July 22, 2014
(4:45 p.m., July 23) -- Costa Cruises has canceled all of its scheduled port stops for Ashdod and Haifa in Israel for its fall 2014 cruises. For Costa Pacifica sailings between Sept. 15 through Nov. 20, the ship will substitute an overnight stop in Istanbul and a one-day visit to Volos, Greece. Costa Deliziosa will change its Sept. 5 itinerary to stop in Volos and Heraklion, Crete instead of Haifa.
(12:30 EDT) -- With violence in Israel continuing to escalate, some cruise lines with upcoming port calls are changing their itineraries to avoid stopping in the country.
Regent Seven Seas canceled a July 19 port call to Haifa on Seven Seas Mariner, as has Oceania for its Sept. 8 sailing on Riviera. The stops were replaced with Mykonos, Greece, as well as Antalya and Alanya, Turkey, Prestige spokesman Jason Lasecki said.
"We continue to monitor the situation in Israel and will adjust future itineraries, should the need warrant," he said.
Even as peace talks got underway in Egypt Tuesday, fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters continued in Gaza. On Tuesday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration banned U.S. airlines from flying into Tel Aviv after a rocket landed near Ben Gurion Airport.
The US State Department updated its travel warning for Israel, particularly the West Bank and Gaza. It noted that long-range rockets launched from Gaza have reached cities throughout the country, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The German cruise line AIDA Cruises canceled all of its 2014 port calls in Israel after shrapnel landed on the deck of AIDAdiva as it left Ashdod - the main port for Jerusalem - on July 7, substituting Santorini.
Other cruise lines have yet to adjust their schedules, but say they are watching the situation carefully. The main tourist season for Israel, which has two major cruise ports - Haifa and Ashdod - doesn't begin until fall, when the weather cools down.
Thomson , Costa, Seabourn, Holland America, Celebrity, Silversea, Azamara, Princess, MSC and P & O all have Israel on itineraries through December 2014, with the bulk of cruises occurring in October. Azamara, for example, has yet to cancel the Israeli ports on its October 14 Journey of St. Paul cruise; it is monitoring the situation, the line said in a statement.
"The safety and security of our guests and crew members are always our highest priority," according to the statement.
Other lines that reported back to Cruise Critic that they had not yet changed any itineraries are Celebrity, Seabourn and Holland America.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor