Beginning in May, Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas will begin sailing from Haifa, Israel and will offer Israelis a combination of 3- to 7-night escapes visiting the Greek Isles and Cyprus.
“We are thrilled to debut Royal Caribbean cruises from Israel with our newest and most innovative ship, Odyssey of the Seas. Israeli travelers will be looking to get away, relax with total peace of mind, and enjoy the travel experiences they are missing dearly; and that is what we do best,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
In part, that peace of mind may come from the fact that Royal Caribbean has announced that it 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.
“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. 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,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Israel is a global model of success. We will continue our program – the ‘green passport’ – so that we can get out of the COVID-19 virus in peace. Just as we made Israel the world champion in vaccines, we will make it the world champion in economics and tourism in the post-Corona era.”
According to recent reports, Israel has a population of approximately 9 million people and has inoculated more than 4.6 million people with at least the first injection. More than 3.3 million have gotten both shots. Additionally, almost 90 percent of Israelis over 50 have been fully vaccinated.
As mentioned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel is also debuting a "green passport" system for those who have been vaccinated. So how does it work? According to MIT Technology Review, vaccinated persons will download an app that displays a green pass. Additionally, the app will display proof that someone has recovered from covid-19 or has recently had a covid-19 test that came back negative.
However, the green pass technology isn't without its potential failings, including becoming a "privacy nightmare," with some saying that the app uses an outdated encryption library that is more vulnerable to security breaches.
Israel is making the green pass appealing to many adults by only allowing those with a green pass to access a hotel, theater or gym, pool or concert venue. However, dining rooms and restaurants aren’t open yet to anybody.