Royal Caribbean cruise ship helps evacuate US citizens from Israel

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A Royal Caribbean International cruise ship helped evacuate American citizens from Israel on Monday.

The line’s ship, “Rhapsody of the Seas,” was sailing in the region but canceled its itineraries following the war between Israel and Hamas.

“Now, with enhanced safety precautions in place, our ship is offering free passage, including accommodation and food, to Americans in the region who want to depart and find safer ground,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO of the parent company of Royal Caribbean Group. , he said in an email to staff shared with USA TODAY.

Liberty said that the evacuation operation was carried out in partnership with the US State Department. The US Embassy in Israel said in A Security alarm Boarding will begin on Sunday with arrangements for arrival on Monday at 8:00 a.m. local time, and the ship will sail from Haifa to Limassol, Cyprus.

The Rhapsody of the Seas ship can accommodate more than 2,400 passengers, according to Royal Caribbean. website.

“Every traveler must be a US citizen or immediate family member (spouse/partner, children under 21) of a US citizen and have a valid passport,” the advisory reads. The embassy said travelers will be responsible for arranging their accommodation and travel from Cyprus, but charter flights are also being arranged.

“This has been a truly remarkable effort as our teams have worked tirelessly over the past week to make this mission possible,” Liberty added in the email. “I express my profound gratitude to all involved and especially to the ship’s officers and crew for their steadfast support of this call to serve others in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.”

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Escape from Israel: American families take troubled flights home after Hamas attacks

Many cruise lines changed their itineraries after the conflict, and in some cases stops in Israel were suspended altogether. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has Consulting For the region, it warns against traveling to Gaza and urges travelers to reconsider going to Israel and the West Bank.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at [email protected].

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