Royal Caribbean International will launch its newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, from the Israeli city of Haifa in May.
The 4,198-passenger vessel is the line’s second Quantum Ultra-class ship and the first of its kind to homeport in the region.
In conjunction with Israel’s health and tourism authorities, Royal will offer “fully vaccinated sailings” during which all crew and guests above the age of 16 will have been inoculated against Covid-19.
Details of additional health and safety measures due to be used during the sailings will be announced at a later date, Royal said.
The Haifa sailings will include visits to Greece, its islands and Cyprus.
Odyssey had originally been scheduled to sail a mini season from Southampton next month before sailing from Rome.
Royal president and chief executive Michael Bayley said the line was “thrilled” to be able to debut its “newest and most innovative ship” in Israel.
“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,” he added.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the launch of Odyssey from Israel had been possible “thanks to the millions of vaccines” administered to its citizens.
“Royal Caribbean’s decision to come to Israel is a significant expression of confidence in our policy. This is an important economic, touristic moment for the State of Israel,” he said.
“Just as we made Israel the world champion in vaccines, we will make it the world champion in economics and tourism in the [post-Covid] era.”