Royal
7 Can’t-Miss Experiences on Allure Of The Seas
Video Tour of Allure Of The Seas' Bars
Cruise Pier Runners In Cozumel -- Carnival Liberty
Harmony Of The Seas Youth Place
Harmony Of The Seas Pool And Sports Zone
Harmony Of The Seas Central Park On Royal Caribbean International
Harmony Of The Seas Boardwalk
Harmony Of The Seas Royal Promenade
Harmony Of The Seas Entertainment Place
Harmony Of The Seas Vitality Spa And Fitness Center
Perfect Storm Water Slides On Harmony Of The Seas
Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas
Harmony Of The Seas Cabins - Video Tour - Cruise Critic
Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas
Greased Lightnin': Royal Caribbean Brings Another Broadway Hit
Plunging Into Adventure On The Tallest Slide At Sea: Royal Caribbean Reveals 10-Story Ultimate Abyss
Cruise Critic Flowrider On Royal Caribbean's Freedom Of The Seas
Cruise Critic Tours Anthem of the Seas
Anthem Of The Seas Welcomes Gigi The Giraffe
Oasis Of The Seas Flowrider - Cruise Critic Goes Surfing
Oasis Of The Seas Jazz On 4 Performance
Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade (2009)
Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade Parade (2009)
Oasis Of The Seas Carousel In Action (2009)
Oasis Of The Seas Ship Tour -- Main Dining Room (2009)
Details on Odyssey's new cruises from the U.S. were not announced. Originally, the ship was to make its U.S. debut on sailings from Fort Lauderdale beginning in November, the six- and eight-night Caribbean cruises scheduled to visit Curacao, Aruba, Grand Cayman and Mexico.
Royal Caribbean took delivery of Odyssey of the Seas on March 31, in an online handover ceremony with Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The ship had been scheduled to debut in November 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ship had been scheduled to be Royal’s second to return to service since the pandemic shutdown in March 2020. The first ship to return, Quantum of the Seas, has been sailing from Singapore since December 2020.
Other cruise lines are also supposed to visit Israel this summer, including Royal Caribbean Group-owned Silversea in June. Cruise Critic is reaching out for comment.