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Maiden voyage – a tribute to the vaccination nation

CM 10/04/2021


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Almost the length of four football fields, with 16 decks, 21 restaurants and bars, 2,105 staterooms and 1,550 crew, Odyssey of the Seas makes her maiden voyage this spring departing from the port of Haifa.
While Royal Caribbean International did look at other locations for the ship’s first cruise, Israel’s determination to vaccinate its entire population was a major draw. Likewise, the travel corridor established between Israel and Cyprus and Greece means cruising the Eastern Mediterranean is far easier to organize than in other parts of the world during the pandemic.
“Thanks to the millions of vaccines we have brought, I am proud that Israel will be the first country in the world to launch Royal Caribbean’s new flagship,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “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.”
The cruises are only for fully vaccinated Israeli adults and children with a negative PCR test. All crew members are vaccinated.
Royal Caribbean teamed up with Norwegian Cruise Line to establish a panel of health experts, including epidemiologists. That team created protocols that include 74 recommendations for a return to healthy sailing. Royal Caribbean implemented many of those proposals when it resumed sailing from Singapore at the end of 2020.
“Sailing from Israel is an opportunity we have had our sights on for quite some time,” said Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley. “We greatly appreciate the government of Israel for their collaboration and confidence in us to deliver memorable cruise experiences to their residents, and look forward to delivering on that promise aboard our newest ship, the first [COVID-free] ‘green island’ at sea.”
Royal Caribbean hopes some 70,000 Israelis will take to the seas from Haifa during this initial season, with the first passengers setting off on a two-day jaunt to Cyprus on June 2. 

The Odyssey will dock at Limassol, Cyprus, and at Athens, Greece, and pay visits to Greek islands including Rhodes, Santorini and Mykonos during two-to-seven-day cruises. 
The ship is something to behold: a city on the sea with all the amenities you could want and more, and that includes services for the kosher traveler. Part of the main dining room will be fully kosher with another restaurant also offering kosher cuisine as part of the all-inclusive package. There will also be kosher snacks around the ship, and synagogues according to demand. 
“We’re going to have a rabbi bless the kitchens,” the cruise line’s EMEA vice-president Ben Bouldin told the travel edition of The Jerusalem Post’s podcast. The company has tried to think of everything for the religious traveler, including electric Shabbat candles because naked flames are “a bit of a no-no” on board.
There will be Hebrew-speaking staff, and guest services and announcements will be made in Hebrew in addition to English.
All passengers will enjoy balcony staterooms on the initial sailings. The company is limiting traveler numbers to ensure a COVID-safe atmosphere. The ship will sail at around one-third of its 5,500-passenger capacity. That means everyone gets a room with a view. 
The Odyssey offers truly international cuisine beyond the inclusive dining experience. Restaurants include Teppanyaki, serving East Asian flavors in a traditional Japanese style, and Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar. If you like beverages from the old country, there’s a Starbucks and an English pub along with a host of other eateries and bars.
The upper deck is a paradise for kids and parents alike. It features two open-air, resort-style pools and four whirlpools with shady casitas and hammocks. There’s also a FlowRider surf simulator, skydiving in the North Star all-glass observation capsule that boasts 360-degree views from 300 feet above sea level, and robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar.
The ship boasts bumper cars, a five-aside soccer court, a teen lounge and lots of entertainment for the little ones in English and Hebrew. The theaters will host shows while Israeli DJs and Greek bands bring a local touch to proceedings.
“It’s going to be the newest and most incredible cruise ship to grace the Earth this year,” said Bouldin. “We think it’s really an opportunity to put cruises back on the map, and I’m excited that it’s happening in this region.”
There are sailings throughout the summer with prices from $493.
Mark and David present the travel edition of The Jerusalem Post podcast. You can listen at jpost.com/podcast 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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