This Week in Cruise: Israel Changes, New Cruises and Solo Cabins

With Israel's declaration of war against Hamas, cruise lines are now replacing Israeli port calls with other port destinations in the eastern Mediterranean. Over the weekend, Celebrity Cruises replaced Celebrity Apex's port calls in Haifa and Ashdod with a call at Cyprus and additional port time in Egypt. Royal Caribbean International's Odyssey of the Seas also didn't call at both Israeli ports, replacing those with calls in Cyprus and Turkey.

Norwegian Cruise Line told Travel Agent that it had canceled Norwegian Gem's planned call to Ashdod on Sunday; the ship instead spent a day at sea. Norwegian Jade's planned calls to Ashdod and Haifa on October 11 and 12 have also been canceled; instead that ship will visit Bodrum and Marmaris in Turkey. 

New Voyage Options

On the positive side, new voyage options for itineraries, stateroom/suite accommodations and destination options await cruise guests this fall and winter. For example, winter 2023-24 itineraries to the Caribbean, Central America and the Canary Islands have been unveiled for the new 136-passenger Sea Cloud Spirit, the third ship in the Sea Cloud Cruises fleet. 

In more ship news, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has floated out its second yacht Ilma, while Royal Caribbean International revealed the name of its second Icon-class ship as Star of the Seas

Carnival Cruise Line’s 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit began sailing from its new homeport of Mobile, AL. Also, the 2,980-passenger Carnival Freedom has entered a 16-day drydock in Cadiz, Spain. It will receive a new winged funnel, new exterior decking, new hull paint job, and the Heroes Tribute Bar, among other enhancements; more will be announced after the drydock is completed.  

Norwegian Viva
Norwegian Cruise Line's spacious Solo Balcony Staterooms will now be available across the entire fleet. (Norwegian Cruise Line)

Norwegian Cruise Line is introducing nearly 1,000 dedicated solo staterooms across its 19-ship fleet. New stateroom categories include Solo Inside, Solo Oceanview and Solo Balcony. Those will be available for future sailings starting January 2, 2024. Pricing and availability vary by destination and demand, but solo travelers can expect to pay less than a traditional double occupancy room

Separately, Norwegian has canceled eight cruises for Norwegian Escape between January and March 2025, according to Cruise Hive, which cited fleet redeployment as the reason.Travel Agent has reached out for more information. 

More Cruise News

Oceania Cruisesrevitalized Riviera will debut in Alaska during 2025. Just as in 2022, all four of Azamara’s ships called at Koper, Slovenia, this past week. One perk for passengers? Azamara's guests were given complimentary tickets to sample the city’s Gourmet Festival, known for its wines, food and entertainment.

Cuisine continues to be a hot button for attracting new guests, and Princess Cruises has debuted a new vegan menu. On the exploration side, Scenic has announced plans for Scenic Eclipse II's first submersible “underwater tour” in the Great Barrier Reef and also plans more of those offshore from The Kimberley region of northwestern Australia.  

On the trade side, Quark Expeditions has strengthened its trade sales organization. Separately, river cruise line AmaWaterways has launched Course 4 of its AmaAcademy, an interactive online education platform for advisors. The newest course is "The Rhine, Main, and Moselle Rivers with AmaWaterways."

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