The ‘Green Island at sea’ has become quarantine island at dock.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,” said poet Robert Burns.
Royal Caribbean International executives must be thinking something along those lines right about now, perhaps with more colorful expletives thrown in.
It feels like only last week (because it was) that the company announced plans to sail from Haifa port to picturesque islands and cities in the Mediterranean, including the Greek Isles and Cyprus. It touted its newest ship, the “Quantum Ultra Class” Odyssey of the Seas as the first “‘Green Island’ at sea.”
Now it’s quarantine island at dock.
Two workers from the Meyer Werft shipyard who were putting finishing touches on the vessel at the Bremerhaven shipyard tested positive for coronavirus, it was reported by German media on Saturday.
They’ve been quarantined and the 500 crew and workers aboard ship ordered to remain where they are.
It’s not known if the corona quarantine will delay the cruises from Haifa. Tickets are set to go on sale March 9.
The tourism industry, which was going gang-busters in Israel before the coronavirus, has been the hardest-hit industry worldwide from the pandemic. News of cruises leaving from Haifa was therefore greeted enthusiastically at the highest levels.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “This is an important economic, tourist and branding event for the State of Israel.”
“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,” he said.
Greek Minister of Tourism Haris Theoharis said on March 1, “We are very happy with today’s announcement as our recent travel agreement with Israel is already bringing results, and more people will have the opportunity to have unique experiences in our beautiful destinations and islands.”
Royal Caribbean International’s President and CEO Michael Bayley said “Sailing from Israel is an opportunity we have had our sights on for quite some time.”