Royal Caribbean will be ‘first’ to offer ‘fully vaccinated’ cruise with sailings starting in Israel

Royal Caribbean’s newest ship “Odyssey of the Seas” is set to debut in May with departures from Israel with all passengers and crew over the age of 16 vaccinated. 

“In conjunction with Israel’s health and tourism authorities, Royal Caribbean will be the first to offer fully vaccinated sailings, where both crew and guests above the age of 16 will be vaccinated against COVID-19,” the cruise line said in a statement posted to its website.

Israel has not yet opened vaccination appointments to residents aged 16 and under, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.

Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Costa Cruises have all said they intend to vaccinate crew members on their vessels, but a fully vaccinated cruise is a newer commitment.

Originally supposed to sail in Rome before heading to Florida in November, the new ship’s debut in Israel marks the first time that the cruise line will have sailings departing from the country, according to Royal Caribbean. 

“The current situation throughout Europe is still uncertain, and Israel has been praised for their effective COVID-19 management by global experts and communities, and thus is well-placed to resume cruise operations,” Lyan Sierra-Caro, spokesperson for Royal Caribbean International, told USA TODAY.

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