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June 14, 2010

Princess Cruises Addresses Israel


A Letter to Those Concerned About Our Cruises to Israel

A false rumor has been spreading that Princess Cruises is boycotting Israel. This totally fictitious claim appeared to stem from a cancelled cruise call to Ashdod, Israel by our ship Pacific Princess on June 2.

We need to set the record straight. Our company is not boycotting Israel, nor was our recent cancellation of a visit to Ashdod politically motivated.

Here are the facts:
Pacific Princess was scheduled to call at Haifa and Ashdod during its last cruise, as part of its 12-day Holy Land itinerary.

At the time we were closely monitoring the events of May 31, where an incident occurred between the Israeli Defense Forces and a Gaza-bound flotilla that resulted in a number of deaths.

Pacific Princess did call at Haifa on June 1 for a full day of touring Galilee and Nazareth for our passengers.

Based on careful review of the situation and information provided by the US State Department and other sources, we were concerned about potential violence in Ashdod in reaction to the incident.


We made the decision strictly in the best interest of the safety of our passengers and crew, to cancel the call in Ashdod the following day.

A competing cruise line also cancelled its call to Ashdod the same week.

It is important to understand that Princess has been bringing passengers to the Holy Land for over two decades, and this region is one of our notable destinations for passengers who want to experience historic destinations around the world. This year alone we have 12 Holy Land voyages on our cruise schedule operating between May and November, and Princess has more calls to Israel than any other major North American cruise line.

Pacific Princess is once again scheduled to call in Israel at the end of June, and we fully expect to maintain the published visits to both Haifa and Ashdod during this and subsequent cruises.

The following sources also confirm that this rumor is false, and we encourage you to look at them: Boycott Watch, Anti Defamation League, Jewish Journal, and Haaretz Daily Newspaper.

We hope that this sets the record straight, and that you will share this information with others who may have questions.


Alan Buckelew
President & CEO
Princess Cruises

Questions and Answers:

What was the process by which Princess Cruises made the decision to cancel the call at Ashdod?

Our internal Security Department continuously monitors the ports of call our ships visit around the world to ensure the safety and well-being of our passengers and crew. On May 31 when the incident surrounding the flotilla occurred, our security team evaluated the information that was available from many sources, and became concerned about potential shoreside violence in reaction to the incident. Upon subsequently making the decision to cancel the call at Ashdod, we immediately informed the passengers onboard Pacific Princess with an announcement by the Captain and a letter, both of which explained our decision.

We are always disappointed when we have to alter an itinerary due to unforeseen circumstances, and such decisions are made only when deemed necessary.

Why didn't Princess just remain in Haifa for an additional day rather than sailing to the next scheduled port of call, which was Port Said, Egypt?

Our itineraries are designed with specific sailing times in between ports, and in order to make the next port as scheduled, we were not able to spend additional time in Haifa.

Why did you deem it safe for passengers to visit Haifa but not Ashdod?

The flotilla of ships was redirected to the port of Ashdod, whereas Haifa was not in the vicinity of the incident.

Why did the ship go to Egypt instead of Ashdod?

The next port of call on the cruise after Ashdod was Port Said, Egypt. We were simply maintaining the ship's published itinerary.

What was the itinerary of the ship?

Pacific Princess sailed on a 12-day cruise between Rome and Athens that included calls at Haifa and Ashdod, Israel; Port Said and Alexandria, Egypt; Sorrento, Italy; Patmos and Santorini, Greece; and Kusadasi, Turkey.

Does Princess Cruises support Israel?

Princess Cruises doesn't take political positions, and where we deploy our ships is not motivated by political considerations. Instead, Princess is devoted to bringing our passengers to the most intriguing destinations around the globe, and doing this in a safe manner. That being said, for more than two decades we have been bringing passengers to visit Israel -- which we believe is a dream destination for many -- and we have a close tourism relationship with Israel.

Are you planning on cancelling any other calls to Israel in the future?

No. However as with all of our ports of call, we continuously monitor information that may affect our ships' routings, especially those situations that could potentially impact the safety of our passengers and crew. Should it be necessary to make any adjustments, affected passengers would be advised as soon as possible.

Posted by Denise at June 14, 2010 02:35 PM

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